Security forces deployed at 'hotspots' as harvest begins

Security forces deployed

Amid threats by settlers that they will hinder Palestinians from harvesting their land, the IDF and Border Police have deployed large numbers of security personnel at numerous hotspots throughout the West Bank in an effort to prevent violence between the sides. The olive harvest season began this week and will end in late November. The IDF's civil administration has issued 9,000 permits for Palestinians to enter restricted areas along the seamline for the harvest of some 10 million trees throughout the West Bank. The harvest is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the Palestinian economy. Last week, ahead of the harvest, senior officers from the IDF and the civil administration met with their Palestinian counterparts to coordinate several outstanding issues, including the permits as well as the different areas that required special deployments to prevent violence between the farmers and local Jewish settlers. Some areas, particularly in northern Samaria, have been closed off to settlers as part of an effort to prevent friction between the sides. In the area around Nablus, there are 25 defined hotspots. Ahead of the harvest, the civil administration mapped out the West Bank and marked the different potential conflict areas, mostly orchards that are in close proximity to settlements. The civil administration then arranged tours of these areas with IDF legal advisers who were asked to issue special orders, which in some cases closed off the areas to Palestinians, and in other cases to settlers. "We will do what we can to prevent violence," a senior officer said. "This doesn't mean though that something won't develop in another place where we have not deployed forces."