Jewish settlers destroy, steal hundreds of olive trees in Bethlehem

Middle East Monitor  /  March 31, 2023

Jewish settlers today destroyed and uprooted hundreds of newly planted olive and grape seedlings in the town of Al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, reported WAFA news agency.

According to local Palestinian activist, Ahmad Salah, a group of extremist settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Elazar, broke into a farm near the village and vandalized nearly 250 olive saplings and 150 grape saplings which belong to Yousef Musa, a Palestinian farmer.

Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the occupied West Bank and is rarely sanctioned by the Israeli authorities.

Over 700,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law. All of Israel’s settlements and the settlers who live there are illegal under international law.

Ahmad added that illegal settlers also attacked other farms near the village.

The olive harvest is the main source of income for thousands of Palestinian households. Jewish settlers have been responsible for destroying thousands of olive trees in the occupied territories over the years, primarily around harvest season to maximize the damage and effect on the owners.

Olive trees are symbolic of the Palestinian attachment to their land. Drought-resistant, growing in poor soil conditions and living and bearing fruit for hundreds — even thousands — of years, the trees represent Palestinian resistance and resilience in the face of the brutal Israeli military occupation.