Some 120 olive trees were heavily damaged in the West Bank overnight Saturday in three separate incidents, with equipment used in olive picking stolen in one location. The damage, which entailed branches being sawed off the trees, occurred in the fields of the Palestinian villages of As-Sawiya, near Nablus, close to the settlement of Rehelim, and near Yasuf, which is in the Salfit area, close to the settlement of Tapuach.
The police said a complaint had been filed and that an investigation was opened regarding the incident at Yasuf.
Every year, during the olive picking season, there is an increased incidence of olive tree destruction in Palestinian villages in the West Bank.
One of the landowners whose trees were destroyed, Issam Abdullah from Yasuf, told Haaretz that he discovered the damage when he came to his plot in the morning. He noted that the olive-laden trees were 100 years old. Moreover, he said, his equipment had been stolen. "They even stole my ladder," he said. "They didn’t leave anything." He said his plot wasn’t that close to Tapuach and that he doesn’t have to coordinate his working days with the army.
According to the human rights group Yesh Din, 42 trees were destroyed near the village of Burin, near Nablus, which is close to the settlements of Har Bracha and Yitzhar.
Last month Jewish settlers assaulted Palestinian farmers, wounding three, at an olive grove near the village of Burin in the West Bank, according to witnesses and the Red Crescent. Witnesses said the settlers attacked the farmers while they were harvesting olives, and also damaged the grove.
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