Anti Wall, Settlements Official Detained for Planting Olive Trees near Ramallah

RAMALLAH, February 9, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Monday detained a Palestinian official while participating in an olive-planting event in Silwad town to the east of Ramallah, said a Palestinian activist.

Acting Head of Palestinian Committee against the Wall and Settlement Jamil al-Barghouthi was detained by Israeli forces while participating in an event involving planting olive saplings on lands threatened with confiscation in Silwad, according to ‘Abdullah Abu Rahma, an activist in the popular anti-wall and settlement committees.

Abu Rahma said Israeli forces physically assaulted the activists, including al-Barghouthi, and fired tear gas canisters toward them.

After obtaining an Israeli High Court’s ruling stipulating that the Israeli military return the confiscated land to the land owners in 2012, Silwad’s residents were allowed Sunday evening to access their confiscated land.

Referring to this court ruling, Abu Rahma noted that Israeli forces and settlers frequently violate not only international law, but also Israeli law and Israeli courts’ rulings.

Tensions were running high at the scene as activists demanded setting al-Barghouthi free and allowing them to continue planting olive saplings.

During the confrontations, an Israeli settler attacked two journalists who were covering the event from the news outlet Ro’ya.

Rose Hamed, who owns a portion of the confiscated land, said: “We have been prevented from accessing our lands which were annexed to the Israeli settlement of Ofra for over than thirty years; we have come to this place to reclaim and plant our land, but we were denied our right.”

Israeli military had no immediate comment on the attack.

Silwad’s residents planned to plant about 300 olive saplings and reclaim the confiscated land.

Local residents said that an area of 120 dunums of agricultural land belonging to them was confiscated by Israeli settlers in 1978.

Two months earlier, Head of the Palestinian Committee against the Wall and Settlement and member of Fatah Revolutionary Council Ziad Abu Ein was killed after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers during an olive tree planting event in the village of Turmsayya, north of Ramallah.