Boars roaming freely through the Palestinian territories have become a menace, especially at the beginning of the olive harvest season, when Palestinian families are focused on cultivating their lands.
According to Ghassan Doghlous, the Palestinian official in charge of overseeing Israeli colonial activities in the northern areas of the West Bank, the spread of boars in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full administration of the Israeli occupation, has become an insurmountable problem.
“We in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) have not, and cannot find a solution to this problem,” he told Gulf News. “The Israelis do not allow Palestinian farmers to use rifles to shoot the wild pigs, but at the same time, will not allow the Palestinians to import — either from Israel itself or from abroad — the poison needed to kill the animals which are attacking farmers.”
Doghlous noted that the boars used to mainly roam at night, but have now become active throughout the day.
“We receive daily complaints from Palestinians all over the West Bank,” he said. “Many Palestinians have died, while others have been wounded in these animal attacks.”
Ebrahim Odeh, the deputy director of the Palestinian Wildlife Association, said that the only precaution that Palestinians can take is to build tall cement barriers to try to keep the pigs out.
“The higher those walls, the more effective they will be at protecting the local Palestinians,” he told Gulf News. “Palestinian pedestrians in Area C however remain in real danger.”
Odeh noted that the dramatic increase in the number of boars is largely because their meat is not consumed by Muslims. He stressed that shooting wild animals has been made illegal by occupation authorities. “Of course, the fact that Israeli colonists living in the nearby colonies of the West Bank routinely release pigs into the area with the aim of forcing Palestinian residents to leave their homes, is also fuelling the problem,” he said. “Palestinians should coordinate with the Israelis to hire professional hunters to cull the wild pigs and bury them in a custom-built hole specifically dug for this purpose, in order to reduce their numbers,” he said.
Medhat Zaid, a Palestinian farmer, said that many farmers have been avoiding cultivating their lands because of the danger posed by boars.
“Personal safety is far more important than the work at the end of the day,” he told Gulf News. “But at the same time, we cannot totally abandon our lands.”
According to Zaid, the farmers have reported the matter to the Palestinian authorities, but in the meantime, the number of these animals continues to rise.