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Settlers chop down olive trees south of Nablus

Nov. 12, 2009 8:56 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 13, 2009 11:18 A.M.)
Nablus – Ma’an – Several Israeli settlers cut down dozens of olive trees in the West Bank village of Burin village south of Nablus on Thursday morning, a local official reported.

Ghassan Douglas, who holds the settlement portfolio for the northern West Bank, said that a number of settlers from the Yitzhar colony destroyed 81 olive trees on the property of Akram Amran. He said he considered the destruction "provocative and unacceptable."

Israeli sources quoted Palestinians saying as many as 97 trees were chopped down. Amram told the English-language news agency Ynet that at around 5:30am he had discovered 97 uprooted olive trees.

"I am not embarrassed to admit that when I discovered the massacre which took place on my land, I cried," he said, according to the news source. "These trees are more than 60 years old and I raised them just like I raised my kids."

Ynet, the English-language version of the Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, also reported that the damages were reported to the Coordination and Liaison Authority, and that Israeli representatives arrived to investigate.

"We didn’t see them because they must have infiltrated the area in the night, but no one else could have done this," he was quoted as saying by the news agency, which added that in July, 22 olive trees were cut down in the same area as part of the settlers' "price tag" policy, in which they punish local Palestinians for the Israeli army's evacuation of illegal settlement outposts.

"It was very difficult. I nearly collapsed. My family members have been raising these trees for almost 50 years, and seeing them disappear in one night is not easy," Amram said, according to Ynet.
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