In a blatant act of unprovoked vandalism, the Israeli military bulldozed large swathes of Palestinian agricultural land in the occupied West Bank while uprooting scores of olive trees and destroying water wells, according to local media.
Israeli authorities ordered troops to destroy 300 olive trees in Palestinian farmlands, as reported by the Palestine Chronicle.
Olives are perhaps the most well-known and abundant Palestinian product, with trees lining valleys and terraced hillsides throughout the occupied West Bank. The first rains after the hot summer months are the signal for farmers to begin harvesting their crop, but it can come with risks.
Jewish settlers continue to destroy Palestinian olive groves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. More than 7,000 Palestinian-owned trees were vandalized in 2018, according to the U.N. In the whole of 2017, it was less than 6,000, the year before only 1,600.
In many places, Palestinian farmers say they face intimidation and violence from nearby settlers and call in support from foreign and Israeli supporters, including Jewish rabbis, to protect them and their crops.Rights groups also charge that Palestinian crops have long been vandalized by settlers without any serious effort by the authorities to stop it. Around 400,000 Israelis live in settlements that dot the West Bank and range in size from large towns to tiny hamlets.
The international community regards all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories to be illegal and a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East. The area, captured by Israel in 1967, is not sovereign Israeli territory, and Palestinians living there are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote. Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank are frequently targeted by extremist Jewish settlers. Israeli daily Haaretz recently reported that settler attacks on West Bank Palestinians had tripled in 2018, with at least 482 separate attacks recorded last year, up from 140 attacks in 2017. According to the newspaper, attacks ranged from assaulting Palestinians and vandalizing their property to cutting down trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.
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