Today marks the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and the people of the West Bank village of Susiya are calling for international pressure to halt the urgent threat of Israel destroying one fifth of their village. CCR has a long history of opposing Israel’s demolition of the homes of Palestinian families, which makes up part of the wider scope of our work opposing Israel’s ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory.
Today, we continue to stand firmly in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom as they mark the fiftieth year of living under military occupation; heeding and sharing the urgent call of the people of Susiya is one way to do that. The threat of demolition is imminent in Susiya: the villagers and their lawyers report that the State of Israel’s Attorney’s Office has notified them that it will destroy houses, animal shelters, a health clinic, and the village council’s building by December 6. The village of Susiya is emblematic of Palestinians’ struggle to remain on their land—and the important role that international solidarity can play in that struggle.
Answer the call of Susiya residents to bring international attention to their situation by contacting your members of Congress through Rebuilding Alliance here.
Susiya activist Nasser Nawaja and his whole village have for generations lived under harrowing conditions because Israel refuses to grant their village the permits to build on their lands. That’s because Susiya is part of Area “C” (approximately 60% of the West Bank), a region where Israel prohibits Palestinians from building structures (as of 2015, Palestinian construction was allowed on 0.5% of the area). The villagers, who own their land, have submitted requests for permits, as well as a master plan, to the Civil Administration; all of these have been denied. The Israeli State has ordered the demolition of the shelters and infrastructure they have erected for their families and their livestock on the grounds that these are unpermitted structures. The people of Susiya have exhausted every legal avenue in the Israeli court system—one that rarely affords Palestinians any meaningful remedies. As a result, they are turning to the international community to shine light on their struggle, while they continue to use their own creative, resilient strategies to stake out their land despite being cut off from roads, water supplies, and electricity.
This is, unfortunately, not the first time this village has been threatened with destruction. In the past, villagers’ unrelenting efforts to stay on their land have generated international pressure that has stymied some (but not all) demolition efforts. Yet the stakes are high: Susiya is one of at least 28 villages in the Jordan Valley that are under threat of demolition. In the first nine months of 2017, the Israeli military has demolished 349 Palestinian-owned structures, and displaced 542 people, including 302 children, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Thus, the struggle to save Susiya is the struggle for a much broader movement to allow Palestinians to remain on their lands. Just in the last ten days, the Palestinian community living on “Pope Mountain” outside of Jerusalem marched to bring awareness to their own impending expulsion, while Israeli forces ordered inhabitants of six residential buildings in the Matar neighborhood in Qalandiya, north of occupied East Jerusalem, to evacuate in order to destroy their homes.
With a U.S. administration that has stood in full support of the Israeli government, including intervening at the U.N. to try to block the publication of a database of companies doing business in and with illegal Israeli settlements, the need for broad international attention in support of local struggles of resistance in Palestine is more important than ever. So we call on all who stand with the Palestinian people to call and write to Congress members to urge them to contact the Israeli embassy and to let them know that the demolition of Susiya, and other efforts to expel Palestinians from their lands under false security and planning justifications, will not be tolerated.
Learn more about CCR’s Palestinian solidarity work—from challenging corporations supporting the occupation to defending U.S.-based advocates for Palestinian human rights—here.
- Answer the call for solidarity from the people of Susiya by contacting your members of Congress today.
- Share on social media using the hashtag #SaveSusiya
- Read the village’s call for solidarity here.
- Read Nasser Nawaja’s op-ed in the Times here.