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Israel settlers destroy wheat fields in historic Palestine village of Sebastia

May 31, 2024 at 1:52 pm

Palestinian farmers use a threshing machine as they harvest wheat crop at a field in al-Lubban al-Sharqiya village, south of Nablus city, in the West Bank on August 3, 2022. [Wajed Nobani/Apaimages]

Israeli settlers destroyed extensive areas of wheat fields this morning in the historic village of Sebastia, located northwest of occupied Nablus, according to the Wafa news agency.

Mayor of Sebastia, Mohammad Azim, reported that the settlers damaged 11 dunums (2.7 acres) of wheat fields owned by local resident Jawad Yousef Ghazal by grazing their sheep on the land.

He emphasised that this “pastoral colonialism” is a new tactic used by Israeli settlers, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, to seize more land and displace Palestinian farmers.

According to Wafa, this incident follows an attack last week in which colonists burned additional areas of Ghazal’s wheat fields at the village entrance.

Azim added that the town has been exposed to “incredible attacks” since the establishment of the current government in Israel. He warned that Israel is in the final stage of seizing the town of Sebastia with its “Judaisation” efforts.

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He said, within the framework of the Second Oslo Agreement signed between Palestine and Israel in 1995, the Occupied West Bank was divided into three regions and that the administration and security of “Zone C”, which covers 61 per cent of the area, was left to Israel.

The town is designated as “World Heritage in Danger” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The history of Sebastia, a town in the city of Nablus in the West Bank, dates back 5,000 years. The Roman, Greek, Farsi, Assyrian and Ottoman empires left their mark on the cathedral in Sebastia city centre through columns, palaces, towers and antiquities. The cathedral was built during the Byzantine days in the 12th century B.C. and it still stands to this day.