A gang of Israeli settlers on Monday cut down dozens of Palestinian-owned grape trees in Beit Skarya village south of Bethlehem City.
Activist Hasan Breijiya said that settlers broke into a grape-planted grove belonging to a Palestinian villager named Mahmoud Sa'd before proceeding to chop off about 50 trees there.
Breijiya said that settlers, backed by Israeli forces, have taken advantage of the crisis hitting Bethlehem recently due to coronavirus outbreak and stepped up their attacks on Palestinian farmlands.
He urged the Palestinian residents of Bethlehem to form guard groups to protect their villages and farmlands against settler attacks.
In the past three weeks, Israeli settlers have destroyed about 1,200 olive and grape trees in the villages of al-Khader and Fukin in Bethlehem district.
Settler violence is commonplace across the occupied West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.