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PRESS RELEASE: SUSIYA – New Standards for US Foreign Policy on Israel?

22nd July, 2015 | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee | Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

New Standards for US Foreign Policy on Israel? 

U.S. State Department Urges Israel to refrain from demolishing Palestinian village, Susiya in the West Bank. Fears a deterioration in standard of policy of indigenous displacement.

In a US State Department press briefing, last week, John Kirby specifically referred to Israel’s intent to demolish over half the indigenous Palestinian village, Susiya, in the West Bank. “We strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village.” Kirby said, warning that “Demolition of this Palestinian village or of parts of it, and evictions of Palestinians from their homes, would be harmful and provocative.”

“Our continuous battle to support the struggle of the people of the village of Susiya has been going on for years accompanied with local and  international campaigns under the slogan “Save Susiya from Demolition and Eviction.” Says Yasser Saleh of the Popular Struggle Coordination committee (PSCC), “we invite everybody to stand with us in this campaign either by attending the village of Susiya and to resist the demolition with it’s people, who are under the threat of eviction at any given moment,or by protesting at Israeli embassies in your countries and raising awareness about Susiya and Palestine.”

Susiya, which has been fighting a 20-year legal battle of survival with the state of Israel, is not the only Palestinian village under Israeli military control. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that there are Over 11,000 outstanding demolition orders against Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank, which covers over 60 percent of the West Bank. The lives of approximately 300,000 indigenous Palestinians are impacted. These orders target the most impoverished and vulnerable populations, who are also exposed to daily attacks by Israeli settlers and the army itself, with very little possibility of redress.

Signalling new US approach to the facts on the ground, Kirby added that “Such actions have an impact beyond those individuals and families who are evicted” and stated that the US State department is “concerned that the demolition of this village may worsen the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution and would set a damaging standard for displacement and land confiscation particularly given settlement-related activity in the area.”

The European Union foreign ministers have added their voice to the growing concern over Israel’s policy in the occupied West Bank, yesterday, in its latest statement on “The Middle East Peace Process”, stating that “ The EU will continue to closely monitor developments on the ground and their broader implications”, specifically calling for a “halt [to] plans for forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure in the Susiya and Abu Nwar communities.”

Saleh welcomes the US State Department and EU statements, but maintains that words are not enough and hopes to see action being taken. “The PSCC appreciates the statements made by the US state department and the European Union. We invite them to take concrete steps to put pressure on the occupying regime to prevent applying it’s policies and procedures against the Palestinians in general, and against the eviction and demolition of the village of Susiya in particular.”

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