U.S. opposes destruction of Palestinian village
U.S. activists and government officials are on high alert as the threat of demolition looms over Susiya, a Palestinian village located in the south Hebron hills. In May, the Israeli High Court denied a Palestinian request for an injunction to stop Israel’s plans to destroy their homes, even though a legal appeal is due to be heard on Aug. 3.
In October of 2013, the Israeli Civil Administration — the body charged with planning in Area C of the West Bank— rejected a professionally developed master plan for the village. The village tried to overturn the decision by appealing to the Israeli High Court. This past May the High Court denied the villages motion for an injunction that would stall the demolitions until the court had a chance to rule on the matter. The army then stated its intention of carrying out the demolition of Susiya after Eid al-Fitr, but has recently faced a tide of opposition from the US, EU, and UK.
Silicon Valley Representative Anna Eshoo circulated a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on July 17th. She demanded that he intervene to prevent Susiya’s demolition.
“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,” she wrote.
During a press conference July 16, U.S. Department of State spokesperson John Kirby expressed concern over the impending demolition.
“We strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village.” He went on to describe the actions as “harmful and provocative.”
The support from the U.S. and the EU is unusual. Area C, which Susiya resides in, has been continuously emptied of its Palestinian population in favor of Jewish settlement for decades. According to an EU report from 2011 the Palestinian population in the Jordan Valley decreased from more than 200,000 prior to 1967 to merely 56,000 today, while the Jewish Israeli population has increased from 1,200 in the 1970s to over 150,000 now.