The uprooted olive trees
The uprooted olive treesSamaria Residents Committee

Some two hundred Palestinian Arabs descended on a Jewish-owned farm near the Samarian town of Elon Moreh and uprooted dozens of young olive trees last Friday.

Local Jewish residents and members of the Samaria Residents Committee say they had been warning for several weeks of Arab provocations and riots in the area, and had turned to authorities - but to no avail.

One member of the Committee described the deteriorating situation in the area as akin to "Bil'in", referring to the Arab village that is the scene of regular violent riots by Palestinian and foreign left-wing activists.

The Israeli owner of the olive grove in question told how he rushed to the scene and saw Arab and left-wing activists begin uprooting his trees, while IDF soldiers stood by and did nothing to remove them from his private property.

Residents say they had decided not to react to the Arab protest themselves, assuming that the IDF and security forces would deal with it appropriately.

"For three weeks already we warned that this (violent) phenomenon will keep increasing," said Samaria Residents Committee head Sagi Kaisler. "The Palestinians have found a new area to protest and riot as they do every Friday."

"Precisely what we expected happened, and we call on the army and the government to act firmly against these rioters and not to look away and do nothing. 'The Israel Defense Forces' - that is its meaning, and therefore it must protect the residents of Israel."