Israeli settlers chopped down 36 olive trees in the South Hebron Hills, on Friday, said Italian peace group Operation Dove, in a press release.The group said that, on the morning of February 20, Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills awoke to find that 36 olive trees had been cut or seriously damaged during the night, probably by Israeli settlers.

It was added that the 25-year-old trees, owned by Hushiya family from Yatta, were located near the village of Qawawis, in the South Hebron Hills, between the Israeli illegal outpost of Mitzpe Yair and the settlement of Suseya, beside Bypass Road 317.

The group described the incident as the third-of-its-kind “price tag vandalism” committed by settlers, against the Palestinian inhabitants of the South Hebron Hills, in the last two months.

It added that, on January 9, in the same area between the Bypass Road 317 and the Suseya settlement, Palestinians discovered that nearly 200 olive trees had been cut on their property and that, on December 31, two settlers threw a molotov cocktail into a Palestinian house in Ad Deirat village.

Palestinian residents of the South Hebron hills have suffered from the presence of Israeli settlers since the 70s. By occupying Palestinian agricultural lands and destroying Palestinian olive trees, crops and property, the settlers seek to deprive the Palestinians of their main livelihood. Ongoing settler violence deprives Palestinian families of security in daily life, and restricts their freedom of movement.

Despite attempts by settlers to force them from the area through violence and intimidation, the Palestinian communities of the South Hebron Hills remain strong in their commitment to nonviolent popular resistance against the Israeli occupation.

WAFA further reports that, on Saturday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian children playing in snow in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, in central Hebron city, injuring a 10-year-old, according to one of the children’s parents.

They said that settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Ramat Yishai in Tel Rumeida, protected by Israeli soldiers, attacked a group of children playing with snow in a brutal manner, injuring 10-year-old Salih Abu Shamsyeh.

The child sustained injuries and bruises throughout his body and was transferred to hospital for medical treatment. His condition was described as stable.

See: ‘Israeli Settlement’