Olive picking with IDF protection
Olive picking with IDF protection in Karnei Shomron in the West Bank. Photo by Daniel Bar-On
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Palestinian villagers in the northern West Bank accused Jewish settlers of destroying dozens of olive trees on Thursday.

Israel Defense Forces officials confirmed on Thursday that vandals chopped down at least 150 trees in the village of Qusra, which was the site of recent clashes between residents and hardline settlers.

Mayor Hani Abu Reideh laid the blame on Esh Kadosh, a nearby settler outpost. The residents in Esh Kodesh denied involvement.

Tension between the West Bank settlement and nearby Palestinian village has been rising in recent weeks, with several violent incidents reported.

Last month, a violent West Bank altercation between settlers and Palestinians resulted in two people wounded.

The incident occurred near the West Bank settlement of Shilo, as a group of settlers from Esh Kodesh reportedly set out on a hike near the Palestinian village of Qusra when a conflict began with a few of the residents of the villages. It was not yet clear who started the incident.

Two weeks prior to that incident, a Qusra mosque was set on fire, hours after Israeli police officers destroyed three illegal structures in the settlement outpost of Migron.
According to Palestinian sources, a group of settlers arrived at the village mosque at approximately 3 A.M., threw burning tires toward it, and broke several of its windows.