Israeli settlers uprooted dozens of Palestinian-owned olive trees on Wednesday, in the village of Turmusayya, north of the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.
Locals said that Israeli settlers from the illegal settlements of Adi Ad and Amichai, which were built on lands belongings to the residents of Turmusayya village, uprooted 40 olive trees.
Ma’an News Agency sources confirmed that the uprooted olive trees belonged to local Mahmoud al-Araj.
Israeli settlers constantly harass Palestinian farmers and residents in the village, in the attempt to force them out of their lands, as part of an Israeli plan to expand illegal settlements nearby.
For hundreds of Palestinian families, olive trees are the main source of income, however when harvest season approaches, Israeli settlers target Palestinian lands and cause severe economic damages.
According to a report by Israeli NGO B’Tselem, Israeli settlers’ vandalism in the occupied West Bank is a daily routine and is fully backed by Israeli authorities.
B’Tselem reported that “In just over two months, from the beginning of May to 7 July 2018, B’Tselem documented 10 instances in which settlers destroyed a total of more than 2,000 trees and grapevines and burned down a barley field and bales of hay.”
B’Tselem also argues that, under the guise of a “temporary military occupation,” Israel has been “using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the areaâ€™s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements,” estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.
Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.