Israeli occupation authorities today began the process of confiscating land and olive trees belonging to Palestinians in the south of the occupied West Bank, reported Wafa news agency.
Suleiman Jaafreh, a resident of Tarqumiyah town, located northwest of Hebron, told Wafa that Israeli army bulldozers razed 12 dunams (3 acres) of land owned by Mohammad Jaafreh and uprooted dozens of olive trees planted more than five years ago.
Olive trees are symbolic of the Palestinian attachment to their land. Drought-resistant, growing under poor soil conditions, and living and bearing fruit for thousands of years, the trees represent Palestinian resistance and resilience in the face of the Israeli occupation.
Meanwhile, the head of the Commission for the Resistance of the Wall and Settlements, Hasan Breijieh, said demolition orders had been issued by the Israeli authorities to residents of the nearby village of Sair, in order to expand a road used by illegal settlers.
Palestinians in the Old City of Hebron are harassed daily by illegal settlers and occupation soldiers who aim to force them out of their homes in order to establish illegal Jewish-only settlements in the area.
Israeli human rights movement Peace Now estimates that about 666,000 settlers live in 145 large settlements and 140 outposts in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
International law considers the West Bank and Jerusalem “occupied territories”, and all settlement activities there are illegal. Israel, however, distinguishes between outposts and settlements claiming the latter as legal forms of colonisation.