A grove of trees in Gush Etzion in the West Bank..
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Palestinian vandals uprooted and stole at least 50 newly planted trees in the Gush Etzion settlement of Nokdim on Sunday, according to Israeli media reports.
The new grove was planted on Friday in memory of terrorist victim Ori Ansbacher, just opposite the Tekoa settlement where she lived.
Ansbacher was raped and murdered by a Palestinian man earlier this month while she walking through the woods on the outskirts of Jerusalem, close to the Ein Yael Nature Museum where she volunteered with children.
Early Sunday morning, vandals allegedly entered the plot where Nokdim residents had planted the trees just two days earlier, and uprooted and stole some 50 of the new plantings.
During the tree-planting, clashes broke out between Palestinians and residents of Nokdim.
The army managed to keep away the Palestinians, who were trying to interfere with the planting.
However, when residents awoke Sunday morning, they found not only that trees had been uprooted, but that most of them had also been stolen.
The vandalism came nearly a week after some 200 cherry trees
were uprooted and destroyed by vandals at a kibbutz near Gush Etzion in the West Bank.
Those trees were planted on land belonging to Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael–Jewish National Fund in an area known as the Mukhtar’s Saddle, which has been the focus of extremist vandalism in the past.
“Only a week ago, we witnessed agricultural terrorism in Kfar Etzion, and we are again witnessing terror in Jewish agriculture by our neighbors,” Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman said after Sunday’s attack.
“This phenomenon must not continue to lead to a large wave of destruction in Israeli agriculture,” he said. “The State of Israel must define agricultural terrorism as terrorism in every way and bring about a solution to these phenomena that occur throughout the country... in the North, in the South and in Judea and Samaria.
“We must take a hard hand and treat these events as a terror attack in every respect,” he continued. “It is forbidden to reach a situation in which it will reach human life. This is the order of the day and a red light must be lit for decision-makers.”
Last month, Arab vandals destroyed dozens of vines at Israeli-owned vineyards in Shiloh and Hebron. Just days before that incident, vandals also uprooted an Israeli-owned vineyard in the Jordan Valley.
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