Israeli Occupation Forces Prevent Farmers from Selling Their Produce in Beit Ommar

27 June 2013

Israeli military forces have once again prevented residents and authorities in Beit Ommar from opening their main market, near the entrance to the village. Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at farmers and city councilmen attempting to reopen the market this week. At the same time, Israeli forces destroyed fruit stands along Route 60 belonging to Beit Ommar farmers who were forced to sell their produce there.

Beit Ommar, a town of approximately 17,000 residents, is an agricultural town where 67% of the population are farmers, so the main source of their income is the sale of fruits and vegetables. Because of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian exports from the West Bank, Palestinian farmers are restricted to selling their produce to a local market. In Beit Ommar, a central market built by the International Committee of the Red Cross to help the local economy. Unfortunately they can not use this market because of the Israeli occupation forces. This forces the farmers to go to Route 60 (the major road from Jerusalem-Hebron) and sell their produce on the side of the road.

The Israeli occupation forces have attacked and arrested these farmers, and destroy their fruit stands and produce multiple times on rout 60 while they try to sell them. Some have been given jail time while others are charged exorbitant fees.

The municipality of Beit Ommar tried to open the central market several times, but the Israeli Occupation forces shoot tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets to prevent farmers from using the market. The farmers of Beit Ommar town are now afraid to take their fruits to sell it in that market. The market now is just an empty building used by the Israeli military.