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Saturday, December 2, 2006
Inspectors catch Palestinians cutting olive trees

Inspectors catch Palestinians cutting olive trees

Cutting trees and blaming the settlers?

Inspector caught Palestinian youths in the act as they were cutting olive
trees, claiming they did it at the request of the owner of the grove. The
police suspect that he did it for compensation. Now additional Palestinian
complaints will be investigated

Tal Yamin-Walbowitz Maariv website (Maariv NRG) 22 November 2006
www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/508/339.html
[Translation by IMRA]

Are the settlers hurting the Palestinians or are the Palestinians hurting
themselves?

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."

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