40% of Susiya could be destroyed in less than a week. That is the grim reality facing 160 of the Palestinians in this small village in South Hebron Hills. In Area C of the West Bank, Palestinians are prohibited from building on their own lands without obtaining permits from the Israeli Civil Administration. These permits are routinely denied, even though the Israeli government has a responsibility to provide for the schooling, healthcare and daily needs of people living in the occupied territories. Needing to provide for their families and children, the people of Susiya, with financial support from international aid groups, built structures that include tents for living, animal pens, latrines, a school, a clinic, and a green energy electricity generator. Israeli and international human rights groups like B’Tselem, Tayyush and EAPPI have had a long relationship with the families in Susiya and have helped raise awareness about the village that has kept demolition at bay. But the right-wing Israeli group Regavim wants Susiya village gone, so that the illegal Israeli settlement of Susiya (note they chose the same name) can expand and take over the hill top. They have petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice to have the “illegal outpost” of Susiya demolished (International Law deems the occupier’s settling of its inhabitants on the land of the occupied people illegal; this means that the Israeli settlement of Susiya is truly illegal).
Currently the people of Susiya are working with legal counsel and Rabbis for Human Rights to work through the courts. They have been able to push back demolition for a short time, but legal avenues are running out. What is needed is to raise awareness in the Court of Public Opinion. If Americans and other members of the international community speak out against the demolition of Susiya and other Palestinian homes and villages in the West Bank, the chances are greater that the Israeli Civil Administration will stay the demolitions.
What you can do:
We encourage you to:
- Send this information to your networks.
- Inform your representative in government about what is happening in Susiya.
- Update news/media agencies (radio, TV & print) about Susiya’s dilemma.
- Contact (Preferably fax) the following officials and call on them to allow Palestinians in Area C to have their right to adequate housing and infrastructure without the threat of demolitions:
o Your Ambassador and/or Consul General in Israel
o The Israeli Ambassador in your country
o Israeli Minister of Defense:
§ Ehud Barak
§ Ministry of Defence
o Israeli Military Judge Advocate General:
§ Major General Avihai Mandelblit
§ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
o Israeli Military Chief of Staff
§ Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz
§ Fax: +972.3.691.6940 / +972.697.6218