On 17 August, Issa al-Shatleh, of Beit Jala, Palestine, started his day with news that Israeli soldiers were on the land that had belonged to his family for hundreds of years. When he arrived, he found ‘they were destroying the land, and cutting my ancient olive trees, some hundreds of years old’. ‘They came without a warning,’ he said.
And it is not just al-Shatleh’s land that is being confiscated. Close to 3 hectares of private land were razed that morning and 45 trees, some of them over 100 years old, were uprooted. As landowners tried to stop the destruction, violent clashes broke out, sending al-Shatleh’s brother to the hospital.