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3rd attack in 3 days: Settlers chop down 170 olive trees near Nablus

Jan. 11, 2015 4:51 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 12, 2015 8:52 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers tore down more than 170 olive trees in the village of Yasuf south of Nablus on Sunday, the third such attack in the West Bank in three days.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that settlers from the illegal Tappuah settlement in the northern West Bank completely chopped down more than 170 ancient olive trees in the village.

The attack took place in private Palestinian groves located nearby the settlement's perimeter fence.

The destroyed trees were reportedly "Roman," a term used in Arabic to describe olive trees with huge trunks that are known to be at least hundreds of years old.

The attack came only two days after settlers south of Hebron carried out two different operations that destroyed around 345 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.

The first attack occurred Friday in the daytime in the Shaab al-Butm area near Yatta.

The second took place under the cover of night during a winter storm close to the notoriously violent Jewish-only settlement of Susiya, also on Friday.

Attacks on olive trees are a key way that Palestinians are forced out of their homes and their lands confiscated for settlement construction, as the loss of a year's crop can signal destitution for many.

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

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.

There were at least 329 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2014, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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