Christian Peace Maker Team and Palestinian media have reported that on Sunday, 28 July that zionist settlers from Tel Rumeida set fire to Hani Abu Heike’s olive grove under the protection of the Israeli occupation army. The Abu Haikel family has lived in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood for generations, and has been under constant attack from nearby settlers since settlers established their colony there in the 1980s.
Members of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron arrived while fire department and internationals were extinguishing the flames with hoses and buckets. Hani Abu Haikel told team members, “This has become a yearly thing,” elaborating that this act of vandalism marks the eighth time settlers have set his olive grove on fire.
Abu Haikel said that the fire started from directly under the nearby Israeli military and speculated that the settlers, whom he had seen on his land earlier that day, had spread gasoline or some other flammable substance over the ground. His evidence for this, besides the unnatural smell of burning chemicals coming from the ashes, was a small patch of ground left unscathed. Settlers had recently planted a garden on Abu Haikel’s land in another attempt to push the Abu Haikels off their land. The settler-planted garden, in the middle of the blackened grove was untouched by the flames.
Abu Haikel, a peace activist who is commited to non-violent resistence, is planning to file a report with the Israeli police, although he is not optimistic he will receive justice. If this experience is anything like his last seven, then the police will not follow up on his complaint.