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Israeli settlers chop down dozens of olive trees near Ramallah

Jan. 18, 2019 12:34 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 20, 2019 11:57 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers chopped down 40 Palestinian-owned olive trees, on Friday, in the al-Mughayyir village in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.

According to local sources, the residents of al-Mughayyir village were shocked as they arrived to their lands to find dozens of olive trees chopped down.

Sources mentioned that the village faces increased attacks carried out by Israeli settlers, such as running over flocks of sheep, uprooting of trees, seizure of land, and burning local mosques.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), "Olive-based livelihoods in many areas of the West Bank are undermined by Israeli settlers who uproot and vandalize olive trees, and by intimidation and the physical assaults on farmers during the harvest itself."

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem reported that Israeli settlers' vandalism in the occupied West Bank is a daily routine and is fully backed by Israeli authorities.

"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 said in its report.

The report added "Settler violence and vandalism takes place with full backing by the Israeli authorities. Sometimes soldiers take part in the assault; at other times, they stand idly by. The police makes no substantial effort to investigate the incidents, nor takes measures to prevent them or stop them in real time."

"Israel benefits from the repercussions, as settler violence has gradually dispossessed Palestinians of more and more areas in the West Bank, paving the way for a state takeover of land and resources."

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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