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.”