Arabs living in Judea and Samaria have been destroying ancient ruins in the area for years, but now, according to Jews monitoring the situation, the destruction is being taken to a new level, with archaeological remains wrecked and a road actually paved over them.
The Samaria National Park in Sebastia has frequently been the target of nationalist vandals seeking to erase the site's Jewish history, which dates back millennia. Sebastia was once called Shomron (Samaria) and served as the capital city of the ancient Kingdom of Israel. Many ancient remains can be seen there, including pillars dating back to the First Temple period and a giant amphitheater from the days of King Herod in the Second Temple period.
It is located just a few miles to the north-west of Shechem (Nablus), however, making it relatively difficult for Israelis to access and easy for local Arabs to reach. This week, members of the Shomrim Al Hanetzach (Protecting Eternity) organization, accompanied by local council members, were shocked to discover that heavy machinery had been moved there and a road paved right in the heart of the archaeological site, along a route extending from Area B a further 400 yards into Area C.
In order to pave the road, a wall dating back to Herodian times was destroyed and burial caves dating back to the Second Temple period were smashed, looted, and obliterated.
Furthermore, people believed to be officials from the Palestinian Authority had flung the carasses of pigs into the ancient graves in an attempt to deter Israeli archaeologists from entering the area and revealing the extent of the destruction wrought. Indeed, the Palestinian Authority has been building infrastructure in the area for the past few months, destroying archaeological remains in the process.
Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan was horrified at this latest development and appealed to the relevant authorities to intervene. "This is an attempt to systematically and decisively destroy any connection between the State of Israel and the Jewish People, and one of our most important cultural and historic sites," he said. "These are unique remains from the period of the ancient Kingdom of Israel. It's a disgrace that Jewish history is being destroyed in such a manner, and under the very noses of the Israeli government," he added.
"Anyone who loves Israel and who cares about cultural history must demand an immediate halt to the damage being done at the site," Dagan continued. "A military guard should be placed around the clock in order to protect this cultural site which is being systematically and barbarically destroyed, day by day, by this terrorist entity that calls itself the Palestinian Authority. "
Moshe Gutman, the director of Shomrim Al Hanetzach, added, "We are losing ancient Samaria. The destruction is intensifying as the months go by with no real response, with no one being arrested for what is being done. The Israeli government must now respond immediately and harshly, just as harshly as if attempts were being made to destroy the ancient ruins at the national park in Caesarea. We must not remain silent."