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Israeli settlers vandalize Palestinians’ cars, attack farms in West Bank in new provocation

The file photo by Palestinian media shows Israeli settlers hurl stones at Palestinians after rampaging through the occupied West Bank village of Safa, near al-Khalil (Hebron).

In a new act of provocation, a group of extremist Israeli settlers have vandalized passing Palestinian vehicles on a road between the occupied West Bank cities of Nablus and Ramallah, causing damage to the cars.

Palestine's official Wafa news agency, quoting local sources, reported on Sunday that the settlers hurled stones at the cars near a section of the road close to the village of Burin in Nablus.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors Israeli violations in the area, said that settlers from the nearby notorious settlement of Yitzhar were responsible for the latest ambush and assault.

Separately, Palestinian media said Israeli settlers entered the village of Shufa to the southeast of the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarm to destroy crops and seize agricultural equipment.

Tahseen Hamed, a Palestinian farmer, said settlers from the illegal settlement of Avni Hefetz broke into his warehouse, seized agricultural equipment, poured an unknown substance into irrigation well and punctured the water tanks that he uses to irrigate crops.

The armed settlers frequently prevent Palestinians from grazing livestock and force them to leave at gunpoint in the area.

Violence and vandalism by Israeli settlers are commonplace in the occupied West Bank, and is never prosecuted by the occupation authorities.

Attacks by settlers against Palestinians particularly intensified during the last few months, with Israeli occupation army turning a blind eye to the violence spree and providing the settlers with protection.

Various attacks on Palestinian property, including arson and graffiti, have become a daily occurrence throughout the occupied territories, particularly in the West Bank.

However, Israeli authorities rarely prosecute the Israeli settler assaults on Palestinians and their property, and the vast majority of the files are closed due to deliberate police failure to investigate properly.

Israeli settlers have noticeably escalated attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in recent months.

The United Nations has already warned of a surge in Israeli settler violence against Palestinians, mostly in the areas of al-Khalil, al-Quds, Nablus and Ramallah.

The UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator office in the Palestinian territories recently documented at least 287 incidents assaults by settlers in the West Bank and East al-Quds in which Palestinian properties were damaged since the start of this year.

For years, Israel has clearly allowed its settlers to assault Palestinians and inflict damage on their property as one of its policies. This has included provision of military protection for the attackers, and in some cases troopers' active participation in the assault.

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