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Israeli settlers uproot grape seedlings on Palestinian land near Bethlehem

March 16, 2017 10:36 P.M. (Updated: March 19, 2017 7:16 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers on Thursday uprooted dozens of grape seedlings and destroyed part of a grape arbor in the town of al-Khader in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem.

Coordinator of a local popular resistance committee Ahmad Salah told Ma’an that Israeli settlers uprooted 90 grape seedlings belonging to Nader Salah Abd al-Salam and destroyed part of his grape arbor in the Khilet al-Fahm area that is surrounded by the illegal Israeli Eliazar and Daniel settlements.

A spokesperson for Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the agency responsible for enforcing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, was not immediately available for comment.

Israeli settlers commonly attack Palestinians and their properties, particularly in Palestinian villages in the West Bank close to Israel's illegal settlements. Settlers are very rarely reprimanded by Israeli authorities for such attacks, which they often carry out in the presence of armed Israeli forces.

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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