Every year we hear the same story – the dastardly evil Jewish settlers cut down holy Palestinian olive trees in the middle of the olive harvest in order to steal their land*/starve them out*/destroy them economically*/etc.* (* delete where and if applicable).
And every year the Israelis bring videos and photos as evidence that the Palestinians are harming their own property purely to slander Israel and blacken its name.
In 2010 Palestinians and leftist activists staged a “price tag” event, cutting down their own trees in order to blame settlers.
In 2011, Palestinians and their anarchist friends used the olive harvest as cover to collect intelligence for terrorists attacks.
And here we are in 2012, and it’s deja vu all over again. It doesn’t matter how much the settlers protest that it wasn’t them; the world is simply too eager to believe the worst of them. And once again, the Palestinians and their eager anarchist helpers from the extreme left have been caught in the act, destroying their own olive trees:
A new video entitled “Harvesting Incitement” released by the Shomron Regional Council today on YouTube purports to show Palestinians and left-wing activists cutting down olive trees in a tactic meant to frame West Bank settlers as the perpetrators according to an unnamed witness in the video. “They cut down these trees to start a fire in the media or in their ovens. It’s suspicious because it comes close to the Jewish settlements. They get close enough it becomes a security problem as well,” the witness says.
Recent attacks on olive groves in the West Bank, which have drawn strong international condemnation, were attributed to Jewish settlers. On Saturday arsonists set olive groves on fire in the town of Qaryut, about nine miles south of the city of Nablus. Wednesday seventy trees were cut down on the first day of the harvest, the town’s residents reported. In all more than 450 trees were vandalized last week as the harvest began, according to the Jerusalem Post.
This is not the first time that Palestinians have been accused of framing settlers. In 2010, Israeli news service Tazpit claimed to have documented the destruction of trees in an effort to accuse settlers.
Israeli Daily Yediot Ahronot reported at the time: “Arabs and leftist activists staged an attack on Palestinian fields in a bid to accuse settlers of vandalism, an organization that claims to have documented the incident says.”
“We urge every country with a diplomatic mission to Palestine to dispatch observer teams to Palestinian olive groves in order to discourage attacks by settlers and to document any abuse that occurs,” PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said.
“Given Israel’s support for the settlers and its refusal to allow the Palestinian Authority to provide protection through the occupied territory, the Palestinian people require international intervention to ensure their security,” Ashrawi wrote.
See the evidence for yourselves. Watch the video below and see how the Palestinians and/or their helpers are cutting down their own trees:
The “unnamed witness” in the video is Benny Katzover, The Chairman of the Shomron Residents Council. Here is a translation of his words at the end of the video:
“The olive harvest season has begun, and with it the season of incitement. We called on the public to equip themselves with cameras, and already today we’ve seen near Elon Moreh cutting down of really big tree branches, which in the next round will be presented as “uprooting of trees”. They might be planning the next libel here.
In order to be prepared for the worst, this time we filmed the tree-cutters. They want to light a fire, either for their ovens or for their libels against the Jewish residents [of Judea & Samaria], and we caught them red-handed. The scale of the tree-cutting and its proximity to the settlement is very suspicious, also because it can be used for reconnaissance and then for security-related incidents.
I call once again on all the public to equip themselves with cameras, to follow these incidents, to document them and most importantly to film them. This is the most useful weapon against them, both to counter the libel and conversely, to take the offensive to the Arabs who take advantage of the naivete, not to mention the malice, of the world, to blacken the name of Israel and its residents.”
The head of the Shomron Residents Council, Gershon Mesika, called on the security forces to help prevent these provocations on the part of the leftists and Palestinians:
In the wake of the incident, the head of the Shomron Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, called to act aggressively against the ones staging the uprooting of the olive trees and to distance the provocateurs from the extreme left from the area during the olive harvest season.
“The olive harvest season in recent years has turned into the provocateur’s season,” said Mesika. “In light of the extreme left’s provocations during the olive harvest in past years, the settlement enterprise has invested much effort, in coordination with the IDF, to prevent extreme leftist organizations and the Palestinian Authority from taking advantage of the season to cause provocations and take other actions.
“I call on the security services to be alert, to understand that these are sequences of events whereby most of them take place when activists from the extreme left, both from Israel and from abroad, are in the area,” he said. “I call on the security services to distance from the area the extreme leftists planning these provocations and thus prevent these incidents from happening and to allow the harvest season to finish quietly.”
Last year, Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria complained that foreign and Israeli anarchists were taking advantage of the olive harvest to help terrorists gather intelligence.
The two terrorists who murdered five members of the Fogel family in March of 2011 had used the olive harvest as an excuse to gather information on Itamar, the victims’ town, and to plan the gruesome murders.