97.4 Percent Of Investigative Files Relating To Damage To Palestinians Olive Trees Are Closed Due To Police Failings

” The human rights organization Yesh Din today [21/10] publishes updated data highlighting the failure of the Samaria & Judea (SJ) District Police to investigate incidents involving the cutting down, torching, vandalization, and theft of olive trees and other fruits trees belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank. The data are published against the background of the current olive harvest, and after numerous incidents of the vandalization of trees have been reported throughout the West Bank in recent weeks.

The updated figures show that the Israel Police has overwhelmingly failed to investigate the incidents and prosecute offenders. In recent years, the vandalization of olive trees and other fruit trees has become one of the symbols of the occupation. The data are presented on a map, revealing areas of friction in which a particularly large number of incidents involving the vandalization of trees has been reported. The army and the police are well aware of these areas, which form the focus of criminal activities by Israeli civilians against Palestinians and their property throughout the year. The Palestinian village that has suffered the largest number of attacks on trees is Burin. Yesterday a vicious attack on olive harvesters and volunteers from Rabbis for Human Rights by masked men armed with batons was again documented in the village. Two Palestinians and two Israelis were injured in the attack.

From 2005 through June 2013, Yesh Din documented 211 incidents of deliberate damage to fruit trees in the West Bank following which the police opened investigative files. Of the 211 investigative files opened by the S&J District Police, only four ended in indictments; 183 files were closed in circumstances testifying to investigative failure – no less than 94.7 percent of the files in which processing has been completed and the outcome is known to Yesh Din. The failure rate of the S&J District Police in investigating attacks on trees is particularly high, even by comparison to the general failure rate for investigations by the S&J District Police into offenses by Israelis against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank, which stands at 84 percent. The figures show that with regard to attacks on Palestinians’ trees, the ability of the S&J District Police to locate and prosecute offenders is particularly low and almost non-existent.

The vandalization of olive trees and other trees belonging to Palestinians constitutes a serious attack on their property and directly damages their wellbeing, since many Palestinian residents in the West Bank rely on agriculture – and particularly the olive industry – as a significant source of income. This industry provides income and employment for some 100,000 households.

Noah Cohen of Yesh Din’s Research Department comments on the figures: “As the statistics show, and as was again proven only yesterday, the areas of friction are well known. Nevertheless the IDF leaves the Palestinian residents in these areas exposed to repeated violent attacks. The implication of the ongoing failure of the S&J District Police to investigate and prosecute persons who vandalize trees is equally apparent: The complete abnegation of responsibility, and the abandonment of these areas to the control of violent and extremist elements.”




Data sheet can be read here,



Video posted in the comment section below.



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6 responses to “97.4 Percent Of Investigative Files Relating To Damage To Palestinians Olive Trees Are Closed Due To Police Failings

  1. Christopher Proudlove

    IDF soldiers have been sent to guard Palestinian Authority (PA) Arabs during the olive harvest. Several Jewish farmers told Arutz Sheva newspaper that PA Arabs fake Jewish attacks on their trees.
    Jews are the ones who really need protection, they said.
    Samaria spokesman David HaIvri said the IDF has been coerced into guarding PA farmers by extreme-left Israeli groups that stage “attacks” for their own purposes.
    “It is disgraceful that the IDF is being manipulated by the phony ‘rabbis’ for human rights and Tayush whose mission is to cause fights between Arab and Jewish farmers who in most cases would have nothing to do with each other had it not been for the involvement of the foreign instigation,” he said. “I am sure that if the police would deal with these provocateurs the amount of real life disputes between Jewish and Arab in the region farmers will drop drastically.”
    He criticized the head of Rabbis for Human Rights, one of the main groups involved in “olive harvest” activities, as “a professional provocateur, whose job is to incite Arab riots and vandalism of Jewish farm lands.” Rabbis for Human Rights head Arik Asherman creates friction in order to boost his group’s image and raise funds in America, he said.
    A source formerly involved in the olive farming industry told Arutz Sheva that most Arab complaints are “staged baloney.”
    “When Arabs claim trees have been hacked, it is usually because they have hacked them but use the ignorance of the media to profit by the way the trees look after pruning. Lopping off branches–That is how you prune olive trees but they know that when reporters see hacked looking trees, they will believe that it was done by Jews with intent to damage,” the source explained.
    Claims that Jews have “chopped down” trees that were actually pruned go back several years. The Judea and Samaria (Yesha) Council has publicised videos showing Arab farmers chopping branches off of their own trees, but the videos have been largely ignored by world media.
    Olive trees are usually pruned almost down to the trunk every two years or so, in order to reap a better harvest the next year.
    Jewish farmers in Samaria say that they are the ones in need of IDF protection. Arabs in the area often target Jewish crops in arson attacks.
    The Samaria Residents Council has set up a website to document Arab attacks on Jewish farmers, in an attempt to counter the PA accusations that fill the media each year at harvest time.

  2. Christopher Proudlove

    Erez Ben Sa’adon of the Samarian (Shomron) Jewish community of Rachelim filed a complaint with police last year after he found that 50 of his olive trees had been cut down by a power saw and their olives had been stolen. He found olives all over the ground, along with olive sacks imprinted with writing in Arabic. He said the damage to the olive grove amounted to tens of thousands of shekels.
    Ben Sa’adon said that Arabs took olives off four trees in the area on Shabbat, and recalled an incident, a few years ago, in which explosive devices were set off in a vineyard on Har Bracha. Chairman Benny Katsover of the Samaria Residents’ Council called on authorities to act against attacks by Arabs, leftists and anarchists as they act against Jews accused of attacks on Arabs.
    I’m afraid tit for tat attacks are part of the daily round in various parts of the Holy Land.

  3. Christopher Proudlove

    While the Palestinian Authority continues to demand the release of Palestinians from Israeli jails, it has long been ignoring the fact that thousands of Palestinians are languishing in prisons in several Arab countries, writes Khalid Abu Toamah, an Israeli Arab journalist.
    The families of the prisoners held by Israel at least know where their sons are and most visit them on a regular basis.
    But in the Arab world the story is completely different.
    The daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi recently revealed that dozens of Palestinians have been held in Kuwaiti prisons since 1991. The families of these prisoners do not know anything about their conditions.
    That Palestinians are being held in prison in an Arab country is not surprising. What is not understood is the Palestinian Authority’s position.
    According to the report, the Palestinian Authority has never approached the Kuwaitis concerning the fate of the prisoners.
    Mohammed al-Udwan, the father of one of the Palestinians held in Kuwait for the past 25 years, said that he still does not know exactly where his son, Essam, is being held. He and other families complained that the Palestinian Authority has not done anything to help them.
    The Palestinian Authority ambassador to Kuwait, Rami Tahboub, refused to comment on the plight of the prisoners there. Reached by phone, the ambassador first said he was busy with a meeting. He later stopped answering the phone.
    Hassan Khraisheh, Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah, urged the emir of Kuwait to put an end to the “tragedy” of the Palestinian families whose sons are held in his prisons without trial.
    Khraisheh called on the emir to inform the families whether their sons were still alive. “If they are dead,” he added, “then we want confirmation and information where they are buried.”
    Kuwait expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians after U.S.-led coalition forces liberated the tiny oil-rich emirate in 1991. The move came in retaliation for the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s [PLO] support for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait a year earlier.
    After liberation, the Kuwaitis also arrested many Palestinians on suspicion of collaboration with the Iraqi occupation army.
    Recently, the Kuwaitis finally allowed the Palestinian Authority to reopen the Palestinian embassy in the emirate. The move came after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas apologized for the PLO’s support of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
    But the Palestinian Authority leadership is apparently too afraid to ask the Kuwaiti authorities about the Palestinians who went missing in the emirate during the past two decades. Abbas does not want to alienate the Kuwaitis; he is apparently hoping that they will resume financial aid to the Palestinians.
    Two weeks ago, Abbas boasted that he had acted as a mediator to secure the release of nine Lebanese nationals abducted 17 months ago in Syria.
    Abbas’s announcement enraged families of Palestinian prisoners in Kuwait and other Arab countries. The families said that Abbas’s top priority should have been to secure the release of Palestinians, and not Lebanese, from Syrian prisons.
    Hundreds of Palestinians are held in various prisons in Syria, some for more than two decades. In the past year, at least two prisoners were reported to have died in Syrian and Egyptian prisons.
    Again, the Palestinian Authority leadership has not even demanded an inquiry into the deaths or the continued incarceration of Palestinians in the Arab world.
    A prominent Palestinian writer who spent three weeks in jail in Syria described the prisons there as “human slaughterhouses.” Salameh Kaileh was arrested in April last year on suspicion of printing leaflets calling for the overthrow of Bashar Assad.
    “It was hell on earth,” Kaileh told Associated Press. “I felt I was going to die under the brutal, savage and continuous beating of the interrogators, who tied me to ropes hung from the ceiling.”
    For the Palestinian Authority, the plight of Palestinians in Arab prisons does not seem to be an important issue. As far as the Palestinian Authority leadership is concerned, the only “heroes” are those prisoners who are held in Israel. For the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians who are being tortured and killed in Arab prisons are not worth even a statement.

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