NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Palestinians seeking to protect themselves and their properties from Israeli settler attacks have begun using animal traps, sources say.
In response to recurring raids by local Israeli settlers targeting Palestinian homes and agricultural areas, farmers in villages around Nablus have began to use an old method to protect their fields.
Farmers in villages south of Nablus have begun laying animal traps, hoping to catch marauding settlers who attack their fields, chop olive trees, and burn down crops during the night.
Settlers are permitted by Israeli occupation authorities to carry guns, a privilege not afforded Palestinians. Thus, Palestinians are often helpless to prevent armed settlers from attacking their lands.
The raids are a common tactic used by settlers to force farmers off their fields and confiscate the lands to build more Jewish-only settlements in the Palestinian West Bank.
Sources told Ma'an that the traps being set for Israeli settlers were historically used primarily for hunting deer and pigs.
According to a 2012 report on Israeli settler violence released by the Palestine Center, a Washington-based nonprofit, every year the olive harvest period sees the highest peak in attacks on Palestinian civilians and property.
In 2012, there were 353 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Over 7,500 olive trees were damaged or destroyed by settlers between January and mid-October in 2012, according to OCHA.
More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.