UN report: Jewish settlers destroy more than 7,500 olive trees

UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has revealed that the Jewish settlers continued their attacks against the Palestinian farmers in the occupied West Bank since the beginning of the year where they destroyed more than 7500 olive trees.

Nearly half (48%) of the agricultural land in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) is planted with 8 million olive trees, the vast majority are in the West Bank, the report revealed, adding that the olive oil industry makes up 14% of the agricultural income for the oPt and supports the livelihoods of approximately 80,000 families.

OCHA report, issued on Thursday, stated that the olive harvest is an economic, social and cultural important occasion for the Palestinian society, while the occupation authorities deliberately prevented those who own agricultural fields located in the areas between the barrier and the Green Line or near the Jewish settlements in the West Bank to obtain permits allowing them to have access to their fields.

In 2011, 42% of applications for permits to access olive groves behind the Barrier submitted prior to the harvest season were rejected, compared to 39% in 2010, according to the report.

In the West Bank, over 7,500 olive trees belonging to Palestinians were damaged or destroyed by Israeli settlers between January and mid October 2012, some 2,000 fewer than during the equivalent period in 2011.

Only one of the 162 complaints regarding settler attacks against Palestinian trees monitored by the Israeli NGO Yesh Din since 2005 has so far led to the indictment of a suspect.

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