Sewage waste has become a nightmare threatening the farmlands of the Palestinian residents north of the West Bank city of Qalqilia.
Farmers in this area say at the start of each guava and tangerine season, settlers from Zufim and Sur-Igal adjacent to the northern district open the sewage pipes towards the neighboring fields.
This causes an environmental disaster with hoards of insects that attack the fruit. The farmers say they have no defense mechanism to save their harvests except racing with time and picking the fruit even if it is not completely ripe.
Farmer Ahmad Mansour said that each year he rushed to pick the fruits before the settlers flood their waste-water into his orchard.
"It seems the [the settlers] do not like to see green lands" Mansour said, "each year they flood their waste-water and we aren't able to do anything about it".
"Each year, I wait for the guava hoping to make up for at least part of my losses", Mansour stated, "The settlers do not want to see trees bearing fruit in the area isolated by the wall, it seems this irritates them."
Also, Mansour added that the farmers are suffering from wild boars, which attack their farmlands and destroys saplings and smaller trees.
In the same context, Israeli border police banned farmers from selling their guavas and tangerines on the side of the main Nablus-Qalqilia road. "The police fined us, and anyone who doesn't get a ticket is arrested," said farmer Ahmad Khleif.
Sewage waste is causing an environmental disaster, not only from the hoards of insects attracted by the sewage that attack the fruit, but from the sewage itself, which runs into areas inhabited by Palestinians, creating extremely unsanitary conditions.
As for the farmers, with no appeal possible (the Israeli authorities do not accept appeals on this issue), all they can do is continue to race against time and pick the fruit even if it is not completely ripe.