Since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in 2000, Palestinian olive grower, Fuad Amer has been prevented from harvesting his crop. Jewish settlers from hilltop communities in the West Bank had harassed pickers, and destroyed olive trees. But in 2004, two Israeli rights groups – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Rabbis for Human Rights – filed a court petition on behalf of farmers. This season, an Israeli high court granted Palestinian growers protection from settler violence giving Amer the ability to successfully harvest the olives from his 60 trees…

Hundreds of Israeli soldiers and police are patrolling stony hillside groves near Jewish settlements in the West Bank, vowing to keep the peace. Palestinians, usually fearful of Israeli authorities, are welcoming their presence.

“We are happy that the army is here. We feel like we’re being protected,” said Amer, who has been harvesting his olives within shouting distance of the hilltop settlement of Bracha. So far, he says, there have been no problems.

(From the story written by John Murphy, Baltimore Sun Foreign Reporter)

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