RHR Campaign: Save Susiya | 2015

Rabbis for Human Rights: 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.

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The materials in this post are taken from: Rabbis for Human Rights’s website

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