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Israeli settlers damage olive trees near Ramallah-area village

Jan. 18, 2017 8:33 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2017 5:32 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli settlers damaged olive trees belonging to Palestinians near the village of Turmusayya in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Wednesday.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that 12 trees were damaged, and that the perpetrators had graffitied slogans in Hebrew on nearby rocks, which notably called for “revenge.”

Al-Samri added that Israeli police had opened an investigation into the case.

Settlers often carry out attacks on Palestinians and their property, known as “price tag attacks.”

Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

According to Israeli NGO Yesh Din, over 85 percent of investigations into violence committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians are closed without indictments and only 1.9 percent of complaints submitted by Palestinians against Israeli settler attacks result in a conviction.

Yesh Din spokesperson Gilad Grossman told Ma’an in May -- ahead of the release of a Jewish extremist arrested in the wake of a deadly arson attack that killed three members of the Palestinian Dawabsha family in the occupied West Bank last summer -- that the dearth of adequate policing by Israeli forces in the West Bank is largely due to lack of ability as well as unwillingness to address ideologically-motivated crimes against Palestinians.

Attacks by settlers are often carried out under the armed protection of Israeli forces who rarely make efforts to protect Palestinians from such attacks.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2016.
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