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Clashes in Yitzhar over Olive Harvest ‘Provocation’

Clash in Samaria as Arabs, foreign supporters try to force their way into an Israeli town. Locals say olive harvest just a pretext.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/24/2013, 2:03 PM

Confrontation near Yitzhar (file)
Confrontation near Yitzhar (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A violent clash was reported in the Israeli community of Yitzhar in Samaria (Shomron) on Thursday. Violence broke out when a group of Palestinian Authority resident Arabs and foreign activists attempted to enter the town.

At least one foreign activist has accused local Israelis of attacking him.

A statement from the Israeli community in Yitzhar said, “To the best of our knowledge, the Arabs and leftists are coming in order to provoke and disturb the rest of residents. They entered the town without coordinating [their entrance] with the military, and without authorization, and that put locals at risk.”

“The army has been aware for some time that Arabs use the olive harvest to gather information for terrorist purposes, and nothing has been done to stop this,” the statement continued.

“This is what led to the murder of the members of the Fogel family,” it noted.

Ehud and Ruth Fogel and three of their six children were murdered by terrorists in 2011; one of the killers had scouted out the town prior to the brutal slayings by entering on the pretext of harvesting olives.

In fall 2011, Arabs from the killers’ family were allowed to enter the Fogel family’s hometown to harvest olives again. Residents reported that “harvesters” told them, “We will turn you into Fogels.”

Yitzhar residents concluded their message by calling on the IDF and other authorities to enforce calm “and not to let the leftists create provocations over and over that inflame tensions in the area.”