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|Violence at West Bank olive harvest|
Article Date: October 20, 2008
settlers have been caught on camera punching and kicking two news
photographers and a British woman who was helping Palestinians pick
olives near a West Bank town.
The Israeli police responded to the situation on Saturday by stopping the harvest.
The scuffle near the town of Hebron was the latest in a series of incidents blamed on settlers trying to disrupt the annual harvest which provides a livelihood for many Palestinians.
The settlers claim the trees are on Israeli land and the harvest is illegal.
Reuters television footage showed four settlers heading into a grove next to an illegal Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank where several Israeli, Palestinian and foreign peace activists were harvesting.
Benvie told Reuters television: "When I went to get the camera, one of the settlers punched me in the face."
Footage showed Israeli soldiers arriving to break up the scuffle, but Benvie said they allowed the settlers to leave.
Al Jazeera's correspondent in Ramallah, Nour Odeh, said: "This is not the first time ... olive harvest season in the occupied West Bank sees a peak in settler attacks against Palestinian farmers.
"There are more than one million olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers feeding about 100,000 Palestinians in the West Bank. Most of these groves border the Israeli settlements which are, of course, illegal by international law.
"Picking these olives often requires the permission of the Israeli authorities, but in any case it is a chance for increased friction between the farmers and Israeli settlers."
Poleg, a spokesman for the Israeli police in the West Bank said the area
had been declared a closed military zone, effectively stopping the
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies