Israeli forces destroyed an estimated 1,500 fruit trees belonging to the Tent of Nations farm outside Nahalin village, in the Bethlehem region of the occupied West Bank yesterday morning.
Owned by the Nassar family, the farm lies just below Neve Daniel, an Israeli settlement, located in the Gush Etzion bloc. The property has long been targeted by Israeli occupation authorities seeking to confiscate the land and remove an obstacle to settlement expansion.
According to the family, soldiers arrived at their land early in the morning, and in a couple of hours uprooted some 1,500 apricot and apple trees, burying them under piles of soil. “This is going to make it very difficult for us to recover and rehabilitate the land,” Daoud Nassar, a member of the family, told me. Photographs are available on the project’s Facebook page.
The family was preparing for harvest, with international volunteers set to come in June to help with picking the apricots and apples. Daoud said that they have been harvesting the trees for a number of years now, using them, among other things, for jam-making.
Two weeks ago, the Israeli military issued the Nassars an order to stop cultivation. The family responded to the order through their lawyer. Yet before the legal process could run its course, “they came and smashed everything,” Daoud added.
“We are very frustrated. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. Why destroy a tree? Why destroy a tree that will give fruits very soon? Why destroy the land?”
Daoud Nassar urged international supporters to wait for updates about how best to respond to the latest developments, as the family plan their next move.