Hundreds Protest Forced Transfer and Destruction of Palestinian Village of Susiya

Over 500 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists descended on the Palestinian village of Susiya on Friday, July 24, to protest its imminent demolition and the forced transfer of its residents. Among the demonstrators: members of “Combatants for Peace,” “Rabbis for Human Rights,” and Hadash-Communist Party of Israel.

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists march to demand that Israel not demolish Suyisa, South Hebron Hills, July 24, 2015.

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists march to demand that Israel not demolish Suyisa, South Hebron Hills, July 24, 2015. (Photo: Activestills)

The activists marched through the village, stopping at various homes along their way to hear the stories of families facing eviction and transfer. At the end of the demonstration activists hung a huge banner in Hebrew, Arabic and English in view of passing settlers, declaring that “Palestinian Susiya is here to stay!”

Palestinian parliamentarian Mustafa Barghoutti praised the non-violent popular resistance model adopted by the residents of Susiya and many other Palestinian villages. “Combining popular resistance on the ground, international solidarity and boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli policies,” Barghoutti said “is very productive and very effective at this stage.”

The Israeli army first demolished the village of Khirbet Susiya, deep in the desolate South Hebron Hills, three decades ago, on the grounds that it was located on an archeological site. Susiya’s residents, many of whom lived in caves on the site for generations, packed up and moved a few hundred meters away, onto their adjacent agricultural lands.

Israeli Forces Open Live Fire on Demonstrators at Nabi Saleh, Wounding Two

According to the Ma’an news agency, two Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli forces Friday, July 24, during a weekly demonstration in the occupied West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, witnesses said. Israeli forces had reportedly prepared an ambush near the path where demonstrators planned to walk, and opened live fire as the marchers headed towards land confiscated by the neighboring Jewish settlement of Halamish.

During the incident, forces shot a 17-year-old with two live bullets. Witnesses say a bullet passed through one thigh, entering and stopping in the teen’s other thigh, while a second bullet hit him in the back. A 27-year-old was also shot in the leg. The injured demonstrators were taken to hospital in Ramallah for treatment. According to witnesses, for a short period of time Israeli soldiers attempted to prevent the ambulance carrying those wounded from leaving the scene. In the past few days two Palestinians have died from live Israeli fire, bringing the total number of fatalities at the hands of Israeli forces to 17 since the start of 2015. Rights groups have criticized Israel for disproportionate use of force against unarmed civilians during demonstrations.

Residents of Nabi Saleh – similar to villages and towns across the occupied West Bank – have staged weekly demonstrations for years in protest of the confiscation of private land by Israeli authorities. Large portions of the Jewish settlement of Halamish are built on land belonging to residents of Nabi Saleh.