Settlers Cut Down 21 Grape Trees near Beit Ummar
June 5, 2011
On June 1, settlers cut down 21 grape trees in a Palestinian farmer’s vineyards close to the Bet’Ayn Settlement near Beit Ummar. The farmers said the destruction happened during the night. The field is some distance from the village; therefore, it cannot be monitored every hour. These settlers from Bet’Ayn, according to the people of the village, have a reputation of being aggressive toward the farmers in the area.
Abu Mohammed (Issa), also a farmer of Beit Ummar, works for the farmers’ safety. He said there are four settlements surrounding Beit Ummar, and it has become progressively more difficult for the farmers to do the necessary farm preparations, cultivation, and harvesting of the crops in their fields with the settlers’ increased activity. Now Bet’Ayn is expanding and creeping closer to the Palestinian village, making any work in the fields still more precarious.
Ta’ayush, an Israeli Peace Activist group, also had four members at this scene. One member spoke about the clever, sure, easy ways that Israel has historically adopted to take more and more Palestinian land and claim it all as state land:
1. Confiscate the grazing land by instituting the law that if the land is not worked for 3 years, it automatically becomes state land.
2. Declare that all the mountains are state land, for security purposes. The valleys maybe cultivated.
3. The state lands can be declared public lands also. These public lands can then be allotted to groups who want to use them according to the wishes of the state, that is for settlement purposes. (Only one parcel of land since 1967 has been allotted to the Palestinians.)
Another Israeli activist spoke about the tremendous need she sees for Americans to take action—not only for the sake of the Palestinians but for the Israeli people as well. “The Israelis are blind,” she said. “For the Americans to keep supporting Israel with $11,000,000/day to keep the settlements and the military strong here, it is like giving drugs to your girlfriend. It’s like putting a drunk person behind the wheel. You must work with your government. It is killing us.”
Pictures below show damage to the grape trees.
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