Why are Israeli soldiers harvesting Palestinians’ olive groves?

Israeli police officers deny Palestinians access to olive trees in Wadi Rababa, East Jerusalem, October 7, 2022. (credit: Oren Ziv)
Soldiers were seen picking the trees after receiving permission from a settler group. When Palestinians went to harvest the next day, police prevented them.

By Oren Ziv and Meron Rapoport | +972 Magazine | Oct 19, 2022

“We have a land registration document proving that this is our land. Then suddenly they came and took it,”
— Ibrahim Sumarin, a resident of Silwan

An olive grove in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan has become the latest site of struggle between Palestinian residents, who have cultivated the flora for generations, and Israeli authorities and organizations, which have been coveting land and property in the area for years as part of their agenda of “Judaizing” East Jerusalem.

On Oct. 6, uniformed female soldiers were observed collecting olives from the trees in Silwan’s Wadi Rababa, a section of the Hinnom Valley which is part of a national park around the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Although it falls under the purview of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, the area has been designated as an “agricultural farm” and has been managed for the past two years by Elad, a settler organization that has been centrally involved in Israeli encroachments in Silwan.

In July, Local Call revealed that a contract was signed between Elad and the Nature and Parks Authority stipulating that the former would be in charge of running the newly-designated “agricultural farm” for a period of ten years. The investigation found that the contract was drawn up after the head of the Nature and Parks Authority at the time, Shaul Goldstein, met with an American donor who promised to make a large donation to Elad on the condition that the organization would be in charge of the farm for an extended period.

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