Israeli colonial settlers, in the town of Huwwara, to the south of Nablus, torched approximately 100 olive trees on Wednesday, according to local activist Ghassan Douglas.WAFA correspondence reports that a number of settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of ‘Yitzhar’ set fire to around 100 olive trees belonging to the Khamoos and Salim families, said Douglas, who is in charge of the settlements file at the Palestinian Authority, in the northern part of the West Bank.
Confrontations reportedly erupted between settlers and land owners who were harvesting their olive trees at the time; no injuries were reported.
Settlers target Palestinians each year during the olive harvesting season, either by destroying their cops, attacking farmers or by preventing them from accessing their land.
Such attacks are aimed at further disenfranchising and disposessing Palestinians from their land, in order to make way for increasing illegal settlement expansion.
The Permanent Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, this past Monday, stated that the Israeli government is responsible for all crimes committed by colonial settlers in the occupied Palestinian territorities, including East Jerusalem.
The statement came as head of the mission, Riyad Mansour, sent identical letters to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, the President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly on Israeli Settlers terrorism against Palestinian people:
“On a nearly daily basis, Israeli settlers continue with their terror rampages, persisting with attacks on Palestinian civilians, destruction of properties, and theft of land and natural resources,” said Mansour, referring to the deliberate killing of 4-year-old Inas Dar Khalil, a Palestinian kindergartener who was killed Saturday, after an Israel settler ran over her with his car near Ramallah.
“It should also be mentioned, that this so-called ‘hit and run’ accident has become a reoccurring deadly practice by Israeli settlers against the Palestinian civilian population,” noted Mansour.
In his letter, Mansour further addressed similar “hit-and-run” incidents carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians.
The Palestinian diplomat also referenced the continuing Israeli incitement and provocative actions against holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem, the most recent of which involved violent confrontations which erupted following a provocative visit by the Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Moshe Feiglin.
Mansour called on Israel to “hold the perpetrators of such crimes accountable and to act to avert the continuation of these criminal, provocative attacks, which are aggravating tension and religious sensitivities between the two sides, further stoking anger and rage and deepening mistrust.”
Such acts of settler provocation are often overlooked and even facilitated by Israeli authorities, in addition to their own violations against the Palestinian people, who now make up the largest refugee group in the entire world, according to UN statistics.
WAFA further reports that, in the occupied West Bank, on Wednesday, Israeli forces arrested eight Palestinians in the districts of Jenin and Hebron, as well as five fishermen offshore the coasts of Gaza, according to local and security sources.
In Jenin, Israeli forces conducted invasions into several areas in the region, where they abducted two Palestinians aged 19 and 20 from the town of Araba, following a search raid on their homes. The two have been identified as Jaafar and Fawzi Abu Salah.
Two others were also taken from Jenin City. They were identified as 20-year-old Mu’min Arqawi, who was kidnapped from his house after it was ransacked by soldiers during another raid. The other, one Fuad al-Sayyid, age 40, was reportedly detained for several hours before being released.
Later on Wednesday, the army took Ahmad Abu Zaid, 24, and Bashar al-Qasrawi, 21, after raiding their houses in Jenin, while 50-year-old Isam Hammad was abducted from the nearby town of Arraba, after Israeli soldiers broke into his house.
Israeli soldiers additionally stormed the town of Zababdeh, to the south of Jenin, where they stationed military vehicles in its streets, raided and searched two houses before arresting one Ahmad Sharqawi.
To the west of Jenin, in the village of Zaboba, forces stormed the village while firing tear gas and sound bombs in the direction of local residents, causing many cases of suffocation. No arrests were reported, however.
In occupied Hebron, forces kidnapped Mohammad Sbatin, 21 years old, from the village of Hosan, to the west of Bethlehem, while he was trying to enter Jerusalem for work, under the pretext that he was trying to enter without a permit.
WAFA notes that Palestinians require permits to enter the city of Jerusalem, either for work or for leisure. Israeli authorities rarely issue such permits, forcing Palestinians to search for alternative ways to enter the city.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces additionally raided and searched several homes in the town of Taqou, to the east of Bethlehem, though no arrests were reported.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli naval boats abducted five Palestinian fishermen from the Bakir family as they fished offshore of al-Sodaniyeh, to the northwest of Gaza City. Thedetainees were identified as Majed, the father, his three sons; Omar, Faris, Fadi, and their cousin Ahmad.
Israeli forces target Gaza fishermen on a near-daily basis, even despite recent ceasefire agreements between Palestinian resistance and the Israeli military which call for expansion of the 6 nautical mile limit for fishing in the Gaza Sea.