The Palestine Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities condemned yesterday the attack on a Palestinian tourist site in the village of Battir, one of the ancient Palestinian sites listed as a World Heritage Site.
The condemnation came after a group of Israeli settlers razed parts of the site and opened a street in the village in preparation for building a Jewish settlement in the area, Al-Wattan Voice reported.
Palestinian residents in the area confronted the settlers and pushed them out of the village. However, the settlers' aggression caused damage to large parts of the site, including to its terraces which date back to the Roman era – about 2,000 years ago.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee added Battir – located southwest of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank – to the organisation's prestigious World Heritage List in 2014 and added the site to a subset of the heritage list, a much smaller compilation of sites in danger.
Some of the site's terraces "are irrigated for market garden production" and others are planted with grapevines and olive trees. The terraces' irrigation network is supplied by underground sources and shared with village families.
The landscape is in danger of being damaged by Israeli plans to build the Separation Wall through the area, UNESCO has said, noting that the wall "may isolate farmers from fields they have cultivated for centuries."