SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Bulldozers working for Israeli settlers have been seen leveling private Palestinian fields in the northern outskirts of Deir Istiya village in the central West Bank.
Witnesses told Ma'an that the activity was part of the ongoing major expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement of Yaqir.
Khalid Maali, a Salfit-based researcher who monitors settlement growth, says the illegal Yaqir settlement has been prospering recently at the expense of private lands of the Palestinian villages of Deir Istiya, Haris, and Qarawat Bani Hassan.
Construction work has been ongoing on a major project which started last year to build 1,200 settler houses. He said that the settlement was established in 1981 and was one of the first illegal settlements in Salfit district.