Let Them Harvest in Peace
During October 2019, a series of violent incidents were perpetrated by settlers and Israeli security forces against Palestinians and their property. The organization Yesh Din documented more than 25 incidents in October 2019 in which farmers were attacked and olive trees were damaged; most of the incidents occurred on land adjacent to the illegal settlement of Yitzhar. In some of the incidents, Israel Defense Forces troops prevented Palestinians from harvesting their land. Despite the high number of incidents, some of which injured harvesters, no suspects are known to have been arrested.
On October 24, a number of human rights organizations (the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Harvest Coalition, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Torat Tzedek) appealed to GOC Central Command, Major General Nadav Padan, demanding that the necessary measures be taken to ensure that Palestinians be fully protected from bodily injury, as well as damage to their property, during the olive harvest. The organizations demanded that the military:
Deploy permanent policing forces in areas prone to clashes and back up existing patrols, primarily in the vicinity of Yitzhar, Har Bracha, Havat Gilad, Tapuah, Eli, and Adi Ad;
Close areas in which there are concerns that Palestinians will be harassed, and ensure that only Palestinian landowners can access their property;
Give clear orders to commanders and soldiers regarding their authority and obligations pertaining to law enforcement vis-à-vis Israeli citizens, and
Take legal measures against Israelis suspected of engaging in violence against Palestinians and their property.