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Susya continues to await demolition as Israeli government hesitates

3rd March 2017  |  International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team  |  Susya, occupied Palestine

The village of Susya in the south Hebron hills is still waiting for news of its imminent demolition at the hands of the Israeli military.  On Sunday 26th the Israeli court was expecting the government to make clear its plans to execute the existing demolition order, but the government asked for another 48 hours of delay.  Yesterday as that 48 hours came to an end the government again asked for 48 hours to make up its mind.

Meanwhile the villagers of Susya wait daily for what is nearly certain to be a demolition at some point.  There are two reasons for the delays.  The first is simple and happens all over Palestine: delays play into the sense of uncertainty and tension that Palestinians are placed under.  Some villages and houses have been living under demolition orders for years.  The second is more complex: Susya is one of the most successful villages in Palestine in harnessing international support against the continuing persecution they face from the Israeli government.  Until the arrival of Trump in the White House this winter, demolishing Susya would have brought down the disapproval of the international community and the US on the Israeli government, and that pressure is still strong.  However, the government is under equal or greater pressure from the settlers in the region to demolish the village, which inconveniently stands between the ‘Jewish archeological site’ of Susya (which used to be the village) and the illegal settlement of Susya. And the current Israeli administration requires the votes of the most right wing settler parties to maintain a majority in the Knesset.

Meanwhile, the villagers of Susya stand in the middle of this battle, calling in all the support they can globally and locally.  But the ultimate outcome of this fight lies outside their hands and will involve the loss of homes and livelihoods this spring and summer.