This morning, Beit Ommar farmers arrived at their lands to discover that large areas of grape vines had been attacked by settlers from the illegal settlement of Karmei Tsur. The farmers immediately notified Mahmoud Ahmad Coql, who owns the destroyed fields.
In total, the settlers severed two dunums (two thousand square meters) of Mahmoud’s grape vines in fields near the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement.
Israeli authorities and the Israeli civilian police – upon seeing a number of Palestinians, press, and international activists – soon arrived on the scene accompanied by roughly twenty-five soldiers.
The shock of seeing so much of his work and livelihood destroyed overwhelmed Mahmoud, and he began to struggle for breath and feel chest pains. A Red Crescent Society ambulance arrived and tended to Mahmoud. Meanwhile, the police and soldiers ‘gathered evidence.’
When Mahmoud is ready, he and the other farmers will be taken to the Israeli police station for questioning. The area of Mahmoud’s fields is covered by 24-hour CCTV surveillance from the Karmei Tsur settlement, which will have undoubtedly captured the crimes committed last night.
Such devastating damage to the livelihoods of Beit Ommar farmers is a common occurrence, as Israeli settlers from the five surrounding illegal settlements routinely attack and harass Beit Ommar farmers, and destroy their crops, often wiping out the whole season’s income for a family in one attack.
(Crossposted @ Palestine Solidarity Project. PSP is a Palestinian project dedicated to opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land through non-violent direct action. It was founded in the village of Beit Ommar. It is hosting the We are all Palestine Campaign– Call for International Volunteers 16th September – 3rd October 2011)