Dozens of olive trees were set ablaze in a Palestinian village early on Saturday, in an attack that villagers and Palestinian security officials blamed on Jewish settlers.
Residents of Qaryut village, 15 kilometres (nine miles) south of the West Bank city of Nablus, said that the fires had been set at several different spots simultaneously and security officials said the evidence pointed to an arson attack by residents of the neighbouring settlement of Eli.
Seventy of the village’s olive trees were cut down in the early hours of Wednesday, the first day of the olive harvest, a period when Jewish settlers have in the past raided Palestinian farmers and their crops.
Figures released last year by the international aid group Oxfam indicated there are approximately 9.5 million olive trees in the West Bank, where the crop is a vital source of revenue for Palestinian farmers.
In a good year, the olive harvest contributes around $100 million (77 million euros) in income to some of the poorest Palestinian communities.