Arabs, Left-Wing Groups Accused of Destroying Palestinian Olive Groves to Frame Settlers (VIDEO)
A Palestinian resident of the northern West Bank village of Burin on Monday filed theft and damage complaints with police and Civil Administration authorities, charging local settlers with destroying some of his community’s olive trees, Israel’s NRG News reported Monday.
But representatives of the Samaria Regional Council, which represents the Jewish residents, warned the previous day that the Palestinians were about to lay a “blood libel” at their doorstep, falsely accusing them of the charges, in a long-running attempt to demonize them.
“Overnight, Arabs from Burin approached [an olive grove] near the town of Givat Ronen and conducted pruning of the olive trees, as part of the recently-begun harvest season,” according to a statement by council head Gershon Mesika.
“The Shomron Council also turns an accusing finger at the extreme left-wing organizations who have used the same prunings to libel the Jewish residents of the area, claiming damage with intent against their Arab neighbors,” the statement read.
“The harvest season has become the instigator’s season,” Mesika charged.
“Far left organizations have made the European Passover blood libel against the Jews into a modern-day blood libel. Each year before the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) they send out the residents of Kafr Burin into the area in the dead of night, cut the branches of the olive trees in the region, and in the morning, claim it was done by local Jews.”
Similar claims and counterclaims have been made in past years, with the presumed agitators never proving their case. Mesika called on the police to get to the bottom of the allegations, and hand out heavy penalties if it turns out that there, indeed, was a false provocation.
Samaria District police said of the damage to seven trees, for their part, that “It is unknown when the damage was caused, and the landowner was absent for a year; an investigation has been opened.”
In addition, Palestinians claimed that 100 additional trees on land near the village Kafr Yusef, near the Israeli community of Tapuach, were also found cut, when farmers arrived for a pre-harvest inspection and discovered the damage.
In a video from Oct., 2012, veteran settler leader, Benny Katzover, described what he said was a premeditated attempt by Palestinians and anti-Israeli activists to cut down their own trees as part of the annual pruning season, and then frame Jewish residents of the area with the cut trunks and branches.
“Only yesterday we called on the public to carry video cameras with them, and a day later a provocation of staging the uprooting of olive trees was documented,” Shomron Settlers’ Committee head Katzover said at the time. The Palestinians, however, insisted that the trees that the settlers documented are not the same ones that the farmers claim were felled.
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