As of Jan. 2016 Israeli authorities stepped up efforts to expel Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, Ma’ale Adumim area and the Jordan Valley, demolishing 73 homes and 51 other structures, some donated by aid agencies. Israel recently announced plans to demolish many more structures in Kh. Susiya, expel Abu a-Nuwar’s residents, and reported its failed mediation with Masafer Yatta. All are part of a policy whereby Area C is to serve Israel rather than West Bank Palestinians. Restrictions Israel imposes in Area C force all West Bank Palestinians to live in crowded enclaves without land reserves for building, farming, infrastructure, health and education services or freedom of movement.
On Thursday morning, 4 February 2016, Civil Administration (CA) officials came to the Palestinian shepherding community of al-Mkassar in the northern Jordan Valley with bulldozers and a military escort. They proceeded to demolish four tents that were home to two families – a total of 19 people, including 12 minors. They also demolished eight livestock pens. These families had already lost their homes in a previous demolition in June 2015. Later that the day, around noon, CA and military forces came to the Palestinian community of Khirbet Susiya in the South Hebron Hills, where they dismantled and confiscated two tents that were home to a family of eight, including six minors. The tents were donated to the family after their two previous tents were demolished about two weeks ago, on 20 January 2016.
Since the beginning of 2016 Israel has demolished eight Palestinian homes in the area defined as E1 and two homes in the South Hebron Hills, including one in Khirbet Susiya, where residents have struggled for years against expulsion and settler takeover. These demolitions serve Israel’s policy to create immutable facts on the ground ahead of any future agreement. This longstanding policy, which creates an impossible daily reality for Palestinians in Area C, constitutes forced transfer of protected residents within the occupied territory.
In a letter sent this morning to the Civil Administration, representatives of the village of Susiya demanded that the authorities freeze all the demolitions planned over the coming days in the village. The letter was sent after it emerged that the scale of destruction the state seeks to sow in Susiya is much greater than was previously thought, and includes almost half the structures in the village. If the structures are demolished, the residents will have no way to survive in the area in conditions of extreme heat and cold. Accordingly, the action effectively constitutes the expulsion of the residents from their land.
On 15 June 2015, a Civil Administration official again came to Khirbet Susiya, accompanied by Border Police. The official took photographs of several structures in the community, including the school, and left without explaining the reason for his actions.
A Civil Administration representative accompanied by soldiers arrived this morning at Khirbet Susiya, the South Hebron Hills and photographed and measured structures there. Based on past experience, residents fear the CA is preparing to demolish the village shortly and eject them from their land. This further to Justice Sohlberg’s decision to not issue an interim injunction on demolitions as sought by the residents in a petition that argued that the CA rejected their master plan for immaterial reasons. This harsh, unlawful move is part of Israel’s policy in Area C to facilitate the takeover of Palestinian land for settlements and the removal of Palestinian communities from Area C to Areas A and B in preparation for the annexation of lands to Israel.
At any moment, the Civil Administration might demolish all homes in the Khirbet Susiya, expelling the residents from their land. This follows a High Court decision not to issue an interim order to prevent the demolition, given in a petition filed by the residents and Rabbis for Human Rights arguing that the CA rejected their master plan for unprofessional reasons, using a double standard and discrimination against Palestinians. This cruel, illegal move is part of Israel’s policy in Area C to facilitate annexation of lands to Israel.
On Tuesday, 12 June 2012, Israel’s Civil Administration distributed demolition orders to over 50 temporary structures in the Palestinian village of Susiya in the South Hebron Hills. Residents were given three days, until 15 June 2012, to appeal the orders through the Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Council. Residents are planning to submit their opposition today (14 June 2012).If the demolition orders are carried out, this will be the third time that Israel has tried to expel the residents of Susiya from their lands.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.