The struggle against the forced displacement of Susya to Area A

For English subtitles, go to the “cc” button on the bottom right side of the video window and choose “on.”  If you can’t see the cc option, click on the youtube icon which will take you directly to the youtube video.


On May 5 2015, Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled to allow the army to demolish the entire village of Susya and expel its residents, numbering around 340 men, women and children, to Area A of the Occupied Territories. Considered a highly unusual move, the court refused to grant an interim order freezing the implementation of the demolition until the court hears the discussion on the appeal to authorise the village. The opposition of the state to the interim order request suggests that it intends to demolish the village in the near future.



340 residents of Susya face deportation: An ongoing story of injustice

• The Palestinian village of Susya in the West Bank is an ancient historic village. Its residents lived in ancient caves for decades before the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

• 30 years ago the IDF evicted the village residents in favor of an archaeological site and expropriated their land.  The expropriation was illegal and not really needed.

• The residents moved to their private land where they survived for 30 years without infrastructure for electricity and water.

• In 2001,  the army destroyed the caves at the present site and tried to evict the residents. The High Court of Justice ordered the army to stop the eviction. After the caves were destroyed, not having a roof over their heads, the residents were forced to erect tents and sheds to survive.

• The unauthorized construction in Palestinian Susya is neither criminal nor “an attempt to seize land.” It is being done on private land out of lack of choice.

• All of the residents’ attempts over the years to obtain building permits were rejected by the army. Neither appeals nor requests for clemency helped.

• The only solution is to legalize planning for the village. The residents raised large amounts of money, hired experts and submitted outline plans to the army. The plans were rejected on the basis of discriminatory reasons and unequal criteria.

• The State raised no security arguments nor did it argue against the petitioners’ ownership of their land. The only basis for erasing the village is supposedly planning claims but in fact it is a political decision.

• Now the State wishes to destroy the 100 flimsy structures and sheds the evicted residents built on their private farming land after their caves were destroyed, and to throw the residents into the desert.

• The residents petitioned the HCJ against the rejection of the plan and requested an interim order to freeze demolitions until the petition was heard. Expulsion of the village residents would be a grave breach international law. The High Court of Justice refused to grant an interim order. This means the army can destroy the village at any moment.

• Destruction of the village would create a severe humanitarian crisis. 340 people, including 140 children, would be thrown out without any social or public network to absorb them.

• Evicting the residents from their agricultural land will facilitate the settlers’ takeover of their land, as already happened on about 400 dunams of agricultural land surrounding the Jewish settlement of Susiya.

• Demolition of the village is part of a larger initiative to squeeze Palestinians out of Area C and into areas A and B.

The big picture:

The danger of demolishing and expropriating the village of Susya reflects the systemic problem of planning for Palestinian villages located in Area C; in these villages, planning is done by military planning committees, without representation of Palestinians, with the intent of preventing residents from building on their own land based on reasonable and professional planning standards. A recent High Court petition, submitted by the village council Dirat, Rabbis for Human Rights, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Society, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and St. Yves – Catholic Human Rights Center, demands  planning authority be returned to Palestinian villages for their own communities in order to prevent the tragic demolitions of hundreds of homes every year due to the impossibility of obtaining building permits.

Read the (abbreviated) appeal requesting the interim order on demolitions, submitted  in response to the state’s rejection of all planning alternatives submitted by the village of Susya 

For additional details:

Download the PDF file .

Download the pdf



Media round-up:


WATCH: Videos, photos and other multimedia on the struggle to save Susya!

Demonstration from May 16th against the demolition of Susya including Susya residents alongside international and local activists

Sky News Channel (Arabic) on Susya featuring Advocate Quamar Mishirqi-Assad, the head of RHR’s legal department in the OT

قرية فلسطينية تعاني شبح التهجير

Short video on planning discrimination for Palestinians living in Area C To view with English subtitles, view in youtube, and click on the “cc” button on the bottom right. If you can’t see the cc option, click on the youtube icon which will take you directly to the youtube video. Displacement: A short film by ActiveStills on the dream for the serenity and peace that only the safety of home can bring.

My Home is Everything: A film made by the residents of Susiya Rabbi Arik Ascherman, president and senior rabbi of RHR, on Israel radio on the history of Susya and why its residents must not be expelled (Hebrew): Archives of  previous Susya posts

© 2018 Rabbis for Human Rights. Powered by WordPress.