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Settlers torch farmland south of Nablus

May 30, 2011 8:35 P.M. (Updated: June 1, 2011 10:11 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Villagers south of Nablus said dozens of settlers set fire to plots of farm lands near Madama on Monday, a PA official said.

Settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlus told Ma'an that Madama residents believed the settlers were from the nearby illegal residential community of Yitzhar.

Village official Ihab Al-Qett said Palestinian fire crews were able to access the area and put out fires before significant damage was done.

The vandalism comes hours after a conflict between Israeli forces and settlers in the Nablus area, during a settler visit to an area believed by some Jewish groups to be Joseph's Tomb.

During the visit, around 50 settlers barricaded themselves inside the West Bank city, and an army spokesman said confrontations erupted between the settlers and Israeli soldiers trying to evacuate them.

On Sunday afternoon, an Israeli military investigation chastised Palestinian police who had fired on a group of settlers in April, after they illegally entered the Nablus area to visit the tomb.

One man was shot and taken to a medical center in a nearby settlement.

The Israeli military found the police fire at the settler group "unwarranted," and said the officers had intended to inflict harm.
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