Returning to Saffa, Farmers, Activists Challenge IDF

23 March 2010

Saturday morning in a mass solidarity action organized by Palestine Solidarity Project, a group of over 30 international and Israeli activists accompanied farmers from Saffa, Beit Ommar as they together cleared rocks from fields and prepared land for planting olive trees. Israeli soldiers and Border Police arrived within the hour and declared the field a Closed Military Zone as the agricultural work constituted a threat to the security of the illegal settlement.

On the trail back to Saffa local youths attached Palestinian flags to the front of jeeps in defiance of the heavily armed soldiers.

As the group prepared to leave, 3 more Israeli military vehicles attempted to enter Saffa but were met barricades of large rocks and burning tyres in the street. In frustration at another instance of heavy handed disruption some youths threw stones at the military vehicles only to be met by volleys of tear gas.

Farmers in Saffa have suffered numerous violent attacks from settlers of nearby Bat Ayn who regularly cut down or set fire to their trees with the explicit support of Israeli Forces. In the latest incident just ten days ago the soldiers fired tear gas at farmers and a fire engine who attempted to put out burning trees in the valley.