Petitioners in 'Olive Tree' Episode Refuse Polygraph

Police have requested that the left-wing Israelis and Arabs from the Samaria village of Inbus submit to lie-detector tests after an olive-tree expert brought in by the police concluded they may have manufactured the entire "olive tree saga" as a provocation.

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The police investigation into the cutting down of Arab-owned olive trees near the Jewish neighborhood of Mitzpe Yitzhar has taken a dramatic turn. The opinion of an expert from the Jewish National Fund – brought in by the police – is that the “tree-cutter” severed the upper branches in a way that avoids any serious damage to the actual tree. On the basis of the expert opinion, the police are requesting that those who filed the accusations - left-wing activists and Arabs from the village of Inbus - submit to lie-detector tests.

Last week, a group of Israeli left-wing activists, together with Arabs from the village of Inbus – opposite the outlying neighborhood of Mitzpe Yitzhar – filed a police complaint claiming that their olive trees had been cut down by Jewish residents of Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza). The Samaria region Police came to investigate, bringing along an olive-tree expert from the Jewish National Fund, who concluded that the trees had not been cut down at all, but rather had merely had their upper branches pruned. He stated: “whoever cut these trees did so expertly in the specific manner which does not cause any serious damage whatsoever to the tree, whose branches will begin to grow back within 2 to 3 months.”

As a result of the JNF expert’s conclusions, the Police have requested that the left-wing Israeli activists and the Arabs from Inbus undergo a polygraph lie-detector examination to determine whether the accusations filed against the Jewish residents were a purposely-manufactured provocation.

“If it is determined that we are speaking about a provocation in which someone cut these branches and then filed a false accusation with the police, then we are dealing with false testimony, which is a serious infraction,” police superintendent Doron Ben-Ami told Israel National News.

Residents of the village of Yitzhar in Northern Samaria, as well as the outlying neighborhoods of Mitzpe Yitzhar and Hill 725 have published a joint statement denying any connection to the cutting of the village of Inbus’ olive trees. The letter is a response to MK Efraim Sneh and some in the press who have stated, “without a shred of evidence” that the residents cut down the olive trees.

“There is not one bit of truth in these accusations – they are simply baseless slander,” wrote the residents.

“We request from those members of the press who lay guilt upon the settlers for the cutting of olive trees – which hasn’t happened and will not happen – to cease their program of delegitimization against the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and to return to reporting the facts,” said Aviad Vissouly, chairman of the Land of Israel movement. “The fact is that the police have asked the left-wing activists and the Arabs to be examined by a lie-detector and they are refusing to participate in the investigation. We are talking about a program of slander on par with the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ and we are requesting that the Prime Minister order a full investigation and report the findings to the public.”

“Additionally,” added Vissouly, “it is incumbent upon Major-General of the Central Command Moshe Kaplinsky to issue clear directives with regard to the harvesting of olives on state-owned lands in areas adjacent to Jewish towns in clear writing, which will eliminate the friction, misunderstandings, and vilification of Israel across the globe. For some unknown reason he refuses to do so and as a result, Jewish residents, the IDF and the State of Israel are vilified regularly by the press corps.”