Settlers Attack Palestinians Harvesting Olives near Hebron

Israeli settlers reportedly attacked a group of Palestinian olive pickers on Friday, October 27, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to the official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.

Wafa reported that settlers from the settlement of Maon, built illegally on land belonging to the nearby town of Yatta, physically assaulted farmers – including a woman – harvesting their olives in the Masafer Yatta area, “causing them cuts and bruises all over their bodies.”

Joint Palestinian-Israeli solidarity olive harvest near Al-Walaja in the occupied territories

Joint Palestinian-Israeli solidarity olive harvest near Al-Walaja in the occupied territories (Photo: Friends of Al-Walaja)

Since the beginning of the olive harvest – an age old Palestinian tradition and way of life for many thousands of farmers – earlier this month, there have been reported several incidents of Israeli settlers attacking Palestinians farmers while the latter were attempting to picking their olives.

The PA has no jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, and violent acts carried out by Israeli settlers often occur in the presence of Israeli military forces who rarely act to protect Palestinian residents.

The majority of settler attacks committed against Palestinians are met with impunity, with Israelis rarely facing consequences for such attacks.

Only 1.9% of complaints submitted by Palestinians against Israeli settlers for assault have resulted in conviction, while 95.6% of investigations into damage to olive trees are closed due to the failure of the Israel Police, according to the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din.

Yesh Din, along with Israeli rights group B’Tselem, have previously condemned Israeli authorities for failing to protect Palestinians from settlers violence or to investigate attacks, particularly during the olive harvest season, when incidents of attacks on harvesters and their olive groves have been a near daily occurrence in past years.