Felled olive trees (file)
Felled olive trees (file) Shomron Residents' Council

Arabs on Monday were caught red-handed cooking up another “tree libel” against Jewish residents of Samaria. The Arabs were seen cutting down olive trees and demolishing fences in an Arab olive grove near Har Bracha in Samaria, apparently intending to blame the damage on Jews.

Two volunteers working with the Samaria Residents Council caught the vandals on film. The volunteers were on special patrol, after Council director Benny Katsover urged Jewish residents of the area to watch out for Arab provocations during the olive harvest season. Katzover called on residents to carry video-filming equipment as they traveled the roads, in order to take video of the Arabs who were “setting up” Jews in a modern take on the “blood libels” of the Middle Ages.

Instead of accusing Jews of killing Christian or Muslim children to use their blood to bake matzah for Passover (although Jews are regularly accused of doing so in the Arab media), Jews are accused of destroying olive trees that Arabs farm. Jewish groups have long claimed that the vast majority of these “tree libels” are carried out by Arabs, and the latest incident proves this yet again, said the Council.

Katzover said that a copy of the footage was submitted to police, and a police complaint filed. “The video is another proof of how it is the Arabs who are behind these provocations, giving them an excuse to riot when Jews are accused of causing the damage,” said Sagi Keisler, chairman of the Council. “We have a great deal of footage of these incidents that we have taken over the years.

“I call on everyone to carry a camera or digital device that can take video and to use it when necessary,” he said. “When the volunteers started filming, the Arab provocateurs ran away. At least this time they will be unable to carry out their 'tree libel.'”