Israeli settlers chopped off 15 olive trees and assaulted farmers during two separate incidents in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, today.
In the village of Artas, southwest of Bethlehem, settlers from the illegal settlement bloc of Etzion broke into a ranch belonging to Mr. Jamal Abdullah Ismail, a local Palestinian farmer, and chopped off 15 olive trees belonging to him, according to Hasan Breijeyeh, director of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Commission in Bethlehem.
In the nearby village of Kisan, settlers protected by a military escort assaulted a number of farmers while working in their own lands near the village and forced them to leave at gunpoint, said the deputy mayor of the village, Ahmad Gazal.
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli occupation authorities.
It includes property and mosque arsons, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, attacks on vulnerable homes, and others.
Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.