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Israel soldiers force Palestine farmers off their land at gunpoint

October 23, 2023 at 3:29 pm

Palestinian farmers and an armed Israeli patrol seen in the fields on July 18, 2023 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian farmers were forced to cease harvesting their olives in the southern region of the village of Iskaka, based in the northern West Bank city of Salfit, after being held at gunpoint by Israeli occupation soldiers.

According to the Wafa news agency, the Israeli soldiers also forced three families of Palestinian farmers to leave their land, which is located near the illegal Nehemiah settlement.

There have been numerous incidents of illegal settlers from this settlement stealing olives from local farmers.

The olive harvest is the main source of income for thousands of Palestinian households. Illegal Israeli settlers have been responsible for destroying thousands of olive trees in the occupied territories over the years, primarily around harvest season to maximise the damage and effect on the owners.

READ: Israel forces shoot at Palestinian farmers, shepherds in Gaza

Olive trees are symbolic of the Palestinian attachment to their land. Drought-resistant, growing in poor soil conditions, and living and bearing fruit for hundreds — even thousands — of years, the trees represent Palestinian resistance and resilience in the face of the brutal Israeli military occupation.

Tensions in the occupied West Bank have escalated significantly since 7 October after the Palestinian resistance initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including infiltrations into Israel.

The resistance said the offensive was in retaliation for the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.