JERUSALEM, October 28, 2017 (WAFA) - Olive harvest in the period between 10 to 23 October in a number of hotspots across the West Bank was disrupted by Israeli settler violence, which resulted in the physical assault and injury of two farmers, damage to 550 trees, and the theft of several tons of produce, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territories said on Friday.
In its biweekly report on Protection of Civilians in the occupied territories, OCHA said all but one of the nine documented incidents of settler violence against Palestinian olive harvesters took place in areas in the vicinity of settlements, where Palestinian access is restricted by the Israeli authorities.
The affected communities included Yanun, Qaryut and Burin (Nablus); Far‘ata and Jit (Qalqiliya); Al Janiya and Al Mughayyir (Ramallah); and Al Khadr (Bethlehem).
A number of additional incidents involving stone-throwing by settlers at Palestinian farmers were also reported.
The olive harvest season, which takes place every year between October and November, is a key economic, social and cultural event for Palestinians.
The olive harvest in the closed area behind Israel’s apartheid wall, the so-called ‘Seam Zone‘, in the Salfit governorate was also disrupted due to prolonged delays in the opening of agricultural gates.
At least 170 farmers (half of them women and children) were directly affected due to the resulting reduction of the already ed time available to them to work in this area. To be allowed through one of these gates, farmers require a special permit, which are issued by the Israeli authorities, subject to security and land ownership checks, and are difficult to obtain.
In other developments related to Israeli violations against Palestinians in the occupied territory during the same reporting period, OCHA said Israeli authorities demolished or seized 20 structures in nine Palestinian communities in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 60 people, including 35 children, and affecting the livelihoods of nearly 40 others.
Two of the incidents occurred in Palestinian herding communities located in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, within an area closed by the Israeli military for training (‘firing zone 918‘), exacerbating the coercive environment and creating pressure on residents to leave.
Three of the targeted structures, including a residential shelter, a water cistern and one animal barrack, had been provided as humanitarian assistance in response to previous demolitions. This brings the total number of donor-funded items destroyed or seized since the beginning of 2017 to 99.
Israeli forces also closed by military order four broadcasting media companies in Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem, all under full Palestinian control, and seized computers and equipment, reportedly on grounds of ‘incitement activities‘.
In Gaza, while the Israeli authorities have expanded on October 18 the permissible fishing zone along the southern Gaza coast from six to nine nautical miles until the end of December, in the context of the sardine fishing season, Israeli forces continued to open fire at and harass fishermen.
OCHA said that during the reporting period in at least one incident, four fishermen were forced to swim to Israeli naval boats, where they were briefly detained and one of their fishing boats was seized, and in another incident a fishing boat was destroyed by a missile fired by the Israeli navy.
Access to fishing areas beyond six nautical miles allowed along the northern coast of Gaza remains barred.