One Family's Losing Battle in the Olive Wars

Israeli civilians forced a Palestinian family out of their olive grove on Monday and prevented them from picking olives, Palestinian sources in Nablus reported.

Members of the Abdullah family, whose grove borders the Havat Gilad outpost, said that the soldiers who were called to protect them declared the area a closed military zone and demanded that the Palestinians evacuate the area.

A week ago, the Abdullahs were also prevented from picking olives from their grove due to clashes between settlers and army troops over the evacuation of the illegal outpost.

On Monday, once they heard that the army had evacuated the outpost, the family returned to their land, some 31 dunams holding 210 olive trees. There, they discovered that 80 of the trees, those bordering the outpost, had been stripped of their fruit and many of their branches broken.

As the family began picking olives, they say, some 20 settlers appeared, five of them armed, and began firing in the air, calling on them to leave the area. The Palestinians fled to the main road, and a passing Israeli driver called the IDF.

An IDF vehicle arrived and the family led soldiers to their land where they met a group of Israeli civilians picking olives in the grove. The settlers' vehicles were loaded with sacks of olives the family had picked before, the Palestinians claim.