Earlier this week, Israel ordered Palestinian farmers in Deir Istiya, a major West Bank olive producing village, to uproot 1,400 trees by the end of this month. By comparison, this order is 400 more trees than the total number uprooted in all of 2011.
Since the Mamluk period, Deir Istiya has been one of the largest olive producing regions in the West Bank. But, even with 10,000 dunums of agricultural land, the village's full farming capacity is weakened by Israel's military and civilian occupation. Nearby, eight settlements are built on, or adjacent to, a total of 15,000 dunums of Palestinian land. "From my parents' house we can see were they built a settlement on our land," says Amal. And from the outposts, wastewater seeps into and is illegally dumped into a natural spring used by Palestinians producing olives. Amal says the wastewater flows down from the settlements like a river, "but it isn't a river." At times, the wastewater overflows from the dumping site to onto Palestinian orchards. Last fall, over 100 trees in Deir Istiya were destroyed by flooded wastewater.
TVNL Comment: Destroying food sources is a war crime. Israel has used American supplied bulldozers to do this regularly. We were not aware they ordered people to destroy their own source of food and income.