The Israeli army on Wednesday destroyed a natural reserve and uprooted at least 10,000 trees in a military campaign in the northern West Bank in a move that Palestinians termed a "crime."
Moataz Bisharat, who is responsible for monitoring Israeli settlement activity in the Jordan Valley, told Anadolu Agency that the occupation army pushed military vehicles and dozens of soldiers into the Ainun area in Tubas city in the morning and destroyed a nature reserve built on an area of about 400 dunums (98 acres).
The occupation army "chopped down and destroyed about 10,000 forest trees and about 300 olive trees,” he said.
He also said the nature reserve had been afforested eight years ago as part of the Greening Palestine project supervised by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and funded by the Venezuelan consulate in Palestine.
Bisharat stressed that the occupation alleged that the destruction of the reserve came as it was classed as a military zone even though it was not more than 300 meters (984 feet) away from residential areas and it served as an "outlet" for the residents.
For its part, in a statement, the Palestine Liberation Organization's Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission said Israel "has formed a special unit whose mission is to wage war on the Jordan Valley."
"A security apparatus has been formed to oversee construction and agriculture in Area C and it has undertaken to wipe out the Palestinian presence," the statement read.
The commission described the incident as "a crime and a campaign of eliminating trees, buildings, livestock and sources of income."
He said that what is happening is a "part of a war waged by a terrorist state [Israel] that is burning green areas."
The Palestinian commission called for "international protection for the Palestinian presence in Area C," calling on the international community to stop discrimination in dealing with the crimes of the Israeli occupation.
The area of the Jordan Valley is about 1.6 million dunums (395,368 acres) and about 13,000 Israeli settlers live in 38 settlements while about 65,000 live in 34 communities.
* Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.