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.
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.
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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