Photos yesterday of Rabbis for Human Rights field staff assisting Palestinian farmers from the village of Far’ata as they plow their fields. Many of the lands owned by the village are near the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad. Weeks ago, farmers from the same village reported an attack by extremists as soldiers stood by.
Due to that proximity, the farmers are often fearful of entering their lands, frightened by the threat of violence at the hands of extremist settlers. In many instances, the farmers are required to coordinate work days with the Israeli army in order to access the land. While the army is mandated by Israeli law to ensure the farmers can safely complete their work, it is not unusual for the soldiers to simply attempt to ban the farmers from the land rather than respond appropriately to the intimidation or violence. Sometimes the soldiers stand by and do nothing during assaults by extremists, or worse – they’ll encourage or participate in the attacks themselves.
In order to make sure Palestinian farmers are able to exercise their right to earn a livelihood, Rabbis for Human Rights liaises between the Palestinians and the Israeli army in order to coordinate workdays for the farmers. In many instances, we also come along during the work itself in order to make sure things go smoothly and discourage violence or intimidation.
Right now we getting to the end of the ploughing season. We’ve assisted farmers from the villages of Farata, Jalud, Awarta, Beit Furik and more. Due to the extreme heat, less agricultural work occurs during the summer, but come fall, we will be out once again for the olive harvest.