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Settlers set fire to olive trees near Nablus

June 4, 2014 9:48 P.M. (Updated: June 22, 2014 2:25 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers set fire to dozens of olive trees in the Palestinian villages of Farata and Immatin west of Nablus on Wednesday, a local official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activities in the West Bank, told Ma'an that "a number of settlers from the Havat Gilad settlement burned dozens of trees and the fire spread in the area" in a targeted attack on local villagers.

Daghlas also told Ma'an that "Palestinian civil defense was trying to reach the area to put out the fire."

Havat Gilad ("Gilad's Farm") is a small Jewish outpost located on a main road just east of a large settlement block, while the two villages are caught between the two.

Havat Gilad settlers frequently attack local villages, torching cars, hurling rocks, and destroying olive trees, the economic mainstay of many area villages.

In 2013, there were 399 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Over 90 percent of investigations into settler violence by Israeli police fail to lead to an indictment.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

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