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Israeli forces level lands, trees in Hebron-area village

Oct. 5, 2016 6:33 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 22, 2016 2:07 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces reportedly leveled 36 dunams (8.9 acres) of Palestinian lands planted with olive and prunus trees on Wednesday in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, locals said.

A member of the popular committee of the village of Beit Ula, Kamal Frash, told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozers leveled 30 dunams (7.4 acres) planted with olive trees, owned by the al-Sarahin family in the Wad al-Raqaqi area of Beit Ula.

Frash added that Israeli bulldozers also leveled 6 dunams (1.5 acres) planted with prunus trees more than 12 years old in the nearby area of Tawas.

When contacted for comment on the case, a spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma’an that “enforcement measures were carried out against an individual trespassing state land, after warrants were issued before carrying out such enforcement measures.”

In September, Israeli forces leveled 40 dunams of Palestinian land, uprooted more than 800 trees, and “soiled” two wells in the area of Beit Ula.

Local committee coordinator Issa al-Emla said at the time that Israeli forces regularly level land, declaring them "state lands" through military decrees, without notifying the landowners, so that the Palestinian landowners won’t be able to appeal to Israeli courts against the orders.

Since the start of 2016, at least 769 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished by Israeli forces, leaving at least 1,097 Palestinians displaced, according to UN documentation.

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