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PHOTOS: Settlers attack Palestinian olive pickers, damage trees

Palestinian olive growers and their trees were attacked across the northern West Bank on Sunday, resulting in at least four injuries and the destruction of dozens of trees at the height of the yearly olive harvest.

Masked settlers are seen descending from the direction of Yitzhar toward Palestinian olive growers on the lands of Burin, October 20, 2013. (Photo: Munir Qadus / Yesh Din)

In the village of Burin on Sunday, Palestinian olive pickers and Israeli volunteers were attacked by masked settlers, who arrived from the direction of the nearby settlement of Yitzhar, notorious for being the home of many violent settlers/elements.

Two Palestinians and two Israelis were injured by the settlers who attacked them with stones and iron bars, according to Rabbis for Human Rights, whose volunteers were attacked. The Israelis, aged 71 and 18, were both injured in their faces.

A man’s face is bloodied after being attacked by Jewish extremists who descended from the direction of Yitzhar toward Palestinians and Israeli volunteers picking olives in Burin, October 20, 2013. (Photo: Munir Qadus / Yesh Din)

Close to 2,000 Palestinian olive trees have been either uprooted or burned in recent months in areas the Israeli army knows to be flash points, where it should be providing protection for the Palestinian olive pickers, Rabbis for Human Rights wrote in a statement.

Elsewhere in the northern West Bank, Palestinian olive growers from the village of Qaryut on Sunday discovered that settlers damaged their trees the day before. Officials from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture who arrived at the scene counted 60 damaged trees belonging to 12 different farmers.

Palestinian farmers from the West Bank village of Qaryut assess the damage done to their olive trees the day before by Israeli settlers, October 20, 2013. (Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

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    1. Close to 2,000 olive trees in a few months must have come to notice of some in the IDF. The first photo herein presents we are told masked settlers. The IDF would never allow Palestinians to venture around so masked. These crimes attach to the IDF through their monopoly of force and control of movement. Allowing them to happen with neither investigation nor anticipatory protection (which could include simply informing settler posts that such attacks will not be tolerated)attaches responsibility to those controlling and curtailing the lives of those losing property.

      I can only surmise that the perpetrators are so small that they must try and make others even smaller than themselves by destroying property. It will not work. Only the aggressor becomes smaller.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Average American

      Ok I’m VERY average, but this still looks like an unequal application of the law. Unless it is halacha law, which from what I have read supports destruction like this as a proper and valid way to make room for The Jews. I’ve also read that some parts of the Israeli government want halacha to be the law of the land (Shas, Tekuma, Bennett). I think the problem with that is halacha always finds in favor of the Jew over the non-Jew, which is very Jewish but not very Democratic if they are supposed to be The Jewish and Democratic State.

      Reply to Comment
      • Vadim

        1. Given the explicit ban on harming trees found in the bible (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+20&version=NIV) and the discussions around it, I’m really interested in learning the sources you use to make your claims regarding Halacha.

        2. Could you also provide sources for the wish to base Israeli law on the Halacha?

        3. The problem is that you know absolutely nothing but have your opinion completely set. People feed you with hatred and you eat it all (I especially loved “…in favor of the Jew over the non-Jew, which is very Jewish…”)

        4. People like you and your hatred towards anything Jewish are part of the reasons to create the state of Israel.

        5. I hope you’re not average.

        Reply to Comment
        • And so the apparent settler attack(s) vanish through indignation. It is best to stay precisely on incident, both to limit diversion and not assert untruths or create a irrelevant conceptual war. One designated anti-Semetic statement absolves many actions.

          While Deut. 20:19 does command that one refrain from destroying trees whose fruit one may latter use, quoting Deut 20:16-20 entirely may clarify, using the proffered link:

          “16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy [a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.

          “19 When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?”

          Footnote [a] at verse 17 reads:

          “Deuteronomy 20:17 The Hebrew term [here translated “destroy,” GP] refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.”

          “[T]he cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance” at 20:16 would include cities located in Judea and Samaria not of the People of the Lord; that is, not Jewish. The only hope for said non People is to never be in conflict with the People of the Lord. Then they can stay and not be utterly destroyed.

          Now, a botanist will say that trees do indeed “breathe.” While not obvious to his People of the day, YHWH certain knew this of his creation, so 20:16 can be interpreted as an override of 20:19 on adjacent land. 20:14,15 clarify the importance of distance for destruction:

          “14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.”

          20:13 kills all besieged men. So one may take all besieged women as plunder in distant cities, but must also kill women in nearby cities. In analogy, one should save the trees of distant cities, but destroy those in nearby ones (or can destroy).

          So I am not overly confident that direct application of these verses implies that trees must be saved, nor do they add comfort to those living in Judea and Samaria who are not Jews yet claim grievance.

          But all of this is irrelevant to the reported olive tree destruction of this post. Nothing is gained by referring to some form of Yahwehists destroying olive trees. The destruction of the livelihood of residents with no redress or recourse in law is the true focus.

          Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Though we may not always see eye to eye, you’ve presented the research well, and I agree with your final point.

            Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          I mentioned Shas, Tekuma, Bennett. Not to mention Yosef, who will probably be replaced with a like-minded person.

          My opinion isn’t set, it’s formed by what I see happening.

          You were supposed to read the whole sentence which was about Israel’s premise of being Jewish AND Democratic.

          Regarding bias in favor of the Jew, there are examples in the Talmud (which is represented as the guiding literature of the Jewish People), such as Babba Kamma 113: where a suit arises between an Israelite and a heathen, say this is your law, or say this is our law, but find a way to find in favor of the Israelite.

          Creating the state of Israel seems to have only highlighted the differences in treatment between Jews and non-Jews.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Hunter, J.

      I fear the day when the U.S.A., UK, France and a few other European countries — plus Canada’s actual conservative governnment — will be forced to not support Israel anymore, following a UN internatinal legal and humane decision demanded by the rest of the world, i.e. two thirds of the world population, to protect the Palestinians from Israel, and not allow anymore automatic vetoes to let Israel go scot-free and never bear the full responsability of its inhumane and criminal actions against the Palestinians. Justice will be rendered better when also the Palestinian refugees will have the UN support allowing them to return to their lands and put an end, finally, since 1948, to the Nakba.

      Reply to Comment
      • Average American

        It is useful to look ahead, as you are, to what this will lead to. I think it will go on like this quite a while, because the USA (which is on the UN Security Council) appears to be the puppet of Israel.

        Another possibility in the future is that Israel will become like Germany in the 30’s and 40’s expanding their territory. The similarities are: strongest power in the region by far, history of unilateral attacks, strong belief in themselves as the righteous or the deserving, strong ethnic\nationalist identity, plus the modern additions of a missile defense dome and nuclear weapons of their own. Entrenched and living on local regional resources and commerce, they would not need the good old USA anymore.

        Reply to Comment
        • Vadim

          “…because the USA appears to be the puppet of Israel…”

          Only to the likes of you.

          Your analysis is really great. I especially liked “living on local regional resources and commerce”.

          Reply to Comment
      • Vadim

        Nothing like a good civil war to render justice. Kill a few Jews, drive the rest away and the world will suddenly become a good place to live in. The united Palestine would definitely become a huge success story – like Syria, Egypt or Jordan.

        Destruction of Israel seems such a small price to pay for such a good outcome. As a bonus – you’ll also show them Jews their proper place, did they really think they deserve a state?

        Reply to Comment
    4. Average American

      The destruction of Israel?

      To destroy a thing you would have to know what it is.

      For example What are the borders of Israel? What are the people of Israel? What are the guiding doctrines of Israel? What are the regional intentions of Israel?

      Reply to Comment