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Israeli settlers chop down 150 olive trees near Ramallah

May 1, 2019 12:52 P.M. (Updated: May 3, 2019 11:59 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers chopped down at least 150 olive trees in Palestinian agricultural lands in the Burqa village, east of the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, on Wednesday.

According to local sources, heavily armed Israeli forces provided protection to Israeli settlers from a neighboring illegal settlement outpost as they stormed Palestinian lands and chopped down more than 150 olive trees.

Sources added that the olive trees belonged to the Palestinian residents of Burqa village.

One of the olive tree owners, Ibrahim Kanaan, told Ma'an that the Israeli settlers attempted to assault him while he was working in his land two days ago, forcing him to flee for his life.

More than 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.

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem reported that Israeli settlers' vandalism in the occupied West Bank is a daily routine and is fully backed by Israeli authorities.

"In just over two months, from the beginning of May to 7 July 2018, B'Tselem documented 10 instances in which settlers destroyed a total of more than 2,000 trees and grapevines and burned down a barley field and bales of hay," B'Tselem said in its report.

The report added "Settler violence and vandalism takes place with full backing by the Israeli authorities. Sometimes soldiers take part in the assault; at other times, they stand idly by. The police makes no substantial effort to investigate the incidents, nor takes measures to prevent them or stop them in real time."

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