NABLUS, Palestinian Territories: Dozens of Palestinian olive trees were cut down in the northern West Bank by suspected rightwing attackers yesterday, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.
“Farmers found 100 olive trees cut down with chain saws in Al-Sawiya, south of Nablus,” Ghassan Daghlas, head of the Palestinian government’s settler affairs office in the northern West Bank, told AFP.
He said “racist slogans” were found scrawled on barrels in the field.
Israeli officials confirmed the incident, with an army spokeswoman saying 50 trees had been “damaged.”
“It is important for us to say that the IDF (Israel Defense Force) regards these incidents as severe,” she said, adding that the owners of the trees were directed to the Israeli civil administration “so that they can file a complaint.”
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed that graffiti reading “price tag” was found at the scene.
“Price tag” is the euphemism for a hate crime carried out by Jewish extremists, usually targeting Palestinians and Arabs in response to state moves against settler outposts.
“There was a lot of damage to trees and there were barrels at the scene that had price tag written on them,” Samri said.
“Police and army went to the scene and the army has opened an investigation.”
The attacks often involve wanton destruction of property and have included arson attacks on cars, mosques and olive trees.