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Settlers, Palestinians clash after olive tree attack

(AFP) / 5 January 2013

QUSRA, Palestinian Territories - Israeli soldiers on Saturday were trying to break up clashes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers in the northern West Bank town of Qusra.

Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses said settlers used the cover of fog to approach the town south of Nablus with the aim of uprooting dozens of olive saplings, but were confronted by farmers who threw stones at them.

Settlers from the nearby Esh Kodesh outpost and Qusra residents also clashed and threw stones at each other on Tuesday, when the Palestinians blamed the settlers for uprooting and damaging olive trees.

The Palestinians said saplings uprooted on Saturday were planted following Tuesday’s incident.

A spokeswoman for the army confirmed that “there is a confrontation near Esh Kodesh, including mutual stone-throwing.”

“Soldiers arrived at the scene and are currently responding with riot dispersal means,” she added, noting there were reports of a lightly wounded Israeli civilian. The Palestinians said some villagers were injured by tear gas.

The Esh Kodesh settlers had said on Tuesday they would block Palestinians from working in fields near the outpost. Both sides claim ownership of the land.

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