Palestinian farmer wakes to a hate crime that vandalized his olive trees

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(Haaretz) A Palestinian farmer from the West Bank woke up to suspected hate crime Thursday morning, finding his olive trees vandalized and Hebrew graffiti reading “stop the agricultural terror.”

Last weekend, the same slogan was found next to several dozen bushels of harvested Palestinian wheat that were torched. This year has seen an exponential spike in hate crimes compared to 2017, according to information published by the Shin Bet in April.

The incident took place between Elazar, a settlement located south of Jerusalem, and the nearby unauthorized outpost of Netiv Ha’avot. On Tuesday, Israeli security forces evicted residents from 15 homes in the illegal outpost.

Right-wing activists resisted the eviction, throwing stones and other objects at the police officers, injuring six – one moderately and the rest lightly. Three protestors were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer.

“I cannot recall a legal action as irrational as this,” Habayit Hayehudi chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett said of the eviction.

On Monday, West Bank District Police released two minors held for two weeks as suspects for “Price Tag” vandalism incidents against Palestinians in the West Bank. Neither suspect was brought before a judge. One of them was denied access to an attorney for much of his time in custody.

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