On Tuesday 16th September, two Israeli soldiers insulted a Palestinian woman in Susiya. The insult, of a sexual nature, is incredibly offensive in Palestinian culture. When confronted with their acts, the soldiers refused to apologize and called their supervising officer to attend. The officer denied any wrong doing of his subordinates. Instead he accused the Palestinian woman of provoking his soldiers. Soldiers are permanently stationed on a hill overlooking Susiya.
This is yet another example of the structural harassment of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers and settlers that continuously goes unpunished.
The Palestinian refugee community in Susiya has endured many hardships since the flight from their homes during the Nakba in 1948. Orginally fleeing from the violence of the 1948 war, they took refuge in caves located just a few miles from their homes. Since then, they’ve been denied their inalienable Right of Return by Israel.
With Israel blocking their way home, the community attempted to reconstruct their lives in the historic site of Susiya. Ousted from their new homes as well, the community was yet again forced to relocate their lives. Attempting to continue their lives they’ve been refused a permit to build a house. As a result, they’ve resided in tents, denied basic facilities such as electricity, running water and roof over their heads.
Struggling to survive, the shepherd community relies on their livestock to support their families. However, with six illegal settlements surrounding them, the Palestinians have been denied access to their land, needed for grazing. Moreover, settlers have attacked the shepherds, even on the few places the shepherds are still allowed on by the army.
Although several of the attacks have been captured on video – and featured on the local, national and international news – none of the settlers have faced legal consequences. This has resulted in a perceived immunity for settlers, who are continuing their harassment without fear of prosecution.
With flying checkpoints regularly positioned nearby, 5 am raids of their village and other forms of harassment, the Israeli army has taken on an active duty of increasing the Palestinians hardship. This harassment by both soldiers and settlers is yet another contribution by Israel in making the lives of the Palestinians impossible.