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      IDF Video: Don't Worry, We're Safeguarding Arab Olive Harvest

      IDF soldiers sent to guard Arab farmers. Jews: We're the ones who need protection.
      By Israel News staff
      First Publish: 10/14/2010, 1:21 PM / Last Update: 10/15/2010, 11:15 AM

      IDF soldiers have been sent to guard Palestinian Authority Arabs during the olive harvest, which is currently taking place throughout the region. Several Jewish farmers told Arutz Sheva that PA Arabs fake Jewish attacks on their trees.

      Jews are the ones who really need protection, they said.

       

      Samaria spokesman David HaIvri said the IDF has been coerced into guarding PA farmers by extreme-left Israeli groups that stage “attacks” for their own purposes.

      “It is disgraceful that the IDF is bing manipulated by the phony 'rabbis' for human rights and Tayush whose mission is to cause fights between Arab and Jewish farmers who in most cases would have nothing to do with each other had it not been for the involvement of the foreign instigation,” he said. “I am sure that if the police would deal with these provocateurs the amount of real life disputes between Jewish and Arab in the region farmers will drop drastically.”

      He criticized the head of Rabbis for Human Rights, one of the main groups involved in “olive harvest” activities, as “a professional provocateur, whose job is to incite Arab riots and vandalism of Jewish farm lands.” Rabbis for Human Rights head Arik Asherman creates friction in order to boost his group's image and raise funds in America, he said.

      This year's olive harvest began just days ago, and Asherman has already been quoted in Israeli and Western media outlets accusing Jews in Judea and Samaria of targeting PA Arab farmers.

      A source formerly involved in the olive farming industry told Arutz Sheva that most Arab complaints are “staged baloney.”

      “When Arabs claim trees have been hacked, it is usually because they have hacked them but use the ignorance of the media to profit by the way the trees look after pruning. Lopping off branches--That is how you prune olive trees but they know that when reporters see hacked looking trees, they will believe that it was done by Jews with intent to damage,” the source explained.

      Claims that Jews have “chopped down” trees that were actually pruned go back several years. The Judea and Samaria (Yesha) Council has publicized videos showing Arab farmers chopping branches off of their own trees, but the videos have been largely ignored by world media.

      Olive trees are usually pruned almost down to the trunk every two years or so, in order to reap a better harvest the next year.

      Jewish farmers in Samaria say that they are the ones in need of IDF protection. Arabs in the area often target Jewish crops in arson attacks.

      The Samaria Residents Council has set up a website this year to document Arab attacks on Jewish farmers, in an attempt to counter the PA accusations that fill the media each year at harvest time.