Israeli soldiers set fire to olive trees in Hebron
Published Friday 05/09/2014 (updated) 06/09/2014 20:37
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers set fire to Palestinian-owned olive trees near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron late Thursday.
Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers deployed in the area pushed a burning tire into an area of olive trees, causing severe damage.
Local Palestinians called the fire brigade to extinguish the blaze but were prevented from arriving in the area by Israeli forces.
Jewish settlers routinely threaten and harass local Palestinians in Hebron's Old City in an effort to force them to hand over their properties for the expansion of Jewish settlements.
Over 500 Jewish settlers already live in the Old City, many of whom have illegally occupied Palestinian houses and forcibly removed the original inhabitants. They are protected by thousands of Israeli soldiers.
A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.
The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs -- and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.