The Palestinian village of Susiya faces demolition orders for all of its 50 buildings after years of relative calm. The decision was contested with official and physical protests.On the June 12 Israeli authorities told the villagers of Susiya, a Palestinian village in the south Hebron hills, that the hamlet will be completely demolished, says news agency Ma’an. The demolition orders were preceded a week earlier by the prohibition of new construction in the village. The demolition is on behalf of a petition presented by a settler group who would like to exploit the village for itself.
The orders, which include the demolition of homes, a social center, a solar generator, and a health clinic, resulted in an official condemnation from the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Nearly 200 international protesters went to Susiya on June 22 to support the residents and contest the planned demolitions, reports the Palestinian News Network. Israeli forces stopped the demonstrators’ march using stun grenades and tear gas.
Demolition is nothing new in Susiya; the village is neighbored by an Israeli settlement built on village lands. Israel declared the area an archeological site in the 1980s. In 1986 most of the Palesitian villagers were forced to the outskirts of their land. In 1999 the entire village was evacuated by the Israeli military before some residents were granted a temporary permission to return by the Israeli High Court.
Susiya is, under the Oslo Accords of 1993, defined as “Area C” and is in full Israeli control. During the last decade Israel has used this authority to expand settlements near Susiya and throughout Area C at the expense of Palestinians, who often see their villages and lands gradually and forcefully taken over.
Israel has ignored all domestic and international calls to stop the expansion of settlements despite having been found in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and various other binding international legal agreements in hundreds of cases.
On Monday, Akiva Eldar, a prominent Israeli journalist and chief political columnist and editorial writer for the liberal Israeli national daily Haaretz, reported that Israel is acting on stripping the Palestinian property rights, and pushing them out of their country by demolishing their homes, confiscating their lands, and by not granting them construction permits, the Arabs48 news website reported.
Eldar said that an example of these policies is what Israel is doing in Susiya, adding that it is shameful that the Israeli police is not “conducting decisive actions against Israeli settlers invading privately-owned Palestinian lands”.