Farmers with orchards now located behind the Wall are facing a
difficult olive harvest season. The Israeli government began building
the Wall inside the West Bank several years ago, hitting the
northwestern Qalqilia and Tulkarem districts particularly hard.
The Palestinian Agricultural Relief society in Tulkarem is hosting meetings to discuss how to conduct this season's harvest in light of the latest Israeli restrictions.
Tulkarem's Governor joined farmers and organizers of a popular campaign to assist the harvest. Heads of local village councils are also helping to revive the yearly campaign. Foreign delegations, Israelis against the Wall, and lawyers from inside Israeli borders are also known to assist.
This year is expected to be more difficult, as each season brings with it more repression. Settlements are expanded, settlers increase their attacks, and Israeli forces employ new means to stunt the Palestinian economy, Agricultural Relief stated.
Tulkarem's Governor, Talal Dweikat, said that the meeting focused on specifically on the tracts of land behind the Wall and the inability of land owners to gain access due to the latest Israeli measures. Getting a permit to reach ones own land has become nearly impossible, the Governor reported.
Village council leaders called on the International Red Cross to keep a presence in the emergency room that will report Israeli violations against farmers.
An official from the Popular Committee to Resist the Apartheid Wall, Suheil Salman, said that the group is “focusing on the escalation of Israeli actions against the Palestinian land owners with land now on the other side of the Wall or near settlements imposed in the area.
Salman continued, “They are particularly at risk and the new Israeli procedures and applications for the farmers are incredibly complex, unprecedentedly so.”
One of the local mayors applied to the occupation authorities for a permit for land owners and workers to harvest the olives on lands behind the Wall. The Israeli government issued just 12 out of 50 requests.
This is the same area in which Israeli forces announced they would be protecting Palestinian farmers from violent Israeli settlers.