Wild boars 'weaponized by Israeli colonialism' against Palestinians - activists

Wild boars cross a road in a residential area after the government ordered residents to stay home to fight the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Haifa, northern Israel April 16, 2020.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

"Israel is using wild boars to strengthen its colonial hold on Palestinian land," the Institute for Middle East Understanding wrote.

Wild boars are being used as a weapon by the State of Israel against Palestinians, pro-Palestinian activists claimed on Tuesday.

"Israel is using wild boars to strengthen its colonial hold on Palestinian land," the Institute for Middle East Understanding wrote. "Israeli settlers have been found to release wild boars onto Palestinian farmland as a form of abuse. These illegal settlers use the boars to pressure and intimidate Palestinians, hoping to drive them away from their lands and vacate them for illegal settlement growth."

Palestinian researcher Rawan Samamreh claimed in a Mondoweiss article that Israeli environmental practices were allowing for the proliferation of wild pigs and denying Palestinian farmers the ability and tools to combat the issue. The boars damage crops and property and have even attacked people.

"Using wild boars is part of an older Zionist imperative to colonize nature," asserted Samamreh. "The JNF [Jewish National Fund] pines were used as weapons of war, which due to their acidity would kill all nearby plants in the Palestinian landscape and make lands unusable for Palestinian shepherds. The same is true for the weaponization of wild boars in the West Bank countryside."

Samamreh referred to reports that the IDF and Israeli settlers were being released intentionally into Palestinian villages, though noted that such allegations have been light on documentation. 

A woman stands next to a wild boar roaming in a residential area in Haifa after the government ordered residents to stay home to fight the spread of coronavirus. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)

The Israeli government has regulatory restrictions on hunting of and interfering with the boars on nature reserves. Samamreh noted that fences were ineffective against the boars, and Palestinians lack access to firearms.

"Thanks to Israel, Palestinians have been left with no way to protect themselves from the wild boars," wrote the IMEU. "Though Israel has no right to control the West Bank, it has turned large swathes of Palestinian land into nature reserves, making boar population control a crime.

Past claims of Israeli boar war

Claims by Palestinian activists and officials that Israel has utilized wild boars against them is not a new allegation.

In 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accussed Israel of releasing wild pigs against Palestinians every night.

Monitoring Israeli Colonizing activities in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza claimed in 2009 that Israeli-released wild boars threatened to spread swine flu.

Wild pigs issue for Israelis as well

Wild boar attacks and damage to property is not only a Palestinian issue. Israelis have been grappling with the rising boar population and boldness to venture into towns. 

The pig problem has become so great in Haifa that a study found that approximately half of Haifa's residents would be willing to pay a tax increase if the funding went to combat the urban infestation. In September, footage of a boar breaking into a woman's home in Haifa was circulated on Israeli channels. In 2020, during the coronavirus lockdowns the pigs had free run of the city's streets, and in May of that year, a teenager and her dog were attacked by a boar.

The infestation of boars also impacted the Jerusalem area when wildfires pushed the pigs out of their habitat and into the Mevaseret Zion Municipality.

"The Palestinian struggle against wild boars become part of the struggle against settler-colonialism," asserted Samamreh.

Khaled Abu Toameh, Herb Keinon, Aaron Reich and Celia Jean contributed to this report.

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