Heading for olive season catastrophe

When you bend the rules, you bend all the rules. This is what we have been saying for a long time to those Israeli officials, who are letting their soldiers and settlers get away with murder.

During the past thirty five years, settlers have targeted the farmers in Aqraba, Yanoun, Huwwara, Kufr El Deek, Al Lubban, Turmus ‘Ayya, and every other village in Palestine, increasing their attacks since the beginning of the Intifada, making it a daily ritual during the past few weeks.

“I received a picture from a colleague of mine of an old man holding several rings of keys to the remaining houses in Yanoun” (Photo: Alaa Badarneh)

The past two weeks, groups of settlers have targeted farmers in Aqraba and Yanoun on a daily base. Sometimes they shoot and kill, sometimes they beat up farmers, women and children. Sometimes they set fire to the old olive trees, the farmers’ sole source of income. It was no surprise that Yanoun villagers fled Yanoun.

Clashes erupted between the settlers and Israeli army and between extremists in the Israeli cabinet and War Minister, Ben Eliezer.

The question pops up again. How can you make blood hungry hooligans into law-abiding citizens? How can you erase red lines in front of settlers for so long and suddenly expect them to behave well?

I, myself, have been debating how offensive army soldiers and attacking settlers behave like when they have a domestic problem at home. Would they think of shooting first or beat their siblings up?

It seems that I was right on that account. Not only do settlers commit crimes every single day but they also have resisted their own army’s command to evacuate the newly established settlements. “The Israeli government is trying to change the term ‘settlement’ into ‘outposts’ ”, the world community might think.

Two days ago, I received a picture from a colleague of mine of an old man holding several rings of keys to the remaining houses in Yanoun.

The next picture included all the students of Yanoun public school. All five of them. This school may be legible to be marked in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest school in the world. Most of Yanoun inhabitants have fled Yanoun after the repetitive attacks by the settlers, who were protected by the army.

Today, Israel’s army issued a restriction order to ban Palestinians from picking their olives. The army spokesman explained that the army has been busy trying to tighten the siege on Palestinian cities. They do not have enough soldiers to ‘protect’ Palestinians from attacking settlers, they explained.

Earlier, the sources said that the olive-picking season may be used as a trap to enable Palestinians to initiate attacks against Israeli civilians. This means that Palestinians should allow settlers to shoot them, burn their trees and drive them out of their own lands and not do a thing about it. Was any of you surprised by the attack near Al Khudairah yesterday?

The army restriction order was cancelled later due to the lack of soldiers to make the restriction order valid.

The Israeli government backed army has seized to amaze us Palestinians. They stopped being diplomatic about their aggression. They do not feel they have to answer to anyone for they have the full support of the most powerful power in the world, the United States of America.

Tonight, after the curfew was imposed at 6 pm, I saw an Israeli army tank accompanied by an armored personnel carrier passing by near my apartment. The soldiers started shooting for no reason what so ever. I rushed and got my kids away from the windows and the shooting range inside my home.

I could pretend that the army was trying to terrorize people and remind them that the curfew is still on. But then again, Shaden Abu Hijleh, among hundreds of other Palestinian victims, was killed in a similar shooting incident.

Day 124 of the curfew. The world is watching, yet has done little.

Amer Abdelhadi is general manager of Radio Tariq Al Mahabbeh, TMFM 97.7