This article was originally posted by the International Solidarity Movement on March 12, 2013. Link to full article.
Farmers attacked by Israeli army and settlers, preventing them from planting olive trees in memory of Rachel Corrie
By Lisa Marchant
Farmers peacefully planting olive trees in the land of Asira al Qiblya were today disrupted by Israeli soldiers who halted the planting. The presence of Palestinians on their own land also attracted the attention of illegal settlers from the nearby settlement of Yizhar, leading to them attacking Palestinians farmers and volunteers, throwing and catapulting stones. The army moved immediately to protect the attackers, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at Palestinians.
The olive trees were being planted in the vicinity of an Israeli military tower, recently built on a hill above Asira al Qiblya. Because of this, soldiers hassled farmers throughout the day, with an escalation of hostility mid-morning, when around 20 soldiers approached and demanded that farmers should stop planting trees and leave the land, despite the fact that the Palestinian owner of the land notified them that he wished to continue farming. The commander advised that the village should contact the Israeli district coordination office (DCO) to request permission – if permission was granted, he intimated, then the farmers would be allowed to access their land unhindered.
However, the villagers of Asira al Qiblya know this not to be the case. Just last week, access was requested and granted for three days through the DCO – despite this, a shepherd grazing his herd on the land during this “permitted time” was ordered to leave the land and was severely beaten by soldiers. It is clear that the outcome for villagers is the same whether permission is granted by Israel or not. Continue reading…