RAMALLAH, Friday, October 18, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers today prevented Palestinian farmers from harvesting their olive fields in al-Shi‘ib area between Burqa and Beitin villages, northeast of Ramallah, said a municipal source.
Speaking in an interview with WAFA, Mayor of Burqa Adnan Barkat said that 16 Israeli settlers descended into the fields and prevented the Palestinian farmers from harvesting their olive trees, under the protection of an Israeli military force.
Barakat added that Israeli soldiers did not do anything to stop the settlers, but instead fired tear gas canisters at the Palestinian farmers, causing four to suffocate.
The suffocation cases, Barakat noted, were rushed to a clinic in Burqa village for treatment.
This week, the West Bank witnessed a wave of settler attacks and agricultural terrorism as Palestinian farmers began the year’s olive harvest. Attacks were mainly in northern villages near Nablus and Salfit, governorates with the largest concentration of illegal Israeli settlements.
Settlers attacked olive harvesters in Burin, a village south of Nablus, on 12 October, the same day as a 55-year-old Palestinian farmer was attacked by settlers in the nearby village of Tel. Two days prior, settlers stole olives from trees belonging to farmers also in the same area.
Armed settlers attacked farmers in the village Shufa, near the city Tulkarem in the north, who threatened to shoot farmers if they did not leave their land.’
The most devastating attack occurred on the morning of 16 October when more than 30 masked armed settlers charged at Palestinian farmers and foreign volunteers in Burin, attacking three internationals and seriously injuring one, including 80-year-old Rabbi Moshe Yehuda from the Rabbis for Human Rights organization.
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
Settlers‘ violence includes property and mosque arsons, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, attacks on vulnerable homes, among others.
Over 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.
All settlements across the West Bank are illegal under international law, particularly article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which establishes that the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.