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Israeli forces arrest man for planting trees near Qalqiliya

March 7, 2014 4:51 P.M. (Updated: March 8, 2014 10:38 P.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Friday afternoon detained a young man while he was planting an olive sapling east of Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, locals said.

Alaa Issa al-Dweiri, 20, was detained and taken to an unknown destination while he was participating in a campaign to plant olive saplings on Palestinian lands in Izbet at Tabib under threat of confiscation by Israeli authorities.

Head of the village’s local council Bayan al-Tabib demanded the release of al-Dweiri and called upon international organization to help secure his release.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that one Palestinian was "briefly detained" for questioning, but had no information regarding the reason for his detention.

At the time of his detention, al-Dweiri was participating in an olive sapling planting campaign alongside activists from the Palestinian People party and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Campaigns to plant olive trees and saplings come as a response to frequent attacks by Israeli settlers on trees in the region as well as the threat of land confiscation by authorities to expand nearby Israeli settlements.

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.
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