By Qais Abu Samra
SALFIT, Palestine (AA) - Extremist Jewish settlers on Wednesday cut down scores of Palestinian olive trees near the West Bank town of Salfit, according to a Palestinian official.
“A group of settlers cut down about 100 olive trees belonging to Mohammed Jazi, a local Palestinian, in the town of Yasuf east of Salfit,” Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, told Anadolu Agency.
Daghlas went on to condemn what he described as increasingly frequent attacks by West Bank settlers on local Palestinians and their property.
In a report released last November, the Commission to Resist Colonization and the Separation Wall (affiliated with the Ramallah-based Palestinian government) cited 56 separate attacks on Palestinian farmers in the West Bank -- and another 44 attacks on Palestinian olive groves -- during the last olive harvest season.
“The Israeli authorities are pursuing a scorched-earth policy as part of their plan to expand settlements [in the West Bank],” the report read.
The scope of settler attacks on Palestinians and their property, it added, had “expanded to include farmers and olive trees throughout the West Bank”.
According to the same report, as many as 1,690 Palestinian olive trees were uprooted and stolen by settlers during the last harvest season.
“These attacks aim to turn fertile agricultural land into barren territory that can later be appropriated for [Israeli] settlements," the report stated, going on to note that most settler attacks had occurred near the cities of Nablus, Qalqiliya, Ramallah and Hebron.