In the rocky, dry hills south of Hebron, the village of Susiya – where human presence dates back thousands of years – may soon be wiped off the map, if Israel has its way.
On 5 May, Judge Noam Sohlberg – a settler from the Alon Shvut settlement – denied Susiya’s petition for an interim injunction to freeze all demolitions until the Supreme Court reviews its case on 3 August 2015. His ruling, considered highly unusual, means that Israeli authorities could demolish more than 100 houses, the school and the clinic at any moment, displacing more than 300 Palestinians.
Susiya is an ancient historic Palestinian village. Its residents lived in ancient caves for decades before Israel occupied the West Bank.
In 1986, the Israeli military declared the village an archeological site and forcibly displaced sixty families without compensation. Then Israeli settlers from a nearby settlement with the same name took over of more land, establishing a synagogue and an archeological park.
In 2001, the Israeli military completely destroyed the village and forcibly displaced the residents again, but the villagers did not give up. They rebuilt again despite Israeli’s discriminatory planning policies which deny Palestinians the right to build legally, especially in areas near settlements.
With more demolition orders threatening their community, the villagers sought legal help from Rabbis for Human Rights and submitted a Master Plan to gain “authorized” status by Israel.
When the Civil Administration rejected the plan, Susiya residents appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court. However, Judge Sohlberg’s ruling might seal the fate of Susiya before the Supreme Court gets a chance to review the plan.
The villagers are uniting with other Palestinian, international and Israeli peacemakers to save Susiya from destruction. You can help by signing a petition in support of Palestinian Susiya at https://goo.gl/okXRoJ.
You can view a CPT video of a Susiya resident explaining the situation at https://goo.gl/rbdw7D.
The Palestine team’s relationship with the people of Susiya dates back to the late 1990s. Your support helps keep CPTers on the ground building partnerships to transform violence and oppression. Contribute at cpt.org/participate/donate.