Hundreds March against Planned Demolition of Palestinian West Bank Village

Hundreds of Israeli and international peace activists joined the villagers of Susya, midday Friday, June 5, in a solidarity march against the planned demolition of the village and the expulsion of its residents. The march at Susya, southeast of Hebron, was organized by Combatants for Peace and the local village youth committee, in commemoration of Naksa Day which marks the June 1967 war and the start of the occupation of the West Bank.

MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List) addresses the solidarity rally against the planned demolition of the Susiya and expulsion of its residents.

MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List) addresses the solidarity rally against the planned demolition of the Susya and expulsion of its residents. (Photo: Hadash)

Upon arrival of the peace activists in Susya, they were greeted by the villagers, and then split into three groups which paid visits to individual families during which they were told of the various hardships encountered by the villagers at the hands of the Israeli settlers and the military. The march started around noon, with participants carrying signs declaring: “There is Another Way!”, “Save Susya!”, and “Stop the Occupation!” During the march and the ensuing protest rally, they chanted: “End the occupation! No more settlements! Two states for two peoples!”

At the rally, communist MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List) said: “There is no better place to commemorate Naksa Day than Susya. Its story summarizes in a nutshell the entire story of the occupation.” Khenin added: “They [Israel] are telling the residents: you have no place in the world. This path of dispossession and expulsion is obviously meant to prevent Palestinians from having a future. But the truth is, it also prevents a real future for Israelis. The battle against it is not only a battle of solidarity and justice, but also the battle for our own future.”

Hafez Hureini, Beer-Sheva/Hebron Palestinian coordinator of Combatants for Peace said: “We are here today to show how the Israeli military is forcing people out of their homes, and to stand up against the injustice being perpetrated by the occupation.” Shai Eluk, Beer-Sheva/Hebron Israeli coordinator of Combatants for Peace said: “Three years ago I was here as a soldier, serving in the southern Hebron region. Shortly after I got here, I realized I had to talk to the villagers I met, and ask them about their lives. When I understood the situation, I approached my commander and told him that I was unable to continue serving in the West Bank, since my presence here supports the violence and the occupation.”

The Palestinian village of Susya, is located in Area C in south Hebron Hills. Due to the planning policy of the occupation Civil Administration in Area C, which systematically blocks any possibility for planning and issuing of building permits to Palestinians, the village has not received approval for its master plan and the risk of expulsion has constantly hovered over the heads of the villagers. Since 2001, by means of violence and harassment, Israeli settlers have taken over much land belonging to the village, with the aim of entirely driving the Palestinian residents from their lands. Last month, Israel’s Supreme Court authorized the Civil Administration to demolish the village, a decision which will involve expelling the villagers, even before their master plan has been submitted for review.

The planned expulsion will leave hundreds of families homeless during the summer months with no alternate abode and force them to become refugees in their own land with no place to go. Susya is one village, but the threat to it is the story of many villages in Palestine, where lives are threatened on a daily basis by the occupation. This policy is part of the overall attempt by Israel to drive all Palestinians in the West Bank into Area A. This is the area defined in the Oslo Accords in which full civil and security control is in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, but which constitutes only about 3% of the total area of the West Bank, not including occupied East Jerusalem and the surrounding areas officially annexed by Israel as part of Greater Jerusalem.

As such, what is happening in Susiya in these days, with the imminent expulsion of its residents and looming demolition of the village, represents a dangerous precedent which must be resisted.


Hadash: Solidarity with Susya residents