Settlers in Kfar Etzion blame neighboring Palestinians after crop destroyed
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Settlers in Kfar Etzion blame neighboring Palestinians after crop destroyed

Some 200 grapevines and cherry trees destroyed in fields worked by residents of kibbutz south of Jerusalem

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Grapevines chopped down in the Kfar Etzion settleement on February 17, 2018. (Yaron Rosental)
Grapevines chopped down in the Kfar Etzion settleement on February 17, 2018. (Yaron Rosental)

Israelis from the Kfar Etzion settlement were accusing neighboring Palestinians on Sunday of having chopped down some 200 of their grapevines and cherry trees planted in a field adjacent to the community, south of Jerusalem.

Leaders of the West Bank kibbutz referred to the incident as a hate crime. Police said they were investigating.

The land, owned by the nonprofit KKL-JNF Jewish National Fund, is worked by residents of the kibbutz.

Pointing a finger at the residents of the neighboring village of Beit Ummar as responsible, Gush Etzion Field School head Yaron Rosental said that residents of the settlements have been abandoned by the government and municipality in thier fight to maintain control of Jewish-owned lands in the area.

Amitai Porat, the secretary-general of Kfar Etzion, said officials in the settlement were “working with the relevant parties and government ministers to join this struggle more intensely, with the understanding that where the plow will go, the border will be determined.”

Grapevines chopped down in the Kfar Etzion settlement on February 17, 2018. (Yaron Rosental)

The incident came three days after an apparent hate crime was reported in the town of Iskaka outside the northern West Bank Palestinian city of Nablus. There, residents discovered some 20 cars spray-painted with the Hebrew phrase “Traitors cover up terror attacks.” Other vehicles were daubed with the name of terror victim Ori Ansbacher, as well as those of Hadas Tapuhi and the Kaduri family, whose families charge they were victims of Palestinian terrorism.

Police said they opened an investigation into the graffiti in Iskaka, which was the third such incident reported this month.

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