An appeal from Rabbis for Human Rights to write to the head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank not to allow further demolition orders. The letters need to be sent urgently -related to the Jewish Festival of Shavuot -but you can modify the letter in a secular way!
The military’s Civil Administration in the Occupied Territories is holding a hearing on Sunday that could determine the fate of Susya. As a counter to settler demands to demolish Palestinian Susya, the High Court granted us the opportunity to submit a building and zoning master plan that would allow the residents of Susya to build legally on their lands – a plan that should have existed long ago, but is almost inconceivable when the Israeli army is given the “White man’s burden” of planning for Palestinians.
West Bank Palestinians live under an institutionalized military regime of discrimination; they are not citizens, but subjects, and even in the realm of planning, construction and infrastructure investment they are being discriminated. Palestinian Susya is one of the Palestinian villages that never gained recognition by the military administration [even though its present location results from the military expelling the residents from its original site]. Therefore the village is not connected to electricity or water, and has no sewage disposal system, let alone roads or pavements; its residents live in slums of abject poverty and neglect. Directly across from them, in the Jewish settlement of Susya, illegal construction [by Israeli law] is whitewashed and supported by broad government support: infrastructure, parks, educational institutions and environmental development. Such conditions naturally generate continual tension.
An extremist minority among the Susya settlers exacerbates the institutionalized discrimination by invading the Palestinians’ farmlands, and they often commit violence as well. The murder of a Susya settler by a Palestinian from the nearby village of Yata about ten years ago prompted the army to transfer all the residents of Susya by force, backed by violence from some of the settler extremists. Under the cover of that deportation most of the caves that had served as homes for the Palestinians of Susya were destroyed. After a petition to the High Court the Palestinian Susya residents were permitted to return to their farmlands, but in the absence of the caves were forced to built tents and shanties against which demolition orders have been issued. As we can see, the settler violence creates a chain of problems beyond its immediate consequences: a takeover of agricultural land, expulsion from the land and all the attendant legal problems.