Palestinian farmers and volunteers plant olive trees to protest an Israeli military order to confiscate Palestinian land for one of the most extreme settlements in the West Bank.
Photos and text by Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org
The Israeli army on Thursday tried to prevent some 50 Palestinian farmers and volunteers from planting olive trees and tilling the soil in their agricultural lands in the West Bank village of Asira Al-Qibliya, near Nablus.
The activity was organized to protest against the recent Israeli military order to confiscate over half an acre of private Palestinian land for the nearby settlement of Yitzhar for “security reasons.” The order was issued on January 12, 2017, and a military watchtower was recently installed on the land.
Yitzhar is known as one of the most radical West Bank settlements, and is home to Od Yosef Chai, considered the most extreme yeshiva in the occupied territories.
Although the planting took place in Area B (under Israeli military control and Palestinian civil control) — adjacent to the land slated for expropriation, which is classified as Area C (under full Israeli military and civil control) — Israeli soldiers promptly arrived to try to put an end to the activity. An Israeli officer informed farmers that “they should stop and leave since the activity has no prior arrangement with Israeli Civil Administration.” The farmers refused.
Volunteers and farmers managed to plant some 30 trees, before the soldiers forced them to leave.