18 March 2011
AT-TUWANI: Six olive trees destroyed in the night
On the morning of 16 March 2011, residents of the
Palestinian village of At-Tuwani discovered that someone had destroyed six of
their olive trees in the night. The
villagers said that the perpetrators were almost certainly Israeli settlers
from the nearby outpost of Havat Ma’on. “Settlers did this … they did this because of the settlers
who were murdered near Nablus,” said Fadil Ahmed Raba’i, referring to the recent
murders of a settler family inside the northern West Bank settlement of Itamar
The trees were approximately fifteen years old and would
have produced olives in the fall harvest had they not been damaged. They were the property of four residents
of At-Tuwani: Suleiman Jibreen
Raba’i, ‘Aisa Jibreen Raba’i, Mohammad Salaami Raba’i, and Musa Khalil Raba’i.
At-Tuwani has experienced frequent vandalism of olive groves
since construction of the Ma’on Settlement in 1984. Most recently, on 21 February, Raba’i reported that three
mature olive trees in his family’s grove had been damaged.
Since the mid 1980s, Palestinians in Tuwani and the
surrounding villages have faced frequent threats, acts of violence, and
intimidation from settlers, but remain committed to nonviolent resistance. Because villagers in the region are
dependent on dry-land subsistence farming, aggression resulting in damage to
trees or crops or denial of access to agricultural lands constitutes a
significant threat to the communities.
Additional photos are available here.
[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the
International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations
resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
are illegal. Most settlement
outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.]