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Israeli settlers burn olive trees in West Bank

Israeli settlers set fire to agricultural land in the village of Qaryout south of Nablus in the north of the West Bank before dawn today.

An activist with the Popular Resistance, Bashar Qaryouti, told the Anadolu Agency that a number of settlers from the Israeli settlement of Eli, located near the Palestinian village of Qaryout, sneaked on to that territory after midnight and set fire to 11 perennial olive trees.

“We called on the citizens through the mosques’ speaker system to rise up to defend their land. Then we headed for the western area of the village which witnessed the attack. The fire had destroyed 11 trees, while flammable materials were being sprayed at the rest of the trees. Because of our prompt arrival the burning was prevented and the settlers withdrew toward the settlement of Eli,” Qaryouti said.

The activist pointed out that the settlers were guarded by the Israeli army who fired lighting bombs over the targeted land before the settlers began to set fire to the land. The Israeli army also prevented Palestinian Civil Defence personnel from entering the area and extinguishing the fire.

“We tried to extinguish the fire through primitive tools in addition to sand, but we could not, so the burnt trees fell to the ground after the fire had destroyed them completely,” he added.

He explained that the village of Qaryout is increasingly experiencing daily attacks against citizens and land, the most recent of which was the decision of the Israeli authorities to confiscate thousands of acres of agricultural land in order to link the two Israeli settlements of Eli and Shiloh to each other and establish tourist resorts for settlers.

“Qaryout is witnessing fierce attacks aimed at confiscating its entire land for the sake of settlement expansion. The occupation forces have closed the main street in the southern area of the village and prevent the citizens from crossing it. They confiscated all the agricultural land surrounding it,” Qaryouti said.

It was not possible to get immediate comment from the Israeli army.

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