The snow storm that hit Palestine in the past few days was not the only struggle for the Palestinian farmers in this period. The Israeli settlers from Susiya Settlement chopped down 345 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers in Masafer Yata to the south of Hebron; on January 9th settlers chopped down 45 trees and then on January 10th they chopped another 300 trees. Each of these olive trees holds the memory of many proud Palestinian generations; each Palestinian olive tree is history.
Masafer Yata is one of Yata localities and is located about 24 kilometers to the south of Hebron. It consists of 19 small Bedouin localities. According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), the total area of Masafer Yata amounts to 36,000 dunums. Ninety percent of the local population is engaged in agricultural activities, depending on agriculture and herding animals as their main source of income.
Issa Al-Jbour, a seventy years old farmer from Sousia and a member in UAWC's agricultural committee, says: "the Israeli settlers' brutal violations against land and humans strengthen Palestinians resilience on their land. Our memories and work were chopped down with each tree, but we will plant more and more trees. We will never let go of our land."
This is not the first time that the Israeli Occupation violates the Palestinian farmers' rights and attack their property, during the first six months of 2014 the Israeli army and Israeli settlers uprooted more than 8480 trees most of them were olive trees. Also, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, till mid-December 2014 there had been 320 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
We the undersigned organizations and activists condemn the brutal violations of the Israeli settlers of Susiya Settlement, and call the International Community and Human Rights Organizations to support the Palestinian farmers' rights especially the right to food sovereignty. We call all the Human Rights Organizations, activists and Social Justice Movements to raise their voice to end the Israeli violations against the Palestinian farmers and the agricultural sector. Say NO to: land confiscation for establishing illegal settlements, trees uprooting, physical and verbal assaults, and demolition of agricultural properties.