W. Bank sees most peaceful olive harvest in 5 years
Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria record a 52% drop in violence throughout olive harvest season in 2011.
By YAAKOV KATZ
The 2011 olive harvest in the West Bank was the most peaceful in years, according to statistics obtained on Sunday by The Jerusalem Post and collected by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).In total, COGAT and the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria recorded a 52 percent drop in violence throughout the olive harvest season in 2011 in comparison to the previous year. In 2011, 33 violent incidents were recorded in comparison to 69 in 2010 and 50 in 2009.Sources in COGAT said the drop in the level of violence was the result of the civil administration’s efforts to increase coordination with the Palestinians ahead of the season and to ensure farmers do not harvest their fields without first coordinating with the IDF.“In 2010, most of the violence took place between settlers and Palestinians when the Palestinian farmers went to harvest their orchards without coordinating with the civil administration ahead of time,” one source explained. “This year, the farmers only harvested during set times, which enabled the IDF to deploy there ahead of time.”Despite the IDF presence, there were still a number of settler attacks against Palestinian farmers including close to a dozen cases when settlers cut down and poisoned a total of 475 olive trees.Nine Palestinians and four Israelis were wounded in clashes that broke out during the harvest. The Israel Police opened 28 cases against Israelis involved in the violence.According to the COGAT study, the settler violence peaked on October 18, the day Israel released the first part of the 1,027 terrorists in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. That same day, there were close to 10 attacks against Palestinians.Despite the violence and due to the overall drop, COGAT and the Palestinian Authority concluded the season mostly satisfied with its success. On average, Palestinian farmers harvested 80 kg. of olives per dunam (0.10 hectare) of olive trees.
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