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Israeli forces prevent Palestinians from accessing their lands to pick olives

Oct. 29, 2017 12:52 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 30, 2017 6:23 P.M.)
70-year old Palestinian farmer Abbas Yousif points towards his olive trees on land either side of an Israeli settlement in the northern occupied West Bank (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday reportedly prevented Palestinian farmers in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah from reaching their land to pick olives, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.

Wafa reported that Palestinians from the village of Nilin were stopped by Israelis forces on their way to pick olives on their farm lands, located on the Israeli side of the separation wall, which runs through the farmers’ lands.

The farmers, according to Wafa, had permits from Israeli authorities to enter the area, but were denied anyway.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for issuing such permits, said they were looking into the incident.

Palestinians living in the areas where Israel’s separation wall cut off their lands, are required to obtain entry permits, and cannot enter their lands for any purpose other than work or residence.

During the olive harvest season -- an essential time of year for Palestinian farmers whose main source of income is often olive farming -- Palestinians are regularly turned around by Israeli forces, attacked by settlers, or only given a few days to harvest hundreds of olive trees.

Since the beginning of olive harvest season -- a longheld Palestinian tradition and way of life for many farmers -- earlier this month, several incidents of settlers attacking Palestinians while picking their olives have been reported.

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.

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