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Settlers attack olive harvest amid Jerusalem unrest

A group of Israeli settlers set fire to some 100 olive trees owned by Palestinian farmers near Nablus as the 2014 olive harvest began last week. "A group of settlers from the Yitzhar settlement located near Huwara town in Nablus set fire to the town's olive fields, causing the destruction of 100 trees," said Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority official in monitoring settlements file in the northern West Bank. The attack sparked clashes between the settlers and local residents, which ended upon the arrival of Israeli forces. Around 20,000 Jewish settlers live near Nablus in 39 Zionist-only settlements. Palestinian residents complain of repeated attacks by settlers, who usually enjoy the protection of the Israeli forces (Al-Akhbar, Oct. 22) At Deir al-Hatab, near Nablus, the olive harvest has been spoiled by constant incrusions from settlers at Elon Moreh. The Palestinian farmers are allowed access to their lands only in coordinaiton with military expoort—just a few days per year. They were barred from their lands entirely between 2002 and 2007. (Haaretz, Oct. 26)

In Bil'in village, near Ramallah, hundreds of olive trees have been destroyed in recent years due to the sustained use of tear-gas and sound grenades by Israel forces to disperse weekly demonstrations against the separation barrier. The local Popular Committees group is fighting a legal battle to recover confiscated lands, after succeeding in recent years to reclaim 700 square kilometers by Israeli court order. (World Bulletin, Oct. 11)

Street clashes again broke out in East Jerusalem over the weekend, with 18 arrested, after a Palestinian teen with dual US citizenship was killed in a confrontation with Israeli troops. The 14-year-old was shot dead by Israeli soldiers Oct. 24 afternoon during clashes at a weekly protest. According to the Israel Defense Forces, the boy was about to hurl a firebomb on the Route 60 "apartheid road" through the West Bank—a claim denied by Palestinian officials. 

In what police called a "terror attack," on Oct. 22, a Palestinian motorist ploiughed into a crowd of Israelis in East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, killing an infant and injuring six others. The motorist was shot dead by police.  His family now claims he lost control of the car. (Haaretz, Oct. 26; AFP, Oct. 25)

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