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Israeli forces uproot dozens of fruit trees in northern West Bank

Sept. 20, 2017 10:49 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 21, 2017 11:47 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces have uprooted dozens of fruit trees and leveled Palestinian land west of Nablus city in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem.

Tareq Hazzaa, the owner of the land, told Ma’an on Tuesday that a bulldozer escorted by Israeli Civil Administration forces razed more than 50 fig and lemon trees that were bearing fruit, and was told the works were undertaken to expand the main Nablus-Tulkarem road near the Beit Lid crossroads and to create a roundabout in the area.

Hazzaa said that about two dunams (0.5 acres) were leveled out of his four-dunam piece of land.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Civil Administration, the military body that imposes Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank -- told Ma'an that the "recently planted seedlings constitute a safety hazard due to their proximity to the Beit Lid junction, which constitutes as a traffic route in which infrastructure work is being carried out these days."

Due to this, the spokesperson said, the civil administration "carried out enforcement activities against planting the seedlings."

Israeli forces and settlers regularly attack olive and fruit trees in a bid to oust Palestinian farmers from their land, and a loss of a year's crops can cause destitution for farming families.

Beit Lid is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement Einav, and hundreds of fruit trees have been uprooted in the area over the years on land confiscated from the Palestinian village for development of the settlement.

All building and development of Palestinian land must be approved by Israeli authorities in the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank classified as Area C under the Oslo Accords, where Israel has full military and civil control.

As a result of rarely-approved permits, Palestinian residents are forced to build structures without permits, which are liable to be torn down later by Israeli forces.

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