Rabbis for Human Rights and B'Tselem released the urgent press release, below, describing the Israeli Army's meeting with Susiya's families to notify them of the imminent demolition of their village. In response, Representative Anna Eshoo is circulating a Dear Colleague letter (complete letter below) urging Secretary Kerry,
"to take immediate action to prevent the demolition of the Palestinian village of Susiya and prevent the continuing demolition of Palestinian neighborhoods, farmlands, and olive orchards in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and in Israel. We hope your intervention, amplified by the concern of citizens and countries throughout the world, will assure the safety of the Palestinian Village of Susiya."
Please call your Representative as soon as they're open to ask her/him to sign-on to Rep. Eshoo's letter by calling her staff, Hannah Murphy. Please ask your Senators to circulate a Dear Colleagues letter too and also urgently ask them to call the Israeli Embassy and the US State Department on your behalf. Please do this, then click COUNT ME IN (If you're outside the U.S. just move the Crisis Map to show your location.)
Your voice matters. We can do this.
Sincerely, Donna Baranski-Walker
Rabbis for Human Rights - B'Tselem
Press release - for immediate publication
State intends to demolish homes in Susiya after Ramadan, due to settler pressure
This Sunday (July 12th) the residents of the village of Khirbet Susiya met with high-ranking officials from COGAT, the Civil Administration, and the army. The meeting was called by the Israeli authorities, and around fifty village residents attended. The officials stated that pressure by the settler organization "Regavim" and area settlers has led to a decision to carry out demolitions in the village even before the high court hearing into the residents' petition, scheduled for August 3rd.
The officials told residents that the authorities refrained from demolitions during the month of Ramadan to show consideration, but that this humanitarian respite will end with the holy month, after the holiday of 'Eid al-Fitr. Based on these statements, residents assume that demolitions could take place as early as next week.
Att. Qamar Mashraki from Israeli NGO Rabbis for Human Rights, the community's counsel, said that this kind of thinly veiled threat to demolish homes in Susiya before the planned court hearing is an unacceptable form of coercion, intended to put pressure on the residents in order to force them to leave their homes and create facts on the ground before the petition is even heard.
The following video, by guy Botavia, is from a previous demolition in Susiya.
For additional information:
Sarit Michaeli, B'Tselem, 972-505387230
Rabbi Arik Ascherman, President, Rabbis For Human Rights, 972-505607034
Representative Anna Eshoo's Letter for Signature — ask your Representative to sign by end of day Today
July XX, 2015
Dear Secretary Kerry,
We write to you with great urgency to express our serious concern about the recent decisions made by the High Court of Israel to allow the demolition of the Palestinian village of Susiya, and deny the planning rights of Palestinian Villages in Area C of the West Bank.
The Palestinian village of Susiya, located in the Hebron Governorate in the south of the occupied West Bank, is currently home to 55 families who have been living in this location for decades and hold undisputed title to their land. Half of the homes of these families and all the community’s public structures are located in Area C where Israel maintains full control over planning and zoning.
Susiya submitted a professionally developed master plan to the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) but on October 24, 2013, the ICA rejected it. In their rejection, ICA stated “the villagers would be better off living somewhere else.”
With the help of the non-governmental organization Rabbis for Human Rights, the villagers petitioned the High Court of Israel to allow reconsideration of their master plan. On May 4, 2015, the High Court of Israel refused to issue a temporary injunction against demolition, paving the way for the village to be demolished before their appeal is to be heard on August 3rd.
We are especially concerned about this village because on June 9th the High Court of Israel denied the right of Palestinian villages in the West Bank’s Area C to plan their own communities, leaving all decisions on zoning and planning to the ICA, with no direct Palestinian representation when it comes to the future of their towns.
We urge you to take immediate action to prevent the demolition of the Palestinian village of Susiya and prevent the continuing demolition of Palestinian neighborhoods, farmlands, and olive orchards in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and in Israel.
We hope your intervention, amplified by the concern of citizens and countries throughout the world, will assure the safety of the Palestinian Village of Susiya.