Olive trees uprooted (archive image)

A group of right-wing Israeli settlers invaded the village of Hares, in the central West Bank, on Friday, and uprooted a dozen olive trees belonging to a local Palestinian farmer.

The attack came in the wake of two straight days of violent assaults by rampaging right-wing Israelis throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank. Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured in the ongoing wave of attacks.

The settlers came from an illegal colonial outpost they had recently established on land belonging to Palestinians. They invaded the olive groves, where Palestinian farmers have tended their ancestral groves of trees for hundreds of years, and uprooted a number of trees before leaving the area without any repercussions for their actions.

The trees belonged to Aisha Mahmoud Qasem, a local Palestinian citizen. Since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, Israeli paramilitary settlers and soldiers have uprooted or burned more than one million Palestinian olive trees.

Olive trees are a key component of the Palestinian economy, and of the Palestinian cultural heritage, in which olive branches are extended as symbols of peace, and olive oil is a staple of many Palestinian foods.