Israeli settlers from the Immanuel settlement uprooted some 450 olive trees and saplings from lands in Deir Istiya, northern Salfit, on Tuesday.Mayor of Deir Istiya Amal Qouqash told Ma’an News Agency that farmers were surprised that the trees had been uprooted as they went to farm their lands near the illegal settlement.
The Immanuel settlement was built on lands belonging to residents of Deir Istiya, according to researcher Khalid Maal, who told Ma’an that ‘the settlement is near the Wadi Qana area which settlers aim to have complete control over.’
Wadi Qana is located inside an Israeli settlement bloc and located in an area within the ‘seam zone,’ cut off from all other Palestinian villages in the region.
Surrounded on all sides by Jewish-only settlements, Israeli authorities have long designated Wadi Qana a natural reserve. Such designation prevents Palestinian farming in the area as well as construction, while providing legitimization for Israeli forces to legally uproot Palestinian-owned olive trees. Israeli forces uprooted 120 olive trees in Wadi Qana earlier this month, having delivered orders to the farmers to evacuate their lands more than three weeks prior, farmers told Ma’an at the time.
Since 1967, approximately 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank, according to a joint report by the Palestinian Authority and the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem.
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