Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, has announced that the PA has received permission to plant some more 750,000 olive trees in Area A as compensation for alleged "settler attacks" on Palestinian olive orchards.
In a discussion with the prominent PA news agency Ma'an, Hamdallah blamed both the IDF and Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria for uprooting roughly 4,000 olive trees since the beginning of the year. In retaliation, Hamdallah claims, the Palestinian Authority has vowed to plant some 750,000 olive trees across Area A.
Hamdallah's comments headlined the 13th annual Olive Festival in Bethlehem's Manger Square, where he warned against alleged Israeli threats to the future of Palestinian Arab agriculture, and called for international intervention to restrict Israel's rights to control Judea and Samaria. Olive orchards, and their relevance in terms of Israel's control over the region, have gained increasing political importance, gaining even more visibility after Foreign Policy Chief of the European Union Catherine Ashton's visit to Arab-owned orchard groves in Judea and Samaria last year.
Sagi Kaizler, Director of the grassroots Samaria Residents Council, recently told Arutz Sheva that the Olive Harvest season is also peak season for PA "propaganda" and incitement. Kaizler stated that "in recent years, a false propaganda machine has arisen regarding the olive trees in Samaria. Extreme leftist groups have flooded the media with false claims about damages to olive trees and their Palestinian landowners."
Kaizler stressed that efforts to prevent successful falsifying of claims bore fruit last year, when the Board used high-resolution photos to document the destruction of olive orchards by Arabs and Leftist groups near the village of Elon Moreh, in an apparent attempt to frame Jewish residents.
"It is important to note that despite dozens of complaints against them, no indictment has been filed on Samaria residents regarding the uprooting of olive trees. This is proof that the culprit is the harvest itself -- not factual evidence [against Israel]."