Ramallah: Olive oil prices in the West Bank have shot up during this year’s season as output diminished following the destruction of olive trees by Israeli colonists.

A kilogramme of olive oil is selling this harvest season for a much higher 25-30 (Dh26-32) Shekels, compared to 12-17 Shekels last year.

The Palestinian government, farmers and owners of olive presses, which are used in the final stage of extraction, blame the aggression of colonists for the shortage and the related increase in prices. They said the colonists have uprooted thousands of olive trees in recent years.

Rami Al Hamdallah, the Palestinian Prime Minister, has announced that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) will plant 750,000 new olive trees across the West Bank in a project aimed at enhancing the futures of Palestinian farmers.

Al Hamdallah said that the PNA will implement the project to protect the lands and defuse the aggression of Israeli colonists and soldiers in the West Bank. Al Hamdallah told the olive harvest conference in Bethlehem that the government will commission a committee to register the damage and losses the farmers have suffered and compensate them.

Eisa Mohammad, in charge of an olive press in the village of Al Fondoq near Nablus, said that the farmers suffer minor drops in their olive production, but this year’s drop is suspicious.

“The sharp jump in the price of olive oil can tell the story,” he told Gulf News.