Yesh Din and B’Tselem Israeli human rights organizations reported that settlers have uprooted over the past three years 2400 olive trees during repeated attacks against Palestinian orchards in the West Bank.
The Israeli police in the north of the Wets Bank reported that settlers uprooted 773 olive trees last year.
Meanwhile, the Yesha Council of settlements claimed that at least in some of the cases, Arabs and left-wing activists were behind the damage to the trees.
Yesh Din and B’Tselem have documented 29 attacked carried by settlers during olive picking season; in 23 of the cases there was direct damage to trees; felling, burning, uprooting or theft of the trees.
According to the Israeli police the number of attacks has declined in 2005; Israeli police reports showed that there were 17 attacks in 2005 and 35 in 2004. The police reported a "significant drop" in the number of attacks in Nablus area; 22 attacks in 2004 and 10 in 2005 according to police reports.
Also, the Israeli police claims that its infectivity to stop the attacks comes as a result of the lack of cooperation by Palestinian grove owners and settlers, in addition to the insufficient intelligence information.
Yet, most of the attacks carried out by settlers took place in Area B, which is under Israeli security control; the Israeli police can act in these areas under the protection of the Israeli army, while Palestinian Police cannot enter these areas.
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the division of authority between the police, the army, the so called Civil Administration and the Shin Bet security service in fighting crime and maintaining security in the territories has also been problematic.
Last month, four young settler women were indicted for attacking Palestinian harvesters in the village of Sinjil, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
According to the indictment, the four settler women, who were with four other young women that the complainant could not identify, attacked the farmer, hit them with sticks and hurled stones at them; they also attacked and hit an Israeli soldiers who tried to intervene.
Haaretz added that the four settler women are also accused of pulling the headscarves off the women harvesters, and punching one in the face, in addition to attacking an elderly harvesters and taking a walking stick away from him before pushing him.