Ta’ayush activists found 10 mature olive trees mangled on Saturday in an olive grove belonging to Palestinians from the village of at-Tuwani, in the South Hebron Hills. The settlers are from the illegal outpost of Havat Maon, a place known for settler violence and harassment.
This 3-minute video taken by an Israeli Ta’ayush activist speaks for itself. It surveys the devastation caused to an entire grove of olive trees, which constitutes the livelihood of the Palestinian residents of the area. Such an act is not only an intentional blow to their income and basic welfare, but a total lack of respect for the land and the life that grows on the land – the land that Jewish settlers and the state claim is so important and holy to them. Anyone familiar with Palestinian culture knows that destroying an olive tree is like destroying a human life.
According to a Ta’ayush activist who is regularly in the area and is involved in the legal cases against settlers, since the beginning of 2012, over 100 olive trees have been destroyed, just in the area of Havat Maon.
Over the years there have been countless cases of attacks by Havat Maon settlers on Palestinians, Israeli activists and Palestinian property, such as olive trees and sheep. I have seen children with my own eyes, no older than 8 or 9, who spend their Saturdays cursing at Palestinian children who pass by and even throw rocks, as their parents stand around and look on. This is the area where in 2004, IDF soldiers were instructed to escort Palestinian children on their way to school because of repeated settler attacks resulting in serious injuries.
If you want more background, here is a video report made in 2009 by the Christian Peacemakers Team, who have worked extensively in the village of at-Tuwani: