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Israel plans to destroy 30,000 trees in nature reserve

October 18, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Israeli soldiers walk past cut-down olive trees on lands belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank, on 2 May 2020 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images]

The Israeli occupation authorities have notified the Municipal Council of Khirbet A‘tuf of the plan to destroy a 400 acre nature reserve and uproot 30,000 trees in an area to the south-west of Tubas.

Moataz Bisharat is responsible for monitoring Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Jordan Valley. He told Wafa news agency that the notice was only found in the nature reserve yesterday. It was dated 6 October, which suggests that the Israel occupation authorities had no real intention of advising the local Palestinians of the plan, and were intending to just turn up on the day with bulldozers.

According to the head of the Municipal Council, Abdullah Bsharat, the trees which Israel is going to destroy were planted by the Council and the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Agriculture with funds from international donors.

READ: Israel builds the largest new West Bank nature reserve on private Palestinian land

The Jordan Valley is a fertile strip of land running along the west bank of the River Jordan. It is home to about 65,000 Palestinians, and makes up approximately 30 per cent of the total area of the occupied West Bank. Almost 90 per cent of the West Bank has been designated Area C under full Israeli military and civilian control.

Israeli soldiers regularly shoot at and destroy agricultural land in the area causing considerable damage to crops and preventing farmers from working their fields. Moreover, occupation forces spray toxic substances to kill crops and force the farmers off their land.

Israel has occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem since 1967. Human rights abuses against the Palestinians and breaches of international law are daily occurrences.