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Settlers uproot hundreds of trees near Ramallah

Jan. 22, 2014 2:54 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 24, 2014 4:55 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers uprooted over 600 recently planted olive and almond saplings in a village north of Ramallah on Wednesday, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that a group of settlers from Givat Ariel and Maale Levona uprooted newly planted saplings in the village of Sinjil.

Daghlas said Israeli police opened an investigation into the incident.

The saplings were planted by the International Committee of the Red Cross to support Palestinian farmers, Daghlas said.

More than 70 families would have benefited from the trees, he added.

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.

Since 1967, more than 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.

The olive industry supports the livelihoods of roughly 80,000 families in the occupied West Bank.

Over 90 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians regarding settler violence are closed by Israeli authorities without an indictment, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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