Last updated: 3 June, 2013

Settlers acused of torching Palestinian trees

Palestinian fire service officials on Monday accused Israeli settlers of setting fire to about 1,000 almond and olive trees at a known troublespot in the northern West Bank.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, they told AFP that settlers from Yitzhar torched the trees at the neighbouring Palestinian villages of Burin and Madama.

An Israeli military spokesman said one of the fires was set by “Israeli civilians” and the other by Palestinians themselves. He did not elaborate.

The neighbouring communities clash regularly.

On May 11, settlers and villagers hurled stones at each other after the settlers marched into Burin, witnesses said.

Yitzhar was home to a settler stabbed to death by a Palestinian on April 30, further inflaming already tense relations.

The killer came from the town of Tulkarem, about 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Burin.