Hebron (QNN)- Extremist Israeli settlers on Thursday uprooted and vandalized over 350 Olive trees in Palestinian-owned lands in Masafer Yatta and Tarqumiyah in Hebron in the occupied West Bank.
Local residents said that extremist Israeli settlers who came from the illegal settlement outpost of Avigayil in the Southern Hebron Hills destroyed a one-donum-and-a-half land planted with over 60 olive trees, aged four years, belonging to Palestinian resident Ahmad Hamada.
In Tarqumiyah town, the settlers uprooted 300 olive saplings belonging to Palestinian resident Atta Ja‘afra and his brother, Aziz.
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.
There are over 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.
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.
(Source / 23.12.2021)