In recent weeks, Arabs have razed part of a structure in the ancient Shomron site of Sebastia, destroying part of a historic train station, Channel Ten reported. The illegally paved road encroaches on Israeli state land that is part of a national historic site.
The train station was the destination of a major march some 40 years ago by members of Gush Emunim – a movement that eventually prompted the massive settlement of Jews in Yehudah and Shomron. The train station was built over 100 years ago by the Ottoman Turks on land that was declared state land from before the establishment of Israel.
A special committee was formed several years ago to restore and improve the site and promote it as a tourist spot. In previous years, numerous events were held there on Chol Hamo’ed and during other vacation periods; Sebastia was even popular for a time as a wedding site, with a caterer on the premises providing meals for the celebrants.
Preparations for the roadwork had been going on for several months before the actual paving of the road, and, alerted to the situation, attorneys from the Regavim organization sent a letter to Civil Authority officials warning them of the impending violation. The organization sent several other letters as the work began and continued – none of them meriting a response, said Regavim.
In response to queries by Channel Ten, the Civil Authority said it was investigating the situation.