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Israeli forces cut down 100 olive trees in Jenin village

Nov. 14, 2013 12:01 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 14, 2013 7:26 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli military forces on Thursday cut down 100 olive trees in the Jenin town of Yabad, despite a petition by landowners against the decision, a local official said.

Yabad mayor Samer Abu Baker said that Israeli soldiers arrived overnight to cut down the trees, which are located near the illegal settlement of Mevo Dotan.

Israeli forces also set up a checkpoint in the Wadi al-Asal area and closed the Yabad Mevo Dotan checkpoint.

The destruction of the olive trees will cause severe financial losses to the owners, who earn their living from the olive harvest, the mayor said.

Last Saturday, families in Yabad woke up to find their olive trees covered in Israeli military signs in Hebrew and English announcing the army's intention to chop down their olive orchards.

Abu Baker told Ma'an that Israeli forces had threatened to uproot the trees if any further incidents of rock-throwing at Israeli troops occurred in the area.

On Wednesday, Abu Baker said that Yabad town had petitioned Israel's supreme court against the plans to destroy the trees, which are owned by over 70 residents.

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

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