NABLUS: Occupied West Bank: Around 150 olive trees in the occupied West Bank were cut down overnight in an attack blamed by Palestinians on Jewish settlers.
The destruction, in Qusra village in the northern West Bank, followed a weekend during which 200 olive trees were uprooted and burned in groves around the villages of Huwwara and Einabus, 10 kilometers further north.
Hani Ismail, head of Qusra village council, said the loss of the latest trees was believed to be the work of Jewish settlers from the Migdalim settlement, which lies just to the east of the village.
“The farmers went to the olive grove this morning and saw the trees,” he said.
Earlier last week, around 40 olive trees were destroyed near the southern city of Al-Khalil (Hebron). Every year, attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinian olive farmers increase around the harvest time, which is just about to start.
About 45 percent of farmland in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is given over to olive cultivation, with approximately 10 million trees.
The olive sector contributes up to $100 million in yearly income for some of the poorest families, according to international aid group Oxfam last year.
In the West Bank city of Nablus Thursday, vandals daubed swastikas on the exterior walls of Joseph’s tomb, an Israeli army spokesman said.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 07, 2011, on page 9.