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Agricultural committees: Protect olive harvest from settlers

Oct. 3, 2011 2:07 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 3, 2011 2:07 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees announced on Monday an upcoming campaign to protect West Bank farmers from attacks by Israeli settlers during the olive harvest season.

Noting a recent escalation in attacks on Palestinian lands and farmers, the agricultural support organization said it will organize groups of volunteers to accompany workers picking olives during the season.

"Olive collecting will be a form of popular resistance," the group said, adding that they were asking Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel, as well as international activists, to join the campaign.

Volunteers will particularly help farmers harvesting groves behind Israel's separation wall, which juts into the West Bank cutting off Palestinian farm land. Palestinians must apply for permits from the Israeli military authorities in the West Bank to secure access to harvest their lands.

In 2010, the Ramallah-based Ministry of Agriculture said 4.3 percent of olive trees were inaccessible behind Israel's wall, the route of which was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
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