BETHLEHEM- Israeli settlers Friday broke into Solomon’s Pools archaeological site, south of Bethlehem, and performed religious rituals there, said security sources.
At least 40 settlers broke into the site under tight protection by Israeli forces, and carried out talmudic rituals there.
Earlier in February, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah stressed in a cabinet meeting that was held at the site in defiance to repeated attempts by Israeli settlers to take over it that the pools, ancient water reservoirs located south of Bethlehem, are an Islamic waqf (trust) and considered as an archaeological reserve since 1929.
He said this area was neglected after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967 until the rule of the Palestinian Authority in 1994 when the Palestinian private sector restored the pools and developed the area near it where a convention center and a shopping area were built.
Efforts should be exerted to protect this area from the rabid settlement drive it is facing and attempts by Israelis to turn it into a Jewish site after obliterating its Arab Islamic and Christian history, said Hamdallah.
Source: Palestine News & Info Agency (WAFA)