RHR/Press Release : Israeli State pushes court to take unusual step threatening immediate demolition of entire Palestinian village.

maggio 6, 2015 at 5:28 pm


Israeli state pushes court to take unusual step threatening immediate demolition of entire Palestinian village 

The entire Palestinian village of Susya is in danger of demolition and expulsion. By refusing to issue an interim order preventing preemptive demolitions before their case is heard, the Israeli High Court is allowing for the demolition of the entire Palestinian village of Susya and subsequent expulsion of its 340 residents. The refusal of the State to commit to not demolishing before the conclusion of proceedings suggests it has plans to destroy the village in the near future.  



On one hand, the High Court of Justice is willing to hear the village’s petition to legitimize its status, but on the other hand, the court allows the village to be destroyed before even deciding on the case. 

On May 5 2015, High Court Judge Noam Solberg rejected the request for an interim order by the Palestinian village of Susya, represented by Rabbis for Human Rights, in a petition against the Civil Administration’s decision to reject the master plan prepared by the village and subsequent demolition of the entire village. 

The village argued that their plan was rejected for non-professional reasons and that the village should be legalized due to its unique history.  The residents sought an interim order to freeze the implementation of the demolitions until the petition is heard, as is standard practice in these sort of cases.It was against this request for an interim order that Justice Solberg, without even conducting a hearing on the request, made the unusual move of granting the state’s request not to freeze the orders. This decision means that the Civil Administration can now destroy Susya at any time. The demolition of the village will lead to hundreds of residents living in the desert with no roof over their heads and may result in their displacement. The state’s refusal to commit to waiting for a conclusion to the court proceedings raises great alarm that it intends to implement the demolition order in the near future; tragically, it seems the villagers are in real danger.

In the petition, Susya’s residents claimed that the army is obliged to legalize their village as it was the one to confiscate their land and their caves in 1986, leaving them without a housing solution and forcing them to move to their adjacent agricultural lands. As evidence to the life in the village prior to the expropriation, various testimonials and photographs of life in caves were presented to the judge. Among other things, there were documented photos of a visit by the US Consulate to the village at the beginning of 1986. The photos and testimony clearly shows that the Palestinian village of Susya is an old village formed prior to the Israeli occupation and the declaration of the area as an archaeological site.

Among the evidence was the opinion of the late governmental legal adviser Plia Albeck (considered to be very pro-settlement and who wrote in her memoirs that she tried to find legal ways to declare Palestinian land as State land), indicating the existence of a Palestinian village in 1982 where today the archaeological site stands.

Despite the evidence presented before him, revealing the many injustices done to the villagers – from the expropriation and dispossession of their lands, to the refusal by the state to recognize the status of the village in its new location –  Judge Sohlberg did not  agree to  hear the case before allowing the demolishment the village and setting the fate of its inhabitants.

Attached to the petition, inter alia, was an expert opinion by Prof. Eyal Benvenisti, a renowned expert in international law, stipulating that the demolition of the village of Susya constitutes a war crime.

This week, a report by radical right-wing NGO “Regavim” (which has close ties to the settlement enterprise) was exposed indicating that in the nearby Jewish settlement, also called Susia, there are 23 illegal homes built on private Palestinian land. We have no indication of any attempt by the state to demolish these illegal structures in the settlement Sussia or in its nearby outposts. We see in this current situation that this Jewish settlement, whose very existence is prohibited by international law, and where some of its homes are sitting on private Palestinian land, is prosperous, while the Palestinian village of Susya, whose inhabitants are on their own private land, is at risk of displacement and  loss of their entire village.


In 1986 the village of Susya was declared an archaeological site, its land expropriated, and its inhabitants, who lived in caves, were deported. While the Palestinians were told that they could not reside in an archeological site, Israeli settlers live in an illegal outpost located inside the archeological site.

After the expulsion, villagers were forced to move to their neighboring agricultural plots. Because there was no willingness to grant a zoning plan, they involuntarily became illegal builders. Dozens of villagers followed procedures in attempts to obtain building permits, but those attempts were rejected. In 2012 the villagers raised funds and submitted a proposed master plan, drawn up by Professor Rassem Khamaiseh, for the Civil Administration for review.  The plan would authorize construction in the village according to accepted standards of professional planning.

The plan was rejected in 2013 on very questionable grounds, indicating a double standard in planning, and blatant discrimination against the Palestinian population. For example, it was argued that the number of residents in the village, which is a few hundred people, is not substantial enough to grant it independent planning as its own entity.  On the other hand, dozens of unauthorized outposts which are built housing only a handful of residents are approved by the Civil Administration’s planning body. In addition, it was argued that the plan will prevent the population from properly developing and moving out of poverty, and therefore, they should be moved to an adjacent city. It should be noted that the city is, of course, in Area A, and what actually prevents the progress of Susya is the lack of infrastructure which they are prevented from building. Also important to note is that Israelis are permitted to choose their preferred way of life – be it urban or rural, and are not forced by the state into one or the other.

In 2014, Rabbis for Human Rights petitioned the High Court on behalf of the Susya village council and its residents against the decision to reject the village master plan (HCJ 1420/14). As mentioned, on May 5th the court rejected the request for an interim injunction, leaving the whole village vulnerable to imminent demolition.

The big picture:

The danger of demolishing and expropriating the village of Susya reflects the systemic problem of planning for Palestinian villages located in Area C; in these villages, planning is done by military planning committees, without representation of Palestinians, with the intent of preventing residents from building on their own land based on reasonable and professional planning standards. A recent High Court petition, submitted by the village council Dirat, Rabbis for Human Rights, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Society, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and St. Yves – Catholic Human Rights Center, demands  planning authority be returned to Palestinian villages for their own communities in order to prevent the tragic demolitions of hundreds of homes every year due to the impossibility of obtaining building permits.


Link to the article : Rabbis for Human Rights

IDF uses live-fire zones to expel Palestinians from areas of West Bank, officer admits

maggio 21, 2014 at 8:08 am

By Amira Hass, Haaretz, May 21 2014

Officer tells Knesset committee method used to reduce illegal construction, Palestinian population in Area C; Habayit Hayehudi MK urges crack-down on international groups who assist construction.
Military training in live-fire zones in the West Bank is used as a way of reducing the number of Palestinians living nearby, and serves as an important part of the campaign against Palestinian illegal construction, an army officer revealed at a recent Knesset committee meeting.


Palestinians keep struggling for Umm Al Arayes land

maggio 12, 2014 at 8:09 am

Every saturday, since one year and a half, Palestinians together with Israeli activists organise nonviolent actions to claim the right to return to their land in the South Hebron Hills, on which settlers from the Israeli illegal outpost of Mitzpe Yair have built greenhouses. The land is situated between the Palestinian village of Shi’b Al Butum and the Israeli illegal outpost of Mitzpe Yair.

This land is called Umm Al Arayes and it’s a Palestinian private propriety.  Demolition orders have been issued against the greenhouses by the Israeli District Coordination Office. The Israeli army declaration of lands as closed military zone impedes the Palestinians from accessing their land. Since 2001 the Palestinians in the area have faced restricted access to these lands.

Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills keep facing the Israeli occupation through the popular nonviolent resistance.

For more information about the area you can see also: http://tuwaniresiste.operazionecolomba.it/?s=Umm+Al+Arayes


2014-05-10: Isareli army and Border police preventing Palestinina from accessing their private land in Umm Al Arayes

Palestinesi continuano a lottare per la terra a Umm Al Arayes

Ogni sabato, da un anno e mezzo, palestinesi insieme ad attivisti israeliani organizzano azioni nonviolente per reclamare il diritto di accesso alla propria terra nelle colline a sud di Hebron, dove i coloni dell’avamposto illegale israeliano di Mitzpe Yair hanno costruito delle serre. La terra in questione si trova tra il villaggio palestinese di Shi’b Al Butum e l’avamposto illegale israeliano di Mitzpe Yair.

Questa terra è chiamata Umm Al Arayes ed proprietà privata palestinese. Contro le serre sono stati consegnati ordini di demolizione dal Ufficio di Coordinamento Distrettuale dell’Amministrazione Civile Israeliana (DCO). Ai palestinesi è impedito l’accesso alla propria terra in quanto dichiarata dall’esercito israeliano “zona militare chiusa”.

I palestinesi delle colline a sud di Hebron continuano ad affrontare l’occupazione israeliana tramite la resistenza popolare nonviolenta.

Per maggiori informazioni riguaradanti l’area potete vedere anche: http://tuwaniresiste.operazionecolomba.it/?s=Umm+Al+Arayes

Video: Six shelters demolished by the Israeli forces in the Palestinian village of At Tuwani, South Hebron Hills

aprile 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Palestinian shepherd arrested by Israeli Police in the South Hebron Hills

marzo 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm

On March 22 Israeli police arrested Zaaid Salame Mehamre, a shepherd from the Palestinian village of Maghayr Al-Abeed, while he was grazing his sheep on Jabel Doff (the location where the Havat Ma’on outpost used to stand before the year 2000, when it was moved to Hill 833). The arrest was carried out under the accusation of “trespassing”, although no official documents on the ownership of the land were presented.

In the morning, Mehamre was grazing his sheep in the Palestinian valleys and hills surrounding the Israeli illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on. At 1:30 p.m., Mehamre moved to the top of the hill to follow his flock, and was followed by a police car, which later drove past him. 15 minutes later an Israeli policeman declared Mehamre under arrest and escorted him to an area where there was another police car, a District Coordination Office car and three army jeeps, together with four Israeli settlers.

Ta’ayush activists, who were already present in the area accompanying other shepherds, immediately arrived and tried to understand the situation. The activists asked the Israeli officers for clarification on the ownership of the land, which they had declared Israeli, however no maps or official documents were presented.

At 2:20 p.m. Israeli soldiers violently chased away Mehamre’s flock, which remained unattended. The soldiers pushed the flock toward the valley south of the hill.

At 2:30 p.m., Mehamre was taken by police to the Kyriat Arba police station. He was released in the later afternoon after a bail of 500 shekels was paid by Ta’ayush and the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee.


Pastore palestinese arrestato dalla polizia israeliana nelle colline a sud di Hebron

Il 22 marzo la polizia israeliana ha arrestato Zaaid Salame Mehamre, un pastore proveniente dal villaggio di Maghayr Al-Abeed, mentre stava pascolando il suo gregge su Jabel Doff (la collina su cui sorgeva l’avamposto di Havat Ma’on prima del 2000, quando è stato spostato sulla Hill 833). L’accusa era quella di “sconfinamento”, anche se non è stato esibito nessun documento ufficiale riguardo l’appartenenza di quel terreno.

La mattina Mehamre stava pascolando il suo gregge nelle valli e sulle colline palestinesi che circondano l’avamposto illegale israeliano di Havat Ma’on. Alle 13:30, Mehamre si è spostato sulla cima della collina per seguire il suo gregge ed è stato inseguito da una macchina della polizia, che lo ha poi preceduto. 15 minuti dopo un poliziotto israeliano ha dichiarato Mehamre in stato di arresto e lo ha portato poco più in là sulla collina, dove c’erano già un’altra macchina della polizia, una macchina dell’Ufficio di Coordinamento Distrettuale e tre camionette dell’esercito, insieme a quattro coloni israeliani.

Attivisti Ta’ayush (un movimento nonviolento di base arabo e israeliano), che erano già presenti nell’area per accompaganare altri pastori, sono immediatamente giunti sul posto e hanno provato a comprendere meglio la situazione. Gli attivisti hanno chiesto agli ufficiali israeliani chiarificazioni riguardo all’appartenenza della terra, che questi avevano dichiarato israeliana, ma non gli è stata mostrata alcuna mappa o documento ufficiale.

Alle 14:30 soldati israeliani hanno cacciato il gregge di Mehamra, che era rimasto incustodito. I soldati hanno spinto le pecore verso la valle a sud della collina.

Alle 14:30, Mehamre è stato portato alla stazione di polizia di Kyriat Arba. E’ stato poi rilasciato nel tardo pomeriggio dietro pagamento di una cauzione di 500 shekel, pagata dai Ta’ayush e dal Comitato Popolare delle Colline a sud di Hebron.

Video: Israel seizes Bedouin man’s toilet in West Bank after deeming it illegal

giugno 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Ha’aretz: Israel seizes Bedouin man’s toilet in West Bank after deeming it illegal

giugno 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm

The portable bathroom, which was installed for the use of a handicapped man, violated an order against illegal construction by settlers, the Civil Administration said.
Chaim Levinson – Ha’aretz – Jun.23, 2013

The Civil Administration last week confiscated a portable toilet that was serving a handicapped person in a Bedouin village in the West Bank, claiming that it violated the order forbidding the movement of mobile structures without a permit.
The incident occurred in Um al-Kheir in the South Hebron Hills, which is near the settlement of Carmel. Last month, one of the village residents decided to set up a toilet for his brother, who had suffered head trauma and until now has been urinating and defecating in a nearby stream bed. The man dug a cesspit and placed a tin structure with a toilet on top of it. The structure was donated by ACF International, a humanitarian organization that provides emergency food, water and sanitation aid.