On the edge of the southern villages of Nablus, close to the town of Madma, Jabal Salman Al-Farsi, also known as the Mount of Salman, the Persian, is located. It has recently become the focus of attention and a daily arena for attacks by Israeli settlers and criminal gangs especially from the settlement of Yitzhar.

In recent years, settlers have been turning the Mount into a permanent spot for arson attacks and stealing of its stones and trees in preparation for its complete confiscation and annexation to the nearby settlement of Yitzhar.


Systematic targeting

Talaat Ziadeh, the head of the village local council, spoke to the PIC about the targeting of the mountain, saying: “There is a systematic plan targeting the region by deliberate arson attacks, and the uprooting of the trees on daily basis by the criminal Jewish gangs.”

According to Ziadeh, the Mount is located to the south of the village of Madma and the villages of Burin and Aseira Al-Qabalia, Hawara, Aruf and Ainobus. It has a height of 850-900 meters, and it has a strategic and historical importance as it contains a shrine and a mosque named after Salman the Persian, one of the famous Companions of Prophet Mohammed, as well as a tourist landmark, known as Al-Khasfa or Biir Al-Hamam.

Ziadeh stresses that Israeli settlers’ attacks resulted in the uprooting of thousands of olive trees, figs and almonds. The mountain used to be covered with trees of all kinds. Today, there are very few trees left due to the systematic plan pursued by the settlers’ gangs who burn and uproot the trees of the village and other neighboring villages. At the same time, these gangs take over thousands of acres of confiscated agricultural land, planting their own trees instead.

Ziadeh confirms that the increase of attacks by the settlers, and the targeting of the Mount aim at eliminating any Palestinian presence in the area, in addition to other attempts to seize new land in the vicinity of the village of Madma.


Water theft

He added that the settlers not only burned and seized areas of the mountain and other lands of the citizens, but they also stole their water and transferred it to be used at the lands they confiscated.

He added, “The irony is that they burn our trees and plant their trees in the vicinity of the colony after stealing the water of the spring of the village of Madma, thus forcing our people into water deprivation.”

He noted: “Settlers deliberately shoot at anyone who approaches the Mount, as what happened recently with the young Ma'amoun Nassar and the shooting of Mahmoud Abdel Ghani, who was shot by the occupation soldiers.”

He pointed out that activities by the popular committee of the people of Madma and its neighboring villages, in addition to local institutions, are what prevent Israeli settlers from controlling more land of the village, isolating its land and displacing its people and confiscating their property.