Israeli soldiers order Palestinian farmers to uproot 1400 olive trees in Wadi Qana area, near Dir Istiya, in the West Bank district of Salfit. On Wednesday, the army tried to uproot the trees but was repulsed by Palestinian, Israeli and International peace activists. The International Womens Peace Service (IWPS) reported on April 25 that nine farmers of Deir Istiya village, in the central West Bank District of Salfit District, had been given orders by the army to uproot 1400 olive trees in the Wadi Qana agricultural area by May 1, 2012.

This is the largest number of trees that the farmers of Wadi Qana have ever been ordered to uproot. Most of the trees were planted about 5 years ago on privately owned Palestinian lands.

The Orders were placed on retaining terraces, rocks and fences in the vicinity of the trees, and stated that if the farmers did not uproot their trees they would face punishment which could, according to Deir Istiya Mayor, Nathmi Salman, include large fines and imprisonment.

On May 2nd, the IWPS reported that the farmers stated that it is not only 1,400 trees, but over 2,000 trees that are at risk.

The Israeli army went there yesterday, May 1st, the deadline date for the farmers to uproot their own trees.

The soldiers came prepared to start the work but were met by a large number of Palestinians, Israelis and international peace activists who protested against the order.

About 100 armed settlers, including children, also descended from the many surrounding hill-top settlements. There was a tense confrontation but eventually the stand-off came to an end peacefully and everyone withdrew.

The residents stated that they have no doubt that the army will be back to uproot their trees, the main source of their livelihood.