Are the settlers hurting the Palestinians or are the Palestinians hurting themselves?Joe Settler has been all over these stories for months, but there is no shortage of Israel-bashers that believe anything bad said about "settlers."
Frequently Palestinians farmers complain that settlers cut their trees and hurt them and their livelihoods. At times even IDF soldiers and police had to protect the Palestinians farmers in the territories during the olive harvest season. But the police suspect now that in some cases the Palestinians themselves are those cutting the trees and then blamed the settlers and demanded compensation from the Civil Authority.
Foresters of the JNF patrolling the Shaar Efraim area today noticed to their surprise a number of Palestinians cutting olive trees in violation of the law as they were damaging scores of olive trees. The foresters hurried to call the police who arrived and held four of them for questioning.
The four were transferred to the police station in Kedumim and in their interrogation they said that the owner of the property invited them to cut the trees for firewood. A police spokesman for the Judea-Samaria District, Superintendent Pintzi Mor, told Maariv NRG that the owner of the area would be called in for questioning.
Sources in the police said that over the years the police have experienced a phenomenon of the filing of complaints to the Civil Authority regarding the destruction of olive trees, along with a claim for financial compensation. In the last year alone the Palestinians in the area of Judea and Samaria filed claims for 350 thousand shekels for the destruction of olive trees.
The police now intend to check the complaints in detail. A senior source in the police told Maariv NRG that "most of the complaints for damage to olive trees were filed in recent years at the end of the harvest season or towards the end, something that increase the suspicion that this is a cooked deal."
We've touched on the PalArab historic love of olive groves here.
UPDATE: Soccer Dad has been skeptical for much, much longer.