IDF to Restrict Jews during Arab Olive Harvest
The IDF says it will prohibit Jews from entering some fields, including those in Jewish towns, during the olive harvest season, which begins in October and lasts through December.
"Civil Administration officials met with their Palestinian counterparts, representatives from various villages in the region, and Palestinian olive oil manufacturers in order to coordinate a schedule for the harvest," military spokesman said.
“The IDF and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) respect this mission with high importance and value, understand the cultural and economic significance of the olive harvest to the Palestinian people of the region, and will operate accordingly so as to allow for the harvest to occur," they added.
Several olive orchards are located in areas that Jewish communities claim as belonging to them, and altercations have been common the past several years.
The restrictions on Israelis may hinder efforts by left-wing and Arab activists who in the past have accused Jews of cutting down or damaging olive trees "that actually were pruned by Arabs and then shown to foreign photographers as if they had been damaged willfully by Israelis," Military spokesmen said Monday, Wen olive trees are pruned to increase productivity, they look as if they have been hacked.
“Various Israeli and international non-profit organizations are expected to be extensively involved in the Palestinian olive harvest,” the IDF stated. “Representatives of the Civil Administration have met with representatives of these organizations and have agreed on guidelines for their activity during the olive harvest.
“Israeli civilians will not be permitted to enter particular olive fields so as to prevent friction between different populations. Representatives of the Civil Administration, Israel Police and IDF will be present in these areas.”