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Settlers destroy 55 olive trees near Nablus

March 16, 2014 4:42 P.M. (Updated: March 17, 2014 3:57 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers destroyed dozens of olive trees in the northern West Bank district of Nablus on Sunday, an official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that settlers raided the village of Jalud and sprayed over 55 olive trees with toxic chemicals, killing them.

The trees -- which were located in the al-Bayyadha area on the east side of the village -- belonged to Abd al-Ghani Ahmad Hajj Muhammad and Muhammad Ismail Hajj Muhammad, Daghlas said.

He added that the settlers came from the nearby Israeli settlement outpost of Esh Kodesh.

In January, villagers in the Qusra and Jalud area managed to apprehend a group of settlers who had attempted to attack them and their property, holding them for several hours in a house.

The settlers, who were also from the illegal outpost of Esh Kodesh, were later transferred to Israeli security forces after the villagers called PA liaison officials.

Settler attacks against Palestinians and their property are routine and often happen in the presence of Israeli military forces.

Israeli authorities rarely investigate crimes carried out by settlers against Palestinian communities.

Since 1967, approximately 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted in the occupied West Bank, according to a joint report by the Palestinian Authority and the Applied Research Institute -- Jerusalem.

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