Palestinian farmers from the village of Qawawis in the South Hebron Hills discovered Thursday morning that about 3 tons of wheat they had recently harvested were set on fire in what they suspect may have been an attack by settlers from a nearby outpost.
The farmers reached their fields at around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday morning to discover the wheat burning on their property, close to the Israeli-only road 316 and the nearby settler outpost of Mitzpe Yair, the Italian group Operation Dove said in a statement.
The wheat had been harvested only the day before and was collected in a pile on the field.
Activists from Operation Dove arrived on the scene at 5:00 a.m., by which time Israeli police and soldiers had also arrived with a fireman, who only began extinguishing the fire about 15 minutes later, according to the group. Local residents later filed a complaint with Israeli authorities in the Kiryat Arba police station.
The village of Qawawis is located in an area under direct Israeli military control and is surrounded by some of the most reportedly violent outposts in the West Bank.
Settlers from Mitzpe Yair have frequently attempted to prevent Palestinians from nearby communities from farming on their land, and the outpost itself is built on land illegally confiscated from a local villager.