HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Wednesday destroyed 450 olive trees, leveled land, and demolished a Roman-era water well in the village of Beit Ula in northwestern Hebron, after claiming the Palestinian land [which is in the Occupied West Bank] belonged to Israel, locals said.
Issa al-Imla, the coordinator of a local popular committee in Beit Ula, told Ma’an that the olive trees were more than 10 years old and belonged a local farmer, Farid Abd al-Latif al-Imla.
Al-Imla said that Israeli forces also leveled lands belonging to Abd al-Qader al-Imla and demolished the village water well that dated from the Roman era.
Al-Imla said that Israeli forces, officials from the Israeli Civil Administration and three bulldozers also raided the Attus and al-Mekheh areas in western Beit Ula and destroyed crops.
On January 27, an Israeli court issued an order to confiscate hundreds of dunams of land in western Beit Ula.
Al-Imla said that Palestinian landowners followed up the case in Israeli courts, but added that Israeli courts generally assist settlers in confiscating Palestinian land.
He called on the Palestinian Minister of Agriculture and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to help farmers re-plant trees.
Beit Ula’s village lands are predominantly classified as Area A and B under the Oslo Accords — partially under jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority — while thewestern edges of the village are bordered by the Israeli separation wall and classified as Area C, under full Israeli civil and military control.
Even before January’s ruling, several thousand dunams of land were confiscated by the Israeli authorities in Beit Ula, according to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem.
Israeli forces and settlers attack olive trees in a bid to oust Palestinian farmers from their land, and a loss of a year’s crops can cause destitution for farming families.
Since 1967, approximately 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted in the occupied West Bank, according to a joint report by the Palestinian Authority and ARIJ.