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Israeli settlers harass Palestinian family picking olives in Hebron

Oct. 4, 2016 10:41 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 10, 2016 5:54 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- A group of Israeli settlers’ children escorted by Israeli forces harassed a Palestinian family harvesting olives in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Monday.

The Israeli children obstructed the Palestinian family from harvesting their olives in land near their house and attempted to steal the olives, locals said. However, they were stopped by members of the local Youth Against Settlements (YAS) group, which posted a video of the encounter on social media.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they would look into the reports.

Umm Tamer Zyada, a resident of the Hebron neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, said that Israeli forces continuously harass her in front of her house, adding that Israeli settlers also attempt to intimidate and scare her children when they go playing outside.

Zyada and her family pick their olives before the regular harvesting time of mid- to late October to prevent Israeli settlers stealing their fruit.

The olive tree is a symbol of Palestinian resistance, determination, and peace, said Issa Amro, a Palestinian activist and member of YAS.

Amro said that a group of Palestinian and foreign activists organize each year in Hebron at the end of October to protect Palestinian olive harvesters from Israeli settlers.

The Palestinian government 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.

More than 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 221 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2015.

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

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