Poisonous material dropped by Israeli planes on the villages of Boreen, Madama and Quseen.

Ramallah: Mysterious packages have been found to have been air dropped over Palestinian cities in the West Bank that residents say look like chocolate but are poisonous.

Palestinian residents blame Israeli occupation forces for dropping the packages over the villages surrounding the city of Nablus, north of the West Bank, saying public safety is seriously jeopardised.

Panicked residents of the villages of Boreen, Madama and most recently the village of Quseen recovered many of those boxes from their residential areas.

According to Raed Al Najar, who heads Boreen Village Council, the boxes were recovered only metres from residents’ homes. Initial sample analysis found the substance to be highly poisonous, even to touch, he told Gulf News.

Al Najar said that the case with the samples was passed to the Palestinian officials of the Palestinian-Israeli Security Affairs Liaison Office, where the Israeli officials confessed to having dropped those boxes in the areas to fight the wild pigs, foxes and stray dogs.

The packaging on the boxes points to Virbac, a France-based company that produces rabies vaccine. Its website says that the vaccine bait it sells is meant to be eaten by wild. It states that an intact bait may not be dangerous, but adds that a doctor should be contacted if a broken bait comes into contact with human beings.

Al Najjar does not believe the Israeli motive. “This is a clear indication that the Israeli occupation forces purposely intend to kill Palestinians,” he said.

“It is well-known that the Israelis release the wild pigs to cause serious harm to villagers, so we do not buy the Israeli claim to work on fighting them,” he said. “If the Israelis had good faith and intentions, they would have informed the Palestinians about the plans to take precautionary measures and would not have dropped those poisonous materials within the residential areas exposing the public’s safety to serious hazards.”

Israeli colonists living illegally in the Israeli-occupied West Bank are known to release wild boars to harass Palestinian farmers and ruin their harvest.

Tal’at Ziyadah, who heads the Madama Village Council, said that samples of the material dropped on his village are currently being analysed by the Palestinian Agricultural Ministry which initially confirmed the dangerous and poisonous nature of the material. “Villagers are deeply sceptical about the Israeli moves. We never trust the Israeli occupation and deal with it with maximum care and attention,” he told Gulf News.

Once the poisonous nature of the material was confirmed, mosques in the village declared emergency via their loudspeakers and warned villagers about their public safety. Village schools were also instructed to take care of young pupils and to check the school premises to ensure they were clean of the substance. “We are just waiting for the official response from the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to take further measures including protests and strikes against the Israeli fatal measures against the villagers,” said Ziyadah.

Nablus villages have been a key target for the most violent Israeli colonists including those of Yitzhar, Brakha and the colony outpost of Givat Ronen, who conduct daily aggression against the villagers in the area.