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Israeli Settlers Disrupt Palestinian Olive Harvest


An annual Palestinian harvest means trouble in the occupied territories. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in Jerusalem.

Jewish settlers attacked two news photographers covering the Palestinian olive harvest in the West Bank. Video showed four Israelis move into a grove near their settlement where Palestinians were picking olives with the help of Israeli and foreign supporters. The settlers punched and kicked the Palestinian photographers and grabbed one of their cameras. They also assaulted a British activist. One of the photographers threw stones at the settlers.

It was the latest in a series of attempts by militant settlers to disrupt the annual olive harvest which is vital to the Palestinian economy. Israeli police intervened and broke up the brawl. There were no serious injuries and the settlers were allowed to walk away.

Palestinian parliamentarian Moustafa Barghouti was there.

"Palestinian villagers are encountering a terrible war by the Israeli illegal settlers and the Israeli army against their trees, against their land," he said. "We are here to help them in a peaceful, non-violent resistance to maintain their land."

The settlers say disrupting the olive harvest is a legitimate response to repeated Palestinian vandalism and attacks.

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