Skip to main content

Settlements threaten Palestine’s historic sites

Violations carried out by Israeli settlers are destroying historic sites in Palestine in what many see as an attempt to bury Palestinian historic and cultural heritage.
A room, which is part of an archaeological site, is seen in the Jewish settler neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida, in the divided city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank January 19, 2014. The Jewish settlers use such sites to deepen their claims on Biblical cities, while Palestinians see the move as a means to grab land they want for a future state and an attempt to scrub out their own historical ties. Picture taken January 19, 2014. To match Feature ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/ARCHAEOLOGY     REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (WEST
Read in 

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Settlers from the Leshem settlement in the northern West Bank took over the archaeological village of Deir Samaan on April 12. The Leshem settlement, constructed in 2013, is located west of Salfit governorate. Targeting archaeological landmarks and stealing their contents is part of the policy adopted by Israel following the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Saleh Tawafsha, general director of the Ministry of Tourism’s Department of Antiquities Protection, told Al-Monitor, “Deir Samaan is an archaeological landmark that dates back to the Roman period. It consists of several monuments such as residential buildings, a church and mosaic floors. Since 1967, Israel has been fiercely attacking these archaeological sites. It has established several settlements like the Shilo settlement, built over 'Khirbet Ceylon,' a Canaanite city and archaeological site, north of Ramallah, as well as the Leshem settlement that encircles Deir Samaan.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.