Hebron – Ma'an – Israeli settlers opened a sewage pipe running toward the Hebron-area town of Beit Ummar on Wednesday night, flooding a Palestinian vineyard with wastewater, local officials said.
By opening the sewage pipe, residents of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc destroyed some 70,000 square meters of the vineyard belonging to the Sabarneh family, experts visiting the site said.
The land, in the Wad Shakhat area of northern Beit Ummar, was ruined by the flood of sewage, along with the crop after it was contaminated by the untreated wastewater, land experts who arrived at the scene along with the village mayor said.
An Israeli Civil Administration representative confirmed the incident, saying a pump from the Kfar Etzion settlement stopped working due to a power malfunction and sewage overflowed from the network. The official said the matter was a mistake, and as soon as the Beit Ummar governor notified officials of the issue the problem was rectified.
Military officials said compensation for the mistake would likely have to be sought in court.
Residents of Beit Ummar said the mayor informed Israel's Civil Administration office of the incident, and that he asked Israeli police to investigate what was behind the disaster.
"As far as I know, the mayor of Kfar Etzion called and apologized," the Civil Administration representative said.