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Call to action: Protest the demolition of entire Palestinian village

This Friday, Israelis will stand in solidarity with the Palestinians of Susya to oppose the Israeli authorities’ plan to wipe out the entire village following demolition orders issued by the Civil Administration. A call to action.

Children of Susya (photo: Ela Greenberg)

The Palestinian village of Susya in Area C of the southern West Bank is under threat of imminent destruction, following the June 7 interim injunction by the High Court of Justice to stop construction in the village, and subsequent Civil Administration orders for the 52 structures that comprise the village. The orders are based on the fact that Palestinians there are building illegally without permits – like essentially everywhere in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank – where  Israel has a clear policy of  prohibiting Palestinians from building, not to mention getting on the electricity and water grids. (Read Nasser Nawaj’ah’s personal account of the history and status of Susya here.)

Residents of Susya suffer from continuous harassment and abuse by Israeli settlers and by the army. For over a decade, Israeli activists have been trying to assist the people of Susya fight the legal battle to keep them on what is left of their lands, celebrating weddings and births with them, cleaning wells, putting up solar-energy installations in the village, and standing by them in their homes and fields when confronted with settlers and the army.

The Civil Administration (essentially the administrative arm of the IDF that implements occupation policies) has now distributed demolition orders which, if carried out, will destroy the entire village. This means only one thing: cruel and violent expulsion.

Unlike the Ulpana settlement affair, no one will offer the residents of Susya any reimbursement. They will receive no alternative housing. No one will speak of a housing arrangement during the interim period. The state will not offer to relocate their homes.

I have been to Susya many times and feel a personal connection to the people and the place, which has no representation or say in its own livelihood. It is completely subject to the whims of Israel’s policies of discrimination, oppression, and ultimately cleansing, which even Israel’s so-called “leftist” Supreme Court has endorsed.

Children of Susya (photo: Ela Greenberg)

I am turning to all readers – those of you who are in Israel: Please spread the word and come with us to the protest vigil on Friday. Those of you who are abroad: we urge you to make your protest known, urgently, in whatever ways you can, in the media, in appeals to your representatives in government and in high positions, to anyone who can intervene.

Although the Occupation as a whole aims at dispossessing Palestinian civilians as its raison d’etre, only rarely have we seen an attempt like this to drive out an entire village in one fell swoop. This of course, has barely gotten any attention in Israeli news, much less the international media.

If their village is demolished, the residents of Palestinian Susya will simply be driven into the desert, and not for the first time. Since the establishment of the nearby Israeli settlement of Susya in 1983, the residents of Palestinian Susya were evicted from their lands four times.

This is not the first time the Palestinians of Susya have been expelled from their lands; we must not let it happen again.

Join us this Friday June 22.  For more information, feel free to email me and I will put you in touch with relevant contacts

This post has been updated to reflect the accuracy of the legal proceedings surrounding Susya’s future. 

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    1. I will try to do what I can to help by sharing the same information with as many people as I can and if possible letting it be known in the local media in my area. I admire your effort and all Israelis that show this same courage. You are demonstrating the real moral and spiritual character of the majority of the Jewish people.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Rehmat

      I’m sure Canadian-Israeli firms, Green Mount International and Green Park International, would be excited to bid for the construction of new Jewish settlement there. They can even get some tax break from Israel-Firster prime minister of Canada, H.E. Stephen Harper.


      Reply to Comment
    3. No comment, the pictures are speaking!

      Reply to Comment
    4. Joel

      How many villagers are there currently living in Susya?

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    5. “Never again” is apparently under copyright control by a single “people.”
      Human right transcend legality. The High Court probably reasoned that since no deed ownership can be provided for the area, it is under State control. In this way the Court honors, in its own head, private ownership, even though such ownership is in many if not most instances nearly State feudal in Israel.
      The number of contradictions Israel lives under is difficult to fathom. Someday, a crack will appear, and widen. But not for those of this day.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Kolumn9

      Greg, Ownership here is not actually relevant. The absence of permission from the authorities for construction is sufficient and the authorities here as per the Oslo Accords is the Israeli Civil Administration (aka the IDF).

      It is about time that Israel deals with all the illegal construction that goes on in the Arab sector. Such construction is prejudicing the outcome of future negotiations and is illegal as per the same agreements that people on certain boards use against Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    7. K9,
      Actually ownership is quite relevant. There are use rights with ownership. Voiding those rights by an Accord that Israel has essentially abrogated is not a strong legal argument. (Go back to Bibi I and ask when Oslo was violated on tax transfers.) You are, however, quite right to be worried about ownership claims: you’ve seen how your Court can pivot on that issue, and we wouldn’t want to slow down the expunging of residents who have lived in the area a good long while. Expunging the unclean is a good thing, no?
      And you are right to avoid the concept of human rights. But why fear? Are not the residents of the dangerous Susya unhuman?
      You won some time ago. Now you tranform your win into a monstrousity. And I’m not the only one to see it. G-d has made so many people, to look at one another in their acts.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Mairav Zonszein

      @Joel, according to OCHA figures for 2012, there are 350 Palestinians living in Susya.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Palestinian

      “The absence of permission from the authorities for construction is sufficient and the authorities here as per the Oslo Accords is the Israeli Civil Administration (aka the IDF” ……..permission ? we have to take permision from the thieves to build on our own land ?do Israelis take permission from the Palestinians when they build anywhere in Palestine ?what kind of justice or logic do people like K9 have ?!

      Reply to Comment
    10. Arib

      Wow, when you replace the word Palestinian with Jew and the name Susya with Migron or Ulpana. how different the response. The anti-semitism is palpable.

      Reply to Comment
    11. sh

      For each house demolished in Migron and Ulpana several houses will be built for each family evicted and they will be housed meanwhile. The inhabitants of Susya are being sent out into the wilderness with no provision for their survival and no sign of an offer of alternative housing. The racism and total disrespect for human life when It’s not Jewish is palpable.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Kolumn9

      Greg, use rights are absolutely not absolute. In any and all places they are superceded to planning and other regulations by the powers that be. This is especially the case in setting up villages or towns since sooner or later these need to be connected to water and electricity networks such as the one Israel built in the West Bank since 1967. In other words, houses can be built illegally even on one own’s land as is the case here.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Arib

      SH, what wilderness? they don’t need Israel to build them replacement houses they all have houses in the nearby village of Yatta. Get your facts right. All you are defending is a blatant land grab by residents of Yatta

      Reply to Comment