IDF on high alert for new set­tler vi­o­lence

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY YAAKOV KATZ JERUSALEM

IS­RAELI SE­CU­RITY forces went on high alert this week out of fear that a re­cent spate of set­tler vi­o­lence will es­ca­late as a re­sult of Pales­tinian farm­ers har­vest­ing olives in groves lo­cated near set­tle­ments.

In re­cent weeks, se­nior IDF of­fi­cers have met fre­quently with their Pales­tinian coun­ter­parts to pre­pare for the har­vest sea­son, which started this week and will last un­til late De­cem­ber.

Some 3,000 per­mits were is­sued to Pales­tinian farm­ers who will be al­lowed to travel freely through­out the West Bank and even cross the se­cu­rity bar­rier to har­vest fields lo­cated on the Is­raeli side of the fence.

De­fence of­fi­cials said that the IDF would de­ploy large forces in “hot spots” through­out the West Bank where Pales­tinian farm­ers will be work­ing in fields next to set­tle­ments.

Last month, set­tlers al­legedly burned down an olive grove near Ra­mal­lah and res­i­dents of Yitzhar went on a vi­o­lent ram­page through a Pales­tinian vil­lage af­ter a nine-year-old boy was stabbed by a Pales­tinian in­fil­tra­tor.

“Our main job will be to pre­vent the set­tlers and the farm­ers from get­ting close to one an­other,” a se­nior of­fi­cer in the West Bank said. “In pre­vi­ous years there have been vi­o­lent clashes and the les­son has been to pre­vent the sides from get­ting close to each other.”

To pre­vent fric­tion be­tween set­tlers and the Pales­tini­ans, Is­raeli ac­cess to some ar­eas where olive groves are lo­cated will be re­stricted. The IDF has also met with left-wing groups that tra­di­tion­ally as­sist the Pales­tinian farm­ers to set guide­lines for their ac­tiv­ity.

PHOTO: AP

A set­tler ar­gues with bor­der po­lice as he tries to dis­rupt olive-pick­ing

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