“Disconnected” is a video-blog project that brings the story of 10 years old Hadidja and her family who live in Susya, a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills, which is threatened with destruction.

It is not connected to electricity or water and, of course, is not connected to the internet. Susya residents live in caves and tin-shacks. A third world village that is located approximately 40 minutes ride from Jerusalem.

The Palestinian village of Susya has a history of suffering under the often-violent friction with extremists from the nearby Jewish settlement of the same name. The security forces rarely deal with the violence, and every now and then even support the extremists. Hamudy, a child from Palestinian Susya tells us about how he experiences these events.

West Bank Palestinians live under an institutionalized military regime of discrimination; they are not citizens, but subjects, and even in the realm of planning, construction and infrastructure investment they are being discriminated against. Palestinian Susya is one of the Palestinian villages that never gained recognition from the military administration [even though its present location results from the military expelling the residents from their original site]. Therefore the village is not connected to electricity or water, and has no sewage disposal system, let alone roads or pavement; its residents live in slums of abject poverty and neglect. Directly across from them, in the Jewish settlement of Susya, illegal construction [even by Israeli law] is whitewashed and enjoys broad government support: infrastructure, parks, educational institutions and environmental development. Such conditions naturally generate continual tension.

An extremist minority among the Susya settlers exacerbates the institutionalized discrimination by invading the Palestinians’ farmlands, and they often commit violent acts as well. The murder of a Susya settler by a Palestinian from the nearby village of Yata about ten years ago prompted the army to expell all the residents of Susya by force, backed by violence from some of the settler extremists. Under the cover of that deportation most of the caves that had served as homes for the Palestinians of Susya were destroyed. After a petition to the High Court, the Palestinian Susya residents were permitted to return to their farmlands. Because the caves had been demolished, they were forced to built tents and shanties. Demolition orders were issued for these new dwellings. As we can see in this video clip, settler violence creates a chain of successive problems beyond the immediate results of the violence: the takeover of agricultural land, expulsion from the land and all the related legal problems.

In this episode of Disconnected we follow ten-year-old Hamudy on his way to a regional school in the village of A-Twany. A-Twany is bigger than Susya and can provide better education, but is a twenty-minute drive by bus and cannot meet the needs of all of Susya’s children.

We then return to the harsh reality in Susya’s local school and its sorry condition. But, even under these circumstances, we will learn an optimistic lesson about democracy and the ability to choose to resist the military regime that seeks to impose its rules.

“This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of “Shomrei-Mishpat: Rabbis for Human Rights” and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

A big thanks to the documentary filmaker Ibtisam Mara’ana
This project is the initiative of Rabbis For Human Rights