Israeli forces destroy dozens of olive saplings in Bethlehem-district town


Israeli forces today destroyed dozens of olive trees in the town of Battir, west of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to sources. Zaki al-Butma, an activist, told WAFA that the Israeli forces sprayed chemicals and herbicides to damage recently-planted olive grove belonging to Ghassan Oweina, east of the town, under the pretext that they were planted in an area classified as “state land”. The Israeli occupation authorities manipulate Ottoman Land Law 1858 to classify large swaths of Palestinian land as “state land” and pave the way for the construction of colonial settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. Battir, six kilometers west of Bethlehem, is on the UNESCO world heritage list due to its ancient terraces and Roman-era irrigation system which is still used by villagers to irrigate their crops. It is home to a Roman spring and bath, an eco-museum and some hiking trails. Its old town is known as the Seven Widows Quarter.