IDF and emergency fire personnel deal with a fire at cherry tree grove in the Etzion Bloc .
(photo credit: YARON ROSENTHAL)
Extremists threw what's believed to be a Molotov cocktail at a Cherry tree orchard in Kfar Etzion in the West Bank on Tuesday afternoon, causing a fire and damage.
The cherry trees are located on land belonging to the Jewish National Fund in an area known as the Mukhtar’s Saddle.
Yaron Rosenthal, a Kibbutz Kfar Etzion member and the director of the Society for the Protection of Nature at the Kfar Etzion Field School, said in a press release that a fire broke out as a result and that there was damage caused to equipment and trees in the grove.
He praised the farmers in Kfar Etzion, as well as those in the South, who have been exposed for years to such attacks, calling them "turrets."
"Their steadfastness constitutes a protective wall for all Gush residents," he said, referring to the farmers in the area.
"In the Gaza vicinity, the enemy is burning fields with Molotov cocktails," Rosenthal said in the release. "They throw Molotov cocktails at us. Whoever loves this country does not burn it."
This is not the first time trees and orchards in the Etzion bloc have been targeted.
Earlier this year, some 200 cherry trees were uprooted and destroyed by vandals at a kibbutz near Gush Etzion in the West Bank.
Those trees were also planted in Mukhtar’s Saddle, which has been the focus of extremist vandalism in the past.
In another incident, Palestinian vandals uprooted and stole at least 50 newly planted trees in the Gush Etzion settlement of Nokdim. The grove had been planted in memory of terrorist victim Ori Ansbacher, just opposite the Tekoa settlement where she lived.
At the time of the attacks, Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman said that only a week ago, we witnessed agricultural terrorism in Kfar Etzion, and we are again witnessing terror in Jewish agriculture by our neighbors.”
“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."
In January, vandals also 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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