Israeli Settlers Uproot 500 Olive Trees, Attack Palestinian in West Bank

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Updated at 4:45 pm (GMT +2): A group of Zionist settlers uprooted over 500 newly planted olive tree saplings in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, Ma'an news agency reported Wednesday.

The damaged fields belong to the al-Ayaida family, local activists told Ma'an.

On Tuesday, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) uprooted with bulldozers dozens of olive trees in the northern occupied West Bank village of Tayasir.

Earlier in February, Israeli settlers cut down over 70 olive trees belonging to Palestinians also in Hebron.

The uprooting of olive trees comes after an annual Palestinian campaign to plant one million trees on land facing annexation in the occupied West Bank kicked off in Hebron.

The initiative intends to help farmers maintain ownership of agricultural land threatened by Israeli annexation and replant tree seedlings on damaged land.

Israeli settlers and military forces regularly burn and uproot hundreds of thousands of olive trees, which are highly symbolic for the Palestinian community.

The attacks on olive trees are also a way to force Palestinians out of their homes and lands for illegal settlement construction projects, as the loss of a year's crop can signal destitution for many.

According to Ma’an, the olive industry supports the livelihoods of roughly 80,000 families in the occupied West Bank.

In order to build its apartheid wall and infrastructure for Zionist-only settle­ments, Israeli bulldozers plowed down more than 800,000 olive trees in the West Bank since 1967, the equivalent of bulldozing all of New York City's Central Park 33 times.

In January, Zionist settlers uprooted more than 5,000 olive tree saplings in agricultural lands east of the town of Turmusayya in the Ramallah district.

The settlers uprooted the trees in a way that makes it impossible for Palestinian farmers to plant the trees again in the future, locals said at the time, accusing the Zionists of pressuring Palestinians out of their lands.

In October, when the 2014 olive harvest began, a group of Zionist settlers set fire to around 100 olive trees owned by Palestinian farmers near Nablus in the northern West Bank.

Settlers attack Palestinian in Nablus

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian man in Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday evening, a Palestinian official said, the latest in a series of attacks against Palestinians.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settler activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that Thaer Mahmoud Issa Daoud, 37, was hit on the head with an iron rod by a group of Zionist settlers.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Hate crimes by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property, referred to as “price tag” attacks, are systematic and often abetted by Israeli authorities, who rarely intervene in the violent attacks or prosecute the perpetrators.

Earlier this month, an Israeli settler opened fire at several cars belonging to Palestinians near the village of Aqraba south of Nablus.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there have been 2,100 Zionist settler attacks in the past eight years. The number quadrupled from 115 in 2006 to 399 in 2013.

More than 600,000 Israeli settlers, soaring from 189,000 in 1989, live in settlements across the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

Israeli authorities have also allowed Zionist settlers to take over homes in Palestinian neighborhoods both in annexed East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and announced plans to build thousands of settlements strictly for Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem while ignoring Palestinian residents.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-infamous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

As a result, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes, or were forcibly expelled, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities were razed to the ground by invading Zionist forces.

Israel then occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state — a move never recognized by the international community.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

Comments

Cannot express how disgusted I am at the way things are going outside of Israel. Zionists are running rampant, flaunting international law and human rights as usual. Ethnic cleansing at its worst.

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