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.
JULY 19 UPDATE: THE ARMY HAS WARNED THAT DEMOLITIONS WILL OCCUR BETWEEN JULY 20TH AND THE AUGUST 3RD COURT DATE.
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.
For additional details:
- PRESS RELEASE: Israeli state pushes court to take unusual step threatening demolition of entire village, May 6 2015
- The Jerusalem Post, Tovah Lazaroff: High Court ruling paves way for demolition of unauthorised village, May 5 2015
- 972 Magazine, Mairav Zonszein: IDF maps village of Susya as forced displacement looms, May 10 2015
- Palestine News Network: Israeli court to demolish entire Palestinian village, May 10 2015
- B’tselem: Civil Administration mays Susiya – residents fear imminent demolition, May 10 2015
- Haaretz, Aeyal Gross: Israel’s discrimination of Bedouin gets high court stamp of approval, May 11 2015
- Haaretz, Amira Hass: Israeli colonialism -plain and simple, May 11 2015
- Haaretz Editorial: Court-approved dispossession of of Israeli Bedouin, May 13 2015
- British Consul and other diplomats visit Susya, May 13 2015
- 972 Magazine, Dror Etkes: For one Palestinian village: A judge, settler and demolisher, May 18 2015 (Not all the views expressed in this article represent those of RHR)
- Photos from a tour of Susya to inform people of the struggle of the residents against forced displacement. Help spread the word of the struggle by sharing and using the hashtag #SaveSusiya
- First-hand testimony – The expulsion of Susya in 1986, May 19 2015
- Primary source – Plia Albeck, “mother of the settlements” confirmed Susya’s existence and ownership rights in 1982
WATCH: Videos, photos and other multimedia on the struggle to save Susya!
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