Settlers filmed destroying 100 Palestinian olive trees as IDF appears to look on

Army says it dispersed Israelis who have been involved in eight such attacks since drive-by killing of rabbi by Palestinian terrorists

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Some 50 masked Israelis from the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar destroyed over 100 olive trees Saturday outside the nearby Palestinian village of Hawara, a rights group said.

As the settlers snap branches off the trees, footage documented by a field worker for the Yesh Din group pans to IDF soldiers appearing to be standing by and not reacting.

However, an army spokeswoman said that the soldiers dispersed the Israelis shortly after arriving at the scene. It was the eighth such attack by settlers against neighboring Palestinians in the last few days, she added.

The uptick in settler violence comes after Palestinian terrorists killed Rabbi Raziel Shevach in a drive-by shooting outside the Havat Gilad outpost last week.

The 35-year-old father of six was returning home to the northern West Bank community on Tuesday when he was gunned down. Israeli security forces are still searching for his killers.

Rabbi Raziel Shevach, who was murdered in a terror attack in the West Bank on January 9, 2017 (courtesy)

At Shevach’s funeral on Wednesday, dozens of mourners interrupted Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s eulogy with calls for “revenge.”

Hours later, Israelis were filmed hurling rocks at the nearby Palestinian villages of Farata and Jit. Significant damage was done to several homes.

On Thursday, over 100 settlers led by the far-right Otzma Yehudit group temporarily blocked the entrances to Nablus in a protest calling on the IDF to reinstate permanent checkpoints around the Palestinian city.

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