Dozens of Israeli settlers on Wednesday morning stormed Sebastia town, north of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, at the pretext of visiting and performing rituals at the archeological site.
Sebastia mayor Mohamed Azem said that scores of settlers stormed, under military protection, the ancient area of the town.
Azem added that the Israeli occupation forces cordoned off the area and bared local residents from using the paths and roads leading to it.
He warned of Israeli intents to storm Sebastia town every Wednesday to secure visits to the historic site for Israeli settlers.
Sebastia is a mixture of structural remains and modern buildings and it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the West Bank.
It was once a major city, home to successive civilizations from its Arab Canaanite founders to the Romans and then its modern-day Palestinian inhabitants.
Both the major archaeological site above the village and the historic center of the town itself are still fascinating tourist attractions.
However, this unique ancient town is exposed to systematic attempts by Israel and its ministry of tourism to obliterate and Judaize its Arab history and identity.
According to Azem, Israel prevents the Palestinian local authorities from carrying out any restoration or cleaning works at the historical sites in the town.
Every once in a while, groups of settlers escorted by soldiers provocatively storm the main archaeological site of the town in broad daylight to perform religious rituals as part of an Israeli attempt to claim it as a Jewish shrine.
At nighttime, the site becomes vulnerable to acts of sabotage and plundering by settlers and thieves.