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PA official: Settlers burn 300 olive trees near Nablus

June 15, 2013 6:10 P.M. (Updated: June 18, 2013 8:57 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- A group of settlers set fire to over 300 olive trees on Saturday in a Nablus village, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settlement activities, told Ma'an that settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad set fire to olive trees in the Nablus village of Imatin.

The blaze destroyed over 300 trees and the settlers threw stones at Palestinian villagers who were attempting to put out the fire, Daghlas said.

Israeli forces arrived at the scene and prevented firefighters from accessing the fire due to the clashes, the PA official added.

Nablus governor Jibrin al-Bakri said Sunday that settlers have destroyed over 2,500 Palestinian olive trees in the Nablus area since the beginning of June.

In 2011, Oxfam and local organizations calculated that settler violence against olive trees and agricultural land cost Palestinian farmers an estimated $500,000.

Since 1967, 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted resulting in a loss of around $55 million to the Palestinian economy, according to a report by the PA Ministry of National Economy and the Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem.
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