Hundreds of Palestinian olive trees destroyed in Israeli attacks

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-11 20:07:56|Editor: Wu Qin
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JERUSALEM, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Ultra-nationalist Israelis cut down on Thursday hundreds of Palestinian-owned olive trees in the West Bank, amid a string of suspected hate attacks against the Palestinians, Israeli officials and media said.

The incidents took place in two separate locations -- one in the area of the southern Hebron Hills, near the Israeli settlement of Susya, and the other outside the town of Turmus Ayya, north of Ramallah city.

Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman with the Israeli police, said that an unknown number of olive trees were destroyed in the Hebron Hills and other plants were damaged.

Palestinian residents told Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper that some 160 olive trees were cut down in the Hebron Hills and additional some 100 olive trees were cut down near Turmus Ayya. Both incidents took place overnight between Wednesday and Thursday.

Rosenfeld said that the police have launched an investigation and are "investigating the incident and looking into the background."

No suspects have been apprehended yet.

The incidents come a day after far-right Israelis vandalized vehicles and spray-painted hate graffiti on walls of buildings in the town Deir Qaddis in the central West Bank.

The graffiti targeted Mahmoud Qatusa, a Palestinian resident of the village, who was indicted with raping an Israeli seven-year-old girl in a West Bank settlement but was released after the Israeli authorities could not find evidence to support the charges. His indictment was canceled. Qatusa denies any wrongdoing but the case has sparked an uproar in Israel.

On Wednesday, the Palestinian news agency of WAFA reported that "hundreds" of olive trees were set on fire in the northern West Bank village of Burin. Palestinian officials told WAFA that the attack was carried out by settlers from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar.

On Sunday, Palestinian residents of Awarta, a town southeast of Nablus city, reported cars were vandalized and hate graffiti in Hebrew were spray-painted on walls in their town.

Thousands of these "price-tag" attacks -- assaults by far-right Israelis against Palestinians and their property, including mosques, synagogues, and cemeteries -- have been carried out over the past years.