Salfit (In Palestine Today) – Scores of Israeli settlers Wednesday night stormed ancient Islamic sites in Kifl Haris town, north of the West Bank city of Salfit, according to local sources.
They said that Israeli forces closed the town entrances to provide protection for the settlers who proceeded to break into and desecrate the Prophet Thu Al-Kifl, Prophet Thu An-Noon and Prophet Yosha shrines, causing a state of tension among the town residents.
The raid lasted from 10:30 PM on Wednesday night to dawn Thursday, during which the settlers performed rituals at the shrines.
Israel uses the Jewish nationalist name “Judea and Samaria” to refer to the occupied West Bank to reinforce its bogus claims to the territory and to give them a veneer of historical and religious legitimacy.
There are over 700,000 Israeli settlers living in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Located some five kilometers to the north of Salfit city, Kifl Haris has a population of some 4,450 and occupies a total area of some 9,300 dunams.
Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority was given limited control over 42 percent of the village total area, classified as area B, which constitutes of the built-up area of the village. In contrast, Israel maintains control over the remainder, classified as Area C, which constitutes mostly of agricultural areas, open spaces and lands confiscated for colonial settlements.
Israel has seized large tracts of the village land for the construction of Ariel, the second largest colonial settlement in the West Bank in terms of area. It has confiscated more land for the construction of settler-only by-pass Road 5 and Road 505, which extend for 4.6 kilometers on the village’s land.