Ramallah: Israeli colonists have uprooted and burned 9,131 olive trees in the West Bank since the beginning of this year, said a top Palestinian official.

Maher Ghonem, Palestinian State Minister for the Wall and Settlement [colony] Affairs, stressed that ever since the Palestinians have started their preparations for the olive harvest season which coincided this time with President Mahmoud Abbas's submision of application seeking full membership of the UN, the colonists have uprooted 1,307 olive trees in the West Bank.

Ghonem said that colonists could do the damage only in collusion with the Israeli Army which provided them with the necessary protection.

He urged all Palestinians to give a helping hand to the owners to minimize the time needed for the harvest thereby reducing the threat of colonists.

The Palestinian government instructed the security apparatus to protect the olive farms.