HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Tuesday handed a southern West Bank village demolition orders for each of its 50 buildings, a week after Israeli authorities agreed to halt all construction in the area in response to a petition filed by a settler group.

Susiya village, in the south Hebron hills, has three days to appeal the decision before their village is demolished, resident Nasser Nawaja told Ma’an.

The community’s lawyer Quamar Mishirqi said she will file an objection to Israel’s High Court.

The mass demolition notices come days after an Israeli court heard Susiya’s case to remain in their homes. The village is fighting a petition by the neighboring Jewish-only settlement also called Susiya, and an Israeli group pushing to demolish Palestinian buildings called Regavim.

Last Wednesday, the court decided to implement a total freeze on building in the village, and the state agreed to inform the court of its plans for the village with 90 days, as requested in the Regavim petition.

While Regavim is registered as a non-governmental organization and says it is interested in equal application of the law, a Ma’an report last month showed it is run by residents of Israeli settlements and illegal outposts, with political connections to local government and the Likud and National Union parties.

Further, according to Israeli experts who reviewed the group’s official reports, the NGO is financed by publicly funded local councils of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The United Nations humanitarian affairs office has warned that Susiya, a hamlet of 350 people, including 120 children, is at immediate risk of forced displacement as a result of Regavim’s petition.

Nawaja told Ma’an the demolition orders intend to clear the village of its inhabitants in order to use the land for Israeli settlements. All settlements are illegal under international law.

The village lies in an area called Masafer Yatta, long besieged by settlements and their outpost offshoots, as well as a steady stream of demolition orders.

Residents of the area are a mixture of pre-1948 communities squeezed by their proximity to the ceasefire line with the new Israeli state, agricultural lands farmed by Yatta residents who moved out to live on their fields, and Bedouin encampments set up by those displaced from the Negev desert in the war to establish Israel.

When Israel began building settlements in the area in the early 1980s, villagers say the army started putting pressure on them to move from Masafer Yatta.

In 1999, the entire population was evacuated by the Israeli army. After a battle in Israel’s High Court, residents were granted ‘temporary’ permission to return.

"The court agreed this is our land, but they will not give us permission to build on it," says Susiya council chief Muhammad Ahmed Nawaja.

International law experts say that under the Fourth Geneva Convention Israel must provide for the needs of the occupied Palestinian population, and are prohibited from demolishing any structure that has a civilian purpose.

(Source: maannews.net)

At-Tuwani – On the 12th June the DCO (the Israeli army department that works in the civil administration) delivered new executive demolition orders to the Palestinian villages of Susiya and Wadi Jehesh, comprehensive of an area that counts more than 50 structures. These orders, once enforced, will imply almost the total cancellation of the Palestinian communities involved.

Six demolition orders have been delivered and they all follow the path of some previous ones issued during the 90ies and in 2001.  Though, if the first are referred to single structure, now the 12th June orders regard six living-purpose areas, including houses, tents, stumbles, ovens, stock rooms and even a clinic, a kindergarden and a solar panel system. The family units involved are 15, for a total of 126 people, 60 of which are children, and they are all in danger of being internally displaced.

From today, the Israeli army has the right to enforce these orders. Those events are part of a wider strategy that aims to expel the Palestinian population of the area, and consequently to expand the Israeli settlements and outposts.

The Palestinian community of Susiya has already experienced two enforced evacuations; the first one in 1986, three years after the birth of the nearby Israeli settlement of Suseya. The formal excuse was the discovery of an archeological site, where, since 2002, rises an outpost. Because of that, the Palestinian community had to move in the area between the settlement and the archeological site.

The second one was in 2001, after a settler from Suseya has been murdered: the whole Palestinian village was brutally evacuated by the Israeli soldiers and houses, caves, wells and other properties were demolished.  Moreover, lots of Palestinians were beaten and arrested.
The community appealed to the Israeli High Court which, on 26th September 2001, recognized its right to go back to their lands declaring illegal these constant evictions.

Despite of this, Palestinians still keep living in tents and temporary structures without any building permission given by DCO, and are still victims of the army control and settlers attacks.

Recently “Regavim”, an Israeli association that gives legal support to settlements and outposts in the West Bank, claimed the High Court and asked for the complete evacuation of Susiya as they consider it an illegal Palestinian outpost.


Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.

Pictures of the incident: http://snipurl.com/23y4xmv

By Nasser Nawaj’ah

I am Nasser Nawaj’ah. I am 30 years old. My mother gave birth to me in a cave in Susya El-Kadis. You know of Susya as a Jewish settlement in the South Hebron Hills, but Susya is first of all a Palestinian village that existed before the establishment of the State of Israel.

I was named after my grandfather, who was still alive at the time. In 1948, he was displaced from his village near Arad, now in southern Israel. When they were expelled, my father was just a little boy and my grandfather carried him in his arms until they reached their family in Susya El Kadis. They hoped one day to return to their village, but my grandfather died without ever seeing it again.

Nasser Nawaj’ah (L) and Salam Fayyad (Courtesy of B’Tselem)

A year after I was born, in 1983, the settlement of Susya was established. In 1986, after Israeli archaeologists found remnants of a synagogue in our village, we were expelled again. I was 4 years old. My father took me in his arms while bulldozers destroyed our homes and blocked the caves that we lived in. We scattered in our agricultural lands around the village. The grown-ups hoped that we would one day return to our caves, but a fence was built around the village and it was turned into an archaeological site. Today we still live on our agricultural land and I can see the place where I was born, but cannot go there. Israelis and foreigners from all over the world enter the site, but I cannot.

After 1990, the expulsion attempts started up again. Despite the fact that we have documents proving that the land belong to us, the caves we lived in and our water wells were destroyed. But each time, we returned and built anew. At the same time, the Israeli settlement of Susya continued to flourish and grow. In 2001, after the murder of Yair Har Sinai, settlers arrived with the army and again destroyed the caves and the wells and uprooted our trees. It was only after 10 days and an interim decision by the Israeli High Court that we were able to return to our homes.

Today we live in tents – and even these were threatened with demolition orders forcing us to obtain permits for them. This is the life of a Palestinian in Area C of the West Bank. We are denied building permits, and are disinherited and banished from our land. Each time we request permits from the Israeli army, we are denied. The water pipes of Israel’s Mekorot water company pass several meters away from our village – they bring water to illegal outposts around us but we can’t get water from them. We don’t have access to the water that flows in those pipes, even though this is our water, water that Israel pumps from the West Bank.

We are forced to live off of rain water that we collect in our wells. The water situation in the South Hebron Hills is dire, and we are always forced to supplement by buying water brought in tankers to sustain ourselves through the summer. We pay NIS 35 for a cubic meter of water – about four times as much as you pay for water inside Israel.

Four months ago, the Regavim organization filed a petition to the High Court demanding that our village, Susya, be destroyed. They refer to it as an “illegal outpost” and claim that our village presents a security threat. Last week there was a hearing in the Israeli High Court. They call my village an illegal Palestinian outpost. But these have been our lands since before the establishment of the State of Israel. My father is older than your state and I am not legal on my own land? I ask you: where is the justice in that? In your court there is a difference between a Palestinian and a settler. You call it illegal construction but what we’re talking about is an underground cave that is hundreds of years old.

Illegal Israeli settlement outposts are all around us in the Susya area, and there are many buildings inside settlements with pending demolition orders – but they have everything. The government provides them with infrastructure for water and electricity despite the fact that according to Israeli law they are illegal, and nothing happens to them. And now you want to displace the old man from his home? To expel us from land that belongs to us, that we have lived on generation after generation, that is all that we know.

Nasser Nawaj’ah is a field researcher for B’Tselem and a resident of Susya in the South Hebron Hills in the West Bank. This post originally appeared in Ynet in Hebrew, and was translated by Libby Lenkinski.

 Watch video of how three masked settlers chased internationals in the South Hebron Hills Humra Valley on Monday, using a slingshot to throw rocks at them. The two internationals, based in the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani as part of the Operation Dove team that accompanies Palestinian shepherds in this area vulnerable to settler violence, safely ran back to At-Tuwani before the settlers disappeared.

(Source: alternativenews.org)

AT-TUWANI, SOUTH HEBRON HILLS, June 14, 2012 (WAFA) - On the only road that connects the area of Massafer Yatta with the city of Yatta and the rest of the West Bank, a tractor was carrying building material towards the village of At-Tuwani.

It was June 8 and at 8 p.m. two jeeps from the Israeli army were waiting for it. The tractor driver was stopped and forced to go back.

After a while the soldiers stopped another tractor and order the driver to turn back, but this time the driver refused. The soldiers then surrounded him and forced him to wait for the police.

After hearing this news, around 30 Palestinians coming from the villages of At-Tuwani, Al Mufaqarah and Ar Rakeez reached that place but were not able to approach the tractor; suddenly, a group of about 15 women crossed the checkpoint and started walking towards the tractor, ignoring the orders of the soldiers.

In a couple of minutes the pressure of those women made it possible to break through the roadblock, and the soldiers, disarmed by the women’s strong will, had to step aside and let the tractor go to the village.

On the same day in the village of Al Mufaqarah during the afternoon, the Israeli army, together with the police, kept another Palestinian that was carrying building material and the inhabitants intervened in order to avoid his arrest.

These events, related to the permanent control of the area, are part of the Israeli strategy to boycott the nonviolent campaign “Al-Mufaqarah R-Exist”; this last was launched on May 19 by the local community of Al Mufaqarah, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee and the South Hebron Hills Popular Resistance Committee, and follows the path of the village of At-Tuwani.

The target is to build 15 houses and to defend the legitimate right of this Palestinian community to exist on their own land.

Every Saturday a group of Palestinians, Israeli activists and other internationals work together in order to build those new houses, but since the very beginning of the campaign the Israeli army has tried several times to discourage the initiative; in fact, on June 2, the nonviolent action didn’t take place because of the strong military presence on the area that prevented the delivery of the building materials.

On June 10, the Israeli civil administration and the army delivered in the village of Al Mufaqarah three stop working orders, one of them designed to the first house built during the campaign: this means that whoever will be caught working on these projects will be arrested.

Furthermore, if the inhabitants will not appeal to the High Court before June 21, the buildings will receive a demolition order.

Al Mufaqarah is located in the C area of the West Bank, which is under Israeli civil and military control: within this area every construction has to receive the permit to be built by the Israeli civil administration.

The purpose of this is clearly to prevent the development of Palestinian communities, rejecting every building permit and demolishing anything considered “illegal”. At the same time, the Israeli settlements and outposts in the area, even though are illegal under the international law, are continuously expanding, and the settlers keep attacking and bothering the Palestinians.

This policy of restrictions, enclosures, demolitions, evacuations and abuse, together with the violence carried on by the settlers in the area, actually denies the human rights of the Palestinians, threatening their everyday life on their own lands.

Nevertheless, the South Hebron Hills Palestinian communities have not surrendered and have decided to resist in a nonviolent way to the occupation.

The existence of the village of Al Mufaqarah has always been violated by those strategies of oppression that aim at the evacuation of the community, but at the same time this is a great example of nonviolence resistance.

In 1999, Al Mufaqarah and other 12 villages received an order of evacuation as they were located in the “Firing Zone” (military training area). The inhabitants though never gave up and appealed to the Supreme Court, which, after six months, recognized their right to go back to their lands.

Al Mufaqarah nonviolent struggle is not over: last autumn, the community tried to connect the electricity network from the village of At-Tuwani, and they started building the pylons in order to bring the light.

Unfortunately, at 7 a.m. on November 3, an excavator escorted by 25 soldiers demolished all of them. After a few weeks, two bulldozers escorted by the army broke into the village and pulled down one after another, two houses, a cowshed, the mosque and structure of the current generator.

While doing this, a Palestinian girl, rushing to take her things from her house that was about to be demolished, was suffocated from tear gas thrown by the soldiers; after making her kneel, they arrested her and her cousin, who was trying to get her some water for relief.

The very next day hundreds of people from the South Hebron Hills reached the old rubble of the mosque and began to pray. After that, they immediately started the reconstruction of the village, previously cut down by a stop-working order.

These villages will not vanish from the maps. These villages will not stop their nonviolent struggle for their right to exist. Al Mufaqarah, At-Tuwani and the other communities exist and resist. Al-Mufaqarah R-Exist campaign will go on, because one rebuilt wall is worth more than 100 demolished houses, because a tractor unchained by 15 women is worth more than a hundred roads blocked by the soldiers.

Every Saturday, in Al Mufaqarah, people are building.

(Operation Dove is a non-violent international peace movement working to help Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills live in peace on their land.)

(Source: english.wafa.ps)

…The Jewish group’s visit is reflective of a growing sense of concern amongst U.K. Jewry as to what is to be done with this piece of territory, apparently loved so deeply by a sector of the Israeli population and Jewish people at large, that they are prepared to allow this toxic love to kill Israel, slowly but surely…

..So what was that group of British Jews looking at? They were looking at an area where close to 1700 Palestinians live in caves, farm the land and graze their sheep and goats. An area with no physical infrastructure: no paved roads leading from the villages, an area not linked to a power grid, telephone lines or a running-water system.

They were also looking at the illegal outpost of Avigail, built illegally according to the Israeli government, connected to the water supply, the electricity grid, with a road paved by the IDF so the settlers can drive to their illegal outpost on their illegal road. A far cry from the primary school located in the Jinba cave village under threat of demolition on account of being illegally inside the Firing Zone 918. The nearest school is 14km away in the village of At-Twani, accessible only by four-wheel drive. ..

read the whole piece by Hannah Weisfeld at

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/a-toxic-attachment-1.430833

Regavim, settlers’ NGO has appealed to court in demand to enforce demolition orders on any new constructed building in Palestinian Susya.

RHR- rabbies for human Rights has issued a request to come and support the residents of Susiya during court hearing.

This comes at a time when residents of Palestinian Susiya are already facing violence & harassment from them neighboring  settlement Susiya, that often result in denial of Palestinian residents to access their farmlands, as reported here.

(Source: intifadamedia.wordpress.com)

The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee is launching a campaign to support the community of al Mufaqarah in its legitimate struggle to keep living in its land through the construction of brick houses in order to stress the permanent character of their presence in the area and opposed Israeli policies of displacement.
The PSCC will also provide legal support and a long term monitoring of the situation. The purpose is to repeat the successful story of al-Tuwani, a 300 resident’s village that faced the same situation but that is now recognized by the Israeli Occupation Authority, and to create a precedent for the communities of the firing zone.

The action will take place EVERY SATURDAY.
All together, we will build up 15 houses for Al-Mufaqarah inhabitants.

We invite you to participate in the event and join the action, as well as to spread the word.
Any support you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

As Al Mufaqarah village is isolated and badly served, we need to organize car-pooling to make sure everyone can come to join the action… So if you have a car, please let us know!

More information:
http://almufaqarah.wordpress.com
http://www.facebook.com/events/461757690507746
http://www.facebook.com/AlMufaqarahRExist

On 26th of May around fifty Israeli and international activists gathered in al Mufaqarah to help the Local Community building the second house. They spent the whole day together helping the villagers to prepare the concrete, to carry the bricks and to finalize the first house. They worked side by side with a strong sense of solidarity and their presence was crucial for the community to feel supported in their struggle to resist.

On that very day, the first family moved from a cave to the first house. Fadil Hamandeh, his two wives and their nine children transferred part of their belongings in the new building. All of them will finally have the chance to see the sunlight coming in through their windows.

The army kept on observing the village from the surroundings hills, but did not visit al Mufaqarah.

On Saturday 2d of June, the around forty volunteers who reached the site worked on the completion of the second house, preparing and carrying concrete. The villagers also prepared the soil for the third house that will be built next Saturday.
Once again the army observed the location for few hours, but did not intervene.
The next action will take place on the 9th of June with the construction of the third house.

Al Mufaqarah community needs your support! Check out the Be involved page to know how to participate in next Saturday action and sustain this community’s attempt to resist Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing.