‘Thereâs this term called âprice tag.â (A settler strategy of committing violent acts against Palestinians â usually against property â whose stated objective is dissuading Israeli authorities from interfering with settlement expansion.)
There was one incident where already the night prior, they said a âprice tagâ action was going to be carried out. It was known. And, the next morning, a whole grove of olive trees was discovered chopped down â 65 trees chopped down.
Now, chopping down a tree is an affair that takes a good half hour â itâs not as simple as it looks. Chopping down one tree costs approximately 5,000 shekels (around $1,300). You need equipment, special saws. The trees can collapse, so you chop them down in stages. To chop down 60 trees youâd need something like eight hours of work and three saws.
There were lots of people there, with lots of equipment, whoâd need a supply of water â itâs not a simple operation. I donât believe that the military, with all itâs observation points, on an olive grove located on the main road, didnât see something like that taking place.
The observation posts are efficient to the degree where you can identify any vehicle that stops for a moment on some route â itâs impossible 60 trees were chopped down and no one noticed. No way. So, they brought over the military tracker to figure out where the footsteps had come from.
The tracker looks right and left for a bit. Now, a tracker, he can tell you based on just one footstep, which direction they came from, which way they left, where they paused, and where exactly they are now. So, he looked around and said, âI donât know where they came from.â
Now, this was a no-brainer, it was right in front of the settlement â in front of Carmel. I saw the trails left by the vehicles and the quad bikes myself. So, he said to me, âIâd rather not know.â
It was taken to the deputy battalion commander, and he asked me, âDo you really want to start a fight with the entire sector now? I canât do anything, itâs at the brigade level.â The next day, a protest tent was set up, a canopy with a few Bedouin women sitting under it in black dresses to mourn their olive trees thatâd been chopped down.
We called in the Border Police straight away and dispersed them, arrested them, took apart their canopy. The next day, because of that, all the left-wingers came, and more busses and more Arabs and more settlers, and there was another little demonstration, which of course we also scattered.’
How did you scatter them?
‘Arrests. âDisperse, please,â a few Border Police guys, a few clubs â but thereâs a directive not to shoot, and itâs very strict. A few days after that, the settlers chopped down one more tree, just to show [the Palestinians] that the fact that theyâd set up a tent wasnât scaring anybody.’
This testimony can also be read in Hebrew.