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Nine injured as settlers rampage through olive harvest

Oct. 27, 2009 9:35 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 28, 2009 9:50 P.M.)
Nablus – Ma’an – Nine Palestinians were injured and one was detained on Tuesday when dozens of Israeli settlers attacked farmers were harvesting olives in the West Bank village of Qaryout, south of Nablus, according to witnesses, local officials, and medics.

According to sources in the village, the incident began when dozens of Israeli settlers assaulted farmers working near the Israeli settlement of Shavout Rachel.

After the initial attack, both soldiers and settlers stormed the village, clashing with Palestinian residents who defended the area by throwing stones at the marauding groups. Soldiers fired bullets and tear gas, residents said.

Medics identified some of the injured people as: 21-year-old Isra’ Badawi, who was hit in the eye; 50-year-old Hani Kassab, the village council’s accountant; 30-year-old Jawad Badawi; 70-year-old Muhammad Muqbil; 46-year-old Abdullah Badawi; and 31-year-old Mu’taz Ghassan.

Qaryout’s Mayor, Abd An-Nasser Al-Qaryouti, told Ma’an the farmers obtained permission to enter their own fields from the Israeli army through the Palestinian Authority’s liaison office. Part way through the olive harvest season, Israeli authorities implemented a mandatory registration and permission process for farmers who wished to access agricultural land in the West Bank for the harvest.

Despite this prior coordination, the mayor said, settlers arrived in more than 70 cars. He said the settlers initiated the fight by hurling stones at the farmers. Israeli forces were present, and they did not attempt to stop the settlers, he added.

Ongoing violence

Later, dozens of Israeli settlers surrounded a Palestinian house in the village of Asira Al-Qibliya, also south of Nablus, according to a Palestinian Authority official.

Gassan Douglas, an official monitoring settler activity in the northern West Bank, said that dozens of settlers from the Yizhar settlement surrounded a house owned by resident Jamal Yousef and threw stones at him.
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