Salfit (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces on Monday evening uprooted over 250 Olive trees and bulldozed large tracts of Palestinian-owned land, west of Salfit city in the occupied West Bank.
Local residents said that last night Israeli forces escorted bulldozers to the area and started levelling large tracts of Palestinian-owned land, uprooting over 250 olive trees aged between 7 to 10 years.
The forces also demolished several retaining walls in the area.
Palestinians plant around 10,000 new olive trees in the West Bank each year, most of which are of oil-producing varieties.
However, Palestinians see the destruction of their trees, stealing, and settlers attacks while harvestin as ways for the occupation to erase Palestinian identity and force them to cede more land to Israel.
According to United Nations monitors, more than 4,000 olive trees and other tree crops have been burned or removed by Israeli settlers and forces in 2020.
The committee against the wall and settlement on Sunday said Israeli forces uprooted, broke, and damaged 6507 trees in 869 operations in 2020.
The ancient olive trees are regarded by Palestinians as a symbol of their connection to the land. Each year, during the olive harvesting season, such incidents spike across the occupied West Bank.
Olives are Palestine’s most important crop, whose oil is exported around the globe and whose annual harvest is a crucial source of income for thousands of farming families.
Olive cultivation contributes up to $100 million in income for some of the poorest Palestinian communities, OXFAM once said in a report.
Regarding Salfit, the Israeli occupation authorities continue to confiscate more lands of Salfit in order to expand the Ari’el settlement and build dozens of new settlement units on the Palestinian lands.
The occupation authorities and its settlers seized more than 5,000 dunums in order to enlarge the Ari’el settlement and steal the lands of the citizens adjacent to it.
There are 18 Palestinian communities in Salfit compared to 24 Israeli settlements between residential and industrial areas. The percentage of lands allocated for Palestinian construction in the province is only about 6% of the total area while 9% are allocated for the Israeli settlers.
Ari’el is considered one of the largest settlements in the West Bank and it was built on thousands of dunums of Palestinians’ lands.
Salfit is choking from the large number of settlements and industrial zones on its lands, as they exceed the number of villages and towns of the city.
There are nearly 700,000 Israeli settlers living in 256 illegal settlements and outposts scattered across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.
(Source / 16.11.2021)