Israeli settlers have cut down 150 olive trees: Palestinian sources

AFP , Thursday 6 Oct 2011

Destruction of olive trees in Qusra in the northern West Bank is latest in a series of attacks by Jewish settlers

Around 150 olive trees in the 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, ten kilometres (six miles) 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 found the trees," he told AFP.

Earlier last week, around 40 olive trees were destroyed near the southern city of 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 a report by the international aid group Oxfam last year.

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