News from the South: Palestinian lands burned by the Occupation
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News from the South: Palestinian lands burned by the Occupation

Hundreds of dunums of Palestinian land have been burned in the last days to expand the Zionist colonization of our land. Ancient olive trees, harvests and grazing lands have been set ablaze to ruin the livelihoods of the population and prepare the further expansion of settlements.

On June 23, Zionist settlers from the settlement of Ramat Tashai, a settlement in Tel Arumeida area in the center of Hebron, have burned around 75 ancient olive trees and some citrus trees belonging to the farmers in Hebron. The trees were considered “Roman” olive trees as they were all around 100 years old. After the fire was set, the settlers blocked the fire cars from reaching the place blocking the street and shooting in the air. They were shouting racist chants at everyone. When, finally, the fire cars passed, the whole area was burned.

The trees that were set ablaze were owned by Ratib Salim. His wife explains: “This is the fourth time that they set fire in this area. They do that every year in this period. They want to burn this land around the settlement to because they want us to leave and use it to expand their settlement on our land.”

On the same day, further land in Tuqu’a, west of Bethlehem, was burned by Zionist settlers. They came from Teqoa settlement and burned hundreds of trees, among which some 400 olive trees that had been planted there 15 years ago. In the huge fire around 300 dunum of land cultivated with trees, wheat and partially used as grazing land were burned. The fire resulted in the villagers that earn their livelihoods from cattle farming and the fruits of their trees and cultivations incurring great losses of harvest and left them with hardly any grazing land..

The mayor of Tuqu’a, however, asserts that “this will not stop the farmers from working their land and planting it again with their olives. We will keep resisting the settlement and the occupation until we have gotten back every dunum of our land on which the settlement is built and we have liberated our homeland.”