For 3rd time in a week, settlers uproot Palestinian olive trees

For the third time in a week, Palestinian olive trees in the northern West Bank were uprooted by Israelis from neighboring settlements, the rights group Yesh Din said Friday.

Twelve olive trees belonging to farmers from the Palestinian village of Kalil, south of the Har Bracha settlement in the northern West Bank were found cut down, the NGO said in a statement.

Israeli security forces arrived at the scene shortly after and the Palestinian villagers filed an official complaint to the Israel Police’s West Bank district, Yesh Din added.

On Wednesday, 27 olive trees in the Palestinian village of Burin south of Nablus were uprooted by Israelis from a neighboring settlement, and an additional 43 trees were chopped down in the same village last Friday, residents said.

Photos showed that a number of trees were spray painted with the Hebrew word, “administrative,” referencing the spike in administrative orders that the Defense Ministry has issued against dozens of far-right settler youth in recent months.

The Defense Ministry, under the advisement of the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police, signed off on a fresh batch of some 30 administrative orders last month.

Varying from detention, bans from entering the entire West Bank, bans on contacting certain individuals, or nighttime house arrest, the Shin Bet argues that they have helped substantially diminish the amount of hate crimes, notably “price tag” attacks — offenses ostensibly carried out in retaliation for Israeli policies that are seen as unfriendly to radical settlers.

For the most part, the administrative orders against Israelis have targeted activists known as the “hilltop youth,” young people who move to settlement outposts, resist soldiers’ attempts to evacuate them, and have been known to carry out price tag and other hate crime attacks.

But the youth being targeted say that their rights are being trampled since the orders do not allow for due process.

Four of the of young far-right activists arrested last month for deliberately violating their respective administrative orders called on others to do the same, risking jail time in doing so.

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