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West Bank: Settlers destroy 50 Palestinian olive trees near Salfit

Residents say Kafr al-Dik town is facing an ‘unprecedented attack’ by the Israeli occupation
A farmer passes in front of Israeli soldiers in lands seized by settlers near Salfit in the occupied West Bank (File/Reuters)

Israeli settlers on Wednesday uprooted and destroyed 50 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers in the occupied West Bank city of Salfit, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa

A greenhouse and water-draining facilities were also razed on land owned by the al-Dik family in the town of Kafr al-Dik, west of Salfit. 

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"Most of our 160 dunams of land is planted with olive trees, which are around four to six years old," Kanaan al-Dik, co-owner of the land, told local news outlet Maan.

"Despite that, we will replant it again, and we will not leave our land to them at any cost."

Elsewhere, Israeli bulldozers demolished water-draining facilities and blocked roads leading to Kafr al-Dik, the town's mayor, Mohammad Naji, told Maan. 

Naji said the northern part of the town is facing an "unprecedented attack" by the Israeli occupation, which he believes is planning to expand nearby settlements. Salfit is surrounded by several illegal Israeli settlements and its residents regularly endure settler assaults.  

Palestinians across the occupied West Bank have faced an "alarming" rise in settler violence in 2021, UN human rights experts said in a statement last year. 

"We are witnessing the highest recorded levels of violence in recent years and more severe incidents," the statement said. 

According to UN figures, 370 settler attacks led to damages to properties in 2021, up from 274 the previous year. A further 126 assaults caused casualties, compared to 84 in 2020. At the same time, settlement building has tripled from the previous year, with the approval of the construction of 4,000 new units, according to Khalil al-Tafkaji, a Palestinian expert on settlement and director of the map unit at the Centre for Arab Studies in Jerusalem.

Both authorised and unauthorised Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law.  

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