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Palestine: Israeli settlers destroy Palestinian olive trees, raze farmland in W Bank

30th Jun 2021
Palestine: Israeli settlers destroy Palestinian olive trees, raze farmland in W Bank

By Mohamed Ghafri

 

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA): Israeli settlers on Tuesday cut down dozens of olive trees and set Palestinian agricultural areas alight in the occupied West Bank, locals said. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities demolished a butcher shop in Al-Bustan in occupied East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Wadih Alqam, the mayor of the town of Turmus Aya near the city of Ramallah, said the settlers cut down about 75 olive trees in the al-Sahl area near the Adi and Shilo settlements.

Alqam said the settlers also burned a room made of tin, wood and solar-powered lighting units of a local factory.

The settlers also stole a water pump and electric wires around a barn, owned by Hashem Ahmad Hamoud.

In the northern West Bank, settlers also set fire to agricultural lands in the town of Burin in southern Nablus province.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told the official Palestinian News Agency WAFA that settlers set fire to acres of agricultural land in the area, which is adjacent to the settlement Yitzhar.

“The occupation forces prevented the residents and civil defense crews from reaching the place, which led to the burning of dozens of trees,” Daghlas said.

Meanwhile, the residents of Al-Bustan area in occupied East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood are at risk of being forcibly displaced from their homes, the Norwegian Refugee Council warned, after the Israeli authorities commenced demolitions in the area Tuesday.

Sparking protests, the Israeli authorities demolished a butcher shop in Al-Bustan on the pretext that it did not have a building permit. The Rajabi family owns the property that houses the shop. At least 13 people were injured as the police deployed force to disperse protestors. Now 15 families in Al-Bustan are at imminent risk of losing their properties.

“Israeli authorities must immediately stop forcibly displacing people and demolishing their homes and property,” said Caroline Ort, Norwegian Refugee Council’s Palestine country director. “Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has an obligation to protect civilians under its occupation and to refrain from destroying private property.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israeli authorities on Tuesday to put an end to ongoing demolitions of Palestinian properties in occupied East Jerusalem.

Guterres “is, indeed, deeply concerned by the continued demolitions,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the UN’s New York headquarters.

“He, once again, reiterates his call to the Israeli authorities to end demolitions and evictions, in line with Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law,” added Dujarric.

The demolitions come after Palestinian families have struggled in the courts for years to stave off the demolitions that could ultimately affect the majority of Al-Bustan’s 1,550 residents, who have been served with demolition orders since 2005.

More than 100,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are at risk of displacement, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and around 330,000 face a lack of infrastructure and severe housing shortages because of discriminatory Israeli planning and zoning policies.

So far this year, 57 demolitions, evictions, confiscations or seizures of Palestinian properties have taken place in East Jerusalem, according to OCHA’s demolition database.

Nearly 21 per cent of all demolitions, evictions, confiscations or seizures of Palestinian properties in 2020 took place in East Jerusalem. Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law include prohibitions against changing the laws and customs in occupied territory, transferring populations in and out of occupied territory, destroying private property and forcible transfer, and discriminating on national, racial or ethnic grounds.

Illegal settlers in the West Bank deliberately destroy agricultural crops and burn trees in Palestinian lands adjacent to settlements, in addition to preventing their owners from accessing to harvest their crops.

Palestinians say that Israeli authorities are lenient with the aggressor settlers, as part of official efforts to intensify settlements in the occupied territories.

Israeli and Palestinian estimates indicate that there are about 650,000 illegal settlers in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, residing in 164 settlements and 116 outposts.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Israeli forces demolish a store owned by Nidal Recebi in Silwan neighbourhood of Jerusalem on June 29, 2021. Photographer: Mostafa Alkharouf/AA]

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