Two Israelis were arrested in the West Bank Saturday after a group attacked a Palestinian family picking olives at the start of harvest season — a frequent source of tension.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said a Palestinian woman was hospitalized after being beaten with a stick and that two suspects — one of whom was a minor — had been detained. According to Ynet the woman suffered minor injuries to her foot.
Samri said several settlers attacked the woman’s family as they gathered olives in the village of Kfar Yassuf near the city of Nablus.
The Israel Police said that the IDF was notified that several suspects from Tapuah, a nearby settlement, attacked the olive pickers. An IDF unit stationed nearby arrested a minor and an an adult suspected of involvement who refused to identify themselves, Ynet reported. The two were taken into police custody, and police said that the incident was under investigation and that they expect to make additional arrests.
This year’s olive harvest, an occasional flashpoint between West Bank settlers and Palestinians, could be a source of tension following a summer fraught with violence.
One Palestinian farmer from Hebron told AFP that violence and intimidation by Israeli settlers had forced her to abandon the olive harvest for the past two years.
This year, olive grove owner Hana Abu Aakil said she needs 30 volunteers to collect the crop.
“We have just started harvesting and everything is going well. It warms my heart,” she said.
There are some 10 million olive trees in the West Bank and the crop is a critical sector of the Palestinian economy, employing 100,000 workers and raising up to $100 million (70 million euros) each year.