On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers uprooted at least fifty olive trees in Palestinian orchards in the Zawiya town, west of Salfit, in the central West Bank.

Anees Shqeir, the deputy mayor of Salfit, said the soldiers started uprooting the Palestinian orchards near the town’s northern entrance.

He stated that the uprooting of the orchards is part of a water network project run by Mekorot Israeli national water company aiming at installing water pipelines between the illegal Ariel colony in the east and Elkana northwest of az-Zawiya.

The project, destroying and devastating the Palestinian orchards, is only meant to serve the illegal, segregated Israeli colonies built on stolen lands, in direct violation of International Law.

The official added that the Israeli colonialist project would destroy and uproot at least 40 Dunams of Palestinian orchards and farmlands.

All of Israel’s colonies in the occupied West Bank, including those in and around occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention in addition to various United Nations and Security Council resolutions. They also constitute war crimes under International Law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”.