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Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian agricultural lands near Nablus

June 23, 2016 10:23 P.M. (Updated: June 26, 2016 6:35 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers set fire to dozens of dunams of Palestinian agricultural lands on Thursday afternoon near the Qabalan junction south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, locals said.

Abd al-Khaliq Salih, a resident of the nearby al-Sawiya village told Ma'an that several settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Rachalim near the village set fire to dozens of dunams of farmlands in the al-Tulma area which is owned by people from al-Sawiya, and is located near Qabalan junction.

Salih said large parts of the surrounding area quickly caught fire due to the heat, causing dozens more olive trees and other trees to burn.

He added that Palestinian firefighters were prevented from getting to the area by Israeli settlers.

Residents of Nablus and its surrounding villages are accustomed to various acts of violence from ultra-religious Israeli settlers, who regularly set fire to Palestinian agricultural lands under the protection of armed Israeli soldiers.

Some 12 illegal settlements and 27 settlement outposts are located in the Nablus district, housing around 23,000 of the "most extremist settlers in the Palestinian territory," which results in frequent violence between settlers, who often set fire to Palestinian agricultural land, and local Palestinians.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there has been a total of 49 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the start of 2016, and a total of 221 attacks in 2015.

There are some 600,000 Israeli settlers residing in 196 illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, and a further 232 settler outposts considered illegal both by international law and Israeli domestic law, according to the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ).

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