Israel Orders Susiya Village Destroyed
by Stephen Lendman
Ethnic cleansing is longstanding Israeli policy – removing Palestinians from their privately owned land earmarked for exclusive Jewish development.
On May 5, 2015, Israel’s High Court ruled in favor of demolition – a bandit act. An entire village will be ruthlessly destroyed. Around 340 Palestinian residents will be forcibly displaced – moved elsewhere against their will to worthless scrubland.
Justices refused to grant an interim order freezing demolition until an appeal is heard and ruled on. Bulldozing homes and other property will begin after July 17 – when Ramadan ends.
Last Sunday, Israel’s Civil Administration, the IDF and Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced the decision in a meeting with villagers.
Efforts to save Susiya began in 2012. Residents built homes in 1986 on agricultural land they own – after Israel evicted them from nearby private property lawlessly declared an archeological site as an ethnic cleansing pretext.
Susiya is in Area C – under full Israeli control, covering over 60% of West Bank territory. Villagers can’t build on their own land without near-impossible to get permit permission.
Their choice is building “illegally” or leaving, abandoning land they own. Village council head Jihad al-Nawajaa said residents were ordered displaced on the phony pretext of Susiya lacking proper infrastructure – what Israel systematically denies them.
Settlers living on stolen Palestinian land readily get government services – including ones living on 300 hectares of Susiya land.
In 2014, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported Israel lawlessly demolished 590 Palestinian-owned West Bank and East Jerusalem structures – displacing 1,177 Palestinians.
Its authorities refuse to recognize 35 Bedouin Negev-based villages – home to around 90,000 people. Plans approved call for forcibly displacing nearly 40,000 from village lands they own – moving them to unacceptable areas critics call “reservations.”
Susiya is an ancient village. Its modern-day form was established in the 1830s. In 1986, Israel stole parts of its residential land for “public use” – for a so-called “archeological park,” forcing residents to live in caves and tin shacks hundreds of meters away.
In 2008, Hebrew University Professor David Dean Shulman called Susiya a village home for “impoverished families…clinging tenaciously, but probably hopelessly, to the dry hilltop and the few fields that are all that remain of their vast ancestral lands.”
Displacements have been ongoing for 30 years. Exclusive Jewish development is systematically replacing Palestinians on land they own – removing them forcibly in the process.
Years earlier, Israel declared village residents a threat to Jewish settlers. They had to go.
In a June 2012 New York Review of Books
article titled “I Am an Illegal Alien on My Own Land,” Shulman quoted activist Susiya resident Nasser Nawaja saying:
“They’re calling our village an illegal outpost. These lands are ours from before there was a State of Israel. My father is older than your state – and I am an illegal alien on my own land. I ask where is justice?”
“Your courts distinguish between the settler and the Palestinian…We’re surrounded by illegal (Jewish occupied) outposts that have everything – infrastructures of water and electricity – despite the fact that these settlements are illegal even under Israeli law.”
“And now you want to expel this old man from his home once again? To expel all of us who own these lands, who have lived on them for generations in this space that is ours, which is all we know?”
On August 3, Israel’s High Court will hear villagers’ appeal for justice. By then it’ll be too late. Demolition will be completed. Facts on the ground will be established.
Hundreds of residents will have been forcibly displaced from land they own – facing dire humanitarian conditions where Israel intends sending them, before their appeal is heard.
Shulman earlier called Susiya “a microcosm of the Israeli occupation, a lucid embodiment of its norms and habits…No one should pretend that any of this is anything but a crime” against humanity.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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