Monday, October 29, 2007

U.K. "peace activists" caught destroying crops

from Arutz Sheva/Israel National News: 'Olive Harvest' Activists Caught Destroying Jewish Vineyards:

Jewish-owned vineyards in Samaria were once again destroyed by leftist “humanitarian groups” Friday. This time some were caught in the act and arrested.

Shortly after residents of Dolev, located north of Jerusalem, discovered Friday that a local synagogue had been burned to the ground overnight, they saw that 3,000 plants in nearby vineyards had been destroyed. This is the third case of major agricultural vandalism in the region in recent months.

Vines were torn from the ground, and expensive irrigation equipment was damaged. The Jewish locals saw a group of foreign activists and Arabs heading toward an additional Jewish agricultural plot and alerted the police and IDF. The group fled, but three female activists from the United Kingdom were slower and were caught by police.

Destruction Under Guise of Humanitarian Assistance
Residents say the vandalism occurred under cover of the much-publicized PA Arab olive harvest. Local Arabs, joined by leftists – many foreign nationals – focus their harvest activities on trees abutting Jewish communities. This year, the IDF has been tasked with ensuring that Jewish residents do not leave their communities while the harvest activities are going on, citing fears of clashes. Two administrative orders have distanced two Jewish residents from all of Judea and Samaria for the duration of the harvest.

Adi Mintz, an area resident and member of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) who is running for mayor of the region, said that the Yesha's Jewish residents have now received “a clear warning sign. Today it is synagogues and vineyards that are destroyed - tomorrow it will be the lives of human beings. The army must send in more forces to defend the residents of this area,” he said.

The owner of the destroyed vineyard, Shlomi Cohen, said the attack had caused NIS 60,000 of direct damage and would cost him an additional NIS 120,000 in lost produce. The damage was particularly severe because the attack took place during the shemittah (sabbatical) year, when Jews are forbidden to work the land.

British ‘Peace Activists’ Responsible
The three British women who were apprehended by police are accused of responsibility for the destruction Friday. Police also have evidence, however, that the women were part of the group that destroyed farm equipment in the nearby town of Neria in an earlier incident as well.

The women are activists with the International Solidarity Movement, a militantly anti-Zionist group that seeks to enable provocative actions against the IDF and Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, under the assumption that their foreign citizenship will raise the threshold on the response of security forces. The lines between ISM and local terrorist groups are quite blurry. In the past, British terrorists even carried out a suicide bombing after being embedded in an ISM cell.

Most of the vandals also take part in clashes with the IDF near the Arab village of Bilin. The militants were recently handed a victory by the Supreme Court, which ordered the IDF to move the security fence in the area of the weekly protests.


Anonymous said...

Adam or anyone else:
Are there any reports of this anywhere else besides Arutz Sheva, in any language?

Adam Holland said...

I'll look. Here's a Jerusalem Post article on the synagogue fire last week:

Synagogue burned at Samaria outpost

Two acts of vandalism committed against settlers in the Binyamin area on Friday added to the annual tensions between local Jews and Palestinians during the fall olive harvest.

On Friday morning, police received a report from the IDF that while "opening" a route around the Yad Yair outpost, near Dolev, troops saw that the road had been blocked with boulders.

Suspecting that the blockade indicated illegal activity, the soldiers searched the area and discovered that a trailer used as a study room and storage area, and as a synagogue on Mondays and Thursdays, had been burned to the ground.

Security forces, including IDF units, police and firefighters, were called to the scene, but as of Saturday evening, the reason for the blaze was unknown. Samaria and Judea Police said that they were awaiting the official opinion of a fire inspector before judging whether or not arson had been committed.

Investigators discovered tracks of two people leading away from the scene of the blaze toward Ramallah.

Police said that there were prayer books in the trailer, but that no Torah scrolls had been inside at the time of the fire.

Later Friday afternoon, the security director of the settlement of Neriya reported that he saw a large group of people descending from a nearby Palestinian village and entering a nearby vineyard operated by Dolev resident Shlomi Cohen.

"In light of past experience with such events in the vineyard, a small group under the command of the security chief arrived at the scene," said Samaria and Judea Police spokesman Dani Falk.

Three British women were detained at the scene by the security team, who called police and IDF. The additional forces en route to the scene said that they encountered barriers of stones which they believe were placed in the road to delay security forces from reaching the vineyard.

Police said that there was damage to the irrigation system in the vineyard and that some plants had been uprooted.

Representatives of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza said that over 5,000 grapevines had been uprooted.

"This is the third time in the last two months in which an incident such as this one occurred in the same place," said Yesha spokesman Yishai Hollander.

"This incident comes following the burning of the synagogue in Yad Yair this morning, which is located in the same area."

Hollander emphasized the gravity of the situation in light of the shmita (sabbatical) year, which means the plants could not be replanted until next year.

"The local residents are upset that the security forces once again did not succeed in preventing the vandalism, and demand the expanding of security and, as a response, forbidding the residents of the neighboring Palestinian village, Mizra'a a-Kabaliya, from harvesting their olives," wrote Hollander.

Adam Holland said...

Here's a Jerusalem Post mention of the vineyard attack:

Two Italian left-wing activists hurt in protest against security fence

Two Italian left-wing activists were wounded Friday when they were shot with rubber bullets by IDF troops during a protest against the West Bank security barrier near the Palestinian village of Bil'in.

Meanwhile, IDF troops arrested four British left-wing activists on suspicion of damaging a vineyard belonging to a resident of the Dolev settlement.

Adam Holland said...

From Ha'aretz on the fire:

Palestinians set fire to West Bank synagogue for second time
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

Palestinians set fire to a synagogue near the Dolev settlement in the West Bank early Friday.

Worshippers who arrived at the site to find the building in flames, its contents - including prayer books and torah scrolls - destroyed.

A monument in memory of Yair Mendelson, who was killed in a terrorist attack during the first intifada, was destroyed as well. A children's play structure was also vandalized.
A torn Israeli flag was left at the site. This marks the second time the synagogue was torched in the past ten months, and the third time the site was vandalized.

Olah Chadasha said...

This is part of a trend. These groups, including Israeli "humanitarian and peace" groups, also go around purposely destroying Arab olive trees and then blame neighboring Jewish settlements in order to create tension and bad media for the Jews of Judea and Samaria.

Adam Holland said...


I believe I know the story to which you refer. A Jewish pro-Palestinian activist destroyed an irrigation system that a Jewish settlement had installed to assist the neighboring Arab village, then claimed to the village residents that the settlers had diverted the irrigation water to fill a swimming pool. Fortunately, this man was caught in the act and photographed vandalizing the irrigation line. I'll try to find and post the story. Thanks!


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