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Israeli settlers destroy 1000 tree saplings in West Bank village

Jan. 13, 2019 1:36 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 15, 2019 11:56 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- A group of Israeli settlers destroyed about 1,000 tree saplings, on Sunday afternoon, in Burqa village, west of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Homish stormed an area east of Burqa village and destroyed hundreds of tree saplings.

Daghlas mentioned that the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and Burqa’s local council cooperated to cultivate the 1,000 tree saplings in the village, in order to transform the land into a nature reserve.

According to a report by Israeli NGO B'Tselem, Israeli settlers' vandalism in the occupied West Bank is a daily routine and is fully backed by Israeli authorities.

B'Tselem reported that "In just over two months, from the beginning of May to 7 July 2018, B'Tselem documented 10 instances in which settlers destroyed a total of more than 2,000 trees and grapevines and burned down a barley field and bales of hay."

B'Tselem also argued that under the guise of a "temporary military occupation," Israel has been "using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements," estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

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