Israeli settlers have uprooted 400 olive trees in the Palestinian occupied West Bank village of Deir Sharaf on Friday, witnesses have said.
One of the witnesses, Ghassan Daghlas, monitors Israeli colonial settlement violations in the northern West Bank and explained that the settlers broke into a plot of land known as Al-Harayek and chopped down the trees.
The owners of the land were identified as Abdul Rahim, Abdul Hamid and Ghazi Antari – all villagers of Deir Sharaf.
Ghazi Antari shared that he went to his 68-dunam farm to find that settlers had chopped down 320 olive trees, which he planted three years ago.
Daghlas said this was not the first time, as settlers had destroyed some 600 saplings almost a month ago.
Meanwhile, a group of Israeli settlers uprooted 90 olive saplings and trees belonging to Palestinian farmers in the Salfit village of Yasuf, West Bank.
Jamal Salama, a Palestinian resident of Yasuf village in Salfit, recounted that the settlers uprooted 70 olive saplings of his own after they stormed his farm near the village.
Samer Rashed, another Palestinian resident of the village, said that some 20 olive trees belonging to him were chopped off by settlers who raided his farm.
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the occupied West Bank and is rarely sanctioned by Israeli authorities. Palestinians, local and international monitors and officials believe that the Israeli government endorses settler violence.
Over 700,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law.
The number of settlers has almost tripled since the Oslo Peace Accords signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1993, the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s official data stated.
In 1993, the number of settlers was estimated at 252,000, according to the PA's data. Illegal colonial settlements have increased from 144 in 1993 to 515 today.