You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘General’ category.

sos-susya

A request that you take action to help save Susya before the holiday begins this evening.

The military’s Civil Administration in the Occupied Territories is holding a hearing on Sunday that could determine the fate of Susya. As a counter to settler demands to demolish Palestinian Susya, the High Court granted us the opportunity to submit a building and zoning master plan that would allow the residents of Susya to build legally on their lands – a plan that should have existed long ago, but is almost inconceivable when the Israeli army is given the “White man’s burden” of planning for Palestinians.

To refresh your memory about Susya, you may wish to see the lastest chapters our Susya videoblog by award winning filmmaker Ibtisam Mara’ana and/or read more background.

Then, write that letter!

Advertisements

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 deals with the violent and every now and then even support the extremists  Hamudy, a child from Palestinian Susya is telling us about how he’s experience these events.

Watch – Episode #6: Right-wing extremists violent through the eyes of the children in Palestinian Susya

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. Palestinian Susya is one of the Palestinian villages that never gained recognition by the military administration [even though its present location results from the military expelling the residents from its original site]. Therefore the village is not connected to electricity or water, and has no sewage disposal system, let alone roads or pavements; its residents live in slums of abject poverty and neglect. Directly across from them, in the Jewish settlement of Susya, illegal construction [by Israeli law] is whitewashed and supported by 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 violence 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 transfer 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, but in the absence of the caves were forced to built tents and shanties against which demolition orders have been issued. As we can see, the settler violence creates a chain of problems beyond its immediate consequences: a takeover of agricultural land, expulsion from the land and all the attendant legal problems.

Watch the first five videos from Susya

Introducing the Children of Susya

Susya’s Elementary School

Not Connected to the Water Infrastructure

Installing biogas systems In Susya

Not Connected to the Education Infrastructure

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 in democracy and the ability to choose against the dictatorship that seeks to impose its rules.

Watch: Not Connected to the Education Infrastructure

Arava Institute alumni together with local Palestinian residents are installing biogas systems in which methane for domestic use is produced from manure.


3 More videos from Susya 

Introducing the Children of Susya

Susya’s Elementary School

Not Connected to the Water Infrastructure

What do you feel about Installing biogas systems In Susya?

Photo: Guy | Taayosh

Photo: Guy | Taayosh

Thank you to the over 1,000 of you who in the space of a few days sent letters to President Shimon Peres asking for his intervention in preventing the demolition of the entire village of Susya.  If you have not already done so, please forward a copy of your letter to info@rhr.israel.net.  Please also forward to us any response you receive.  Thousands of you have entered our Susya website, and many of you have viewed the moving video blog posts filmed by award winning documentary film maker Ibtisam Mara’ana.  Keep it up! We hope to have more posts (and perhaps more action requests) soon.

Many of you have anxiously enquired what happened in Court on Thursday.  We were cautiously optimistic about the attitude of the judges, and feel that we succeeded in making the point that neither the position of Regavim nor the position of the State is just.  The fact that there is no zoning plan allowing the residents of Susya to build legally, and the fact that the security forces are dragging their feet in dealing with cases of land takeovers, denial of access to lands, inadequate protection against violence, etc., are both functions of the power the State holds over Palestinians because Palestinians are not represented in the bodies controlling their fate.

 

B’Vrakha,

Rabbi Arik Ascherman                    Advocate Quamar Mishirqi Asad

                                                            Head of RHR’s OT Legal Department

Here is the RHR press release written after we received the Court’s interim decisions on Sunday:

 

On Sunday (February 2nd) the Israeli Supreme Court Issued Interim Decisions Following Last Thursday’s (31 January) Hearing Regarding the Palestinian Village of Susya

Last Thursday RHR represented the Palestinian village of Susya in Israel’s Supreme Court in one case where the extreme right wing NGO Regavim demanded the demolition of the entire village. The Court also heard RHR’s petition calling for an end of foot dragging by the Israeli Civil Administration in multiple examples of land takeovers, denial of access to Palestinian owned farming and grazing lands, and sources of water, etc.  In the first case the Court is giving the Government the time it requested to process an alternative zoning plan submitted by RHR in order to legalize Susya’s homes, and acceded to our demand that 90 days be given to create a second plan for additional homes not represented by RHR and outside the first plan. Regarding RHR’s petition, the Court issued an order demanding that the State report within 60 days on progress made. Last week over 1,000 of letters were sent to President Shimon Peres within several days asking for his assistance to ensure that the residents of Susya are not displaced yet again. The President can not intervene with the court process, but can ask the State to take place to safeguard the residents.

Regarding the petition of the far-right organization Regavim calling for demolition of the village, the court decided – in accordance with attorneys Avital Sharon and Kamer Mishraki of RHR, who represent the village – to grant an extension of 90 days, to allow for the preparation of a plan for the southern section of the village. The state has never provided suitable planning for Palestinian Susya, as it must. The planning system determining the fate of Palestinians in Area C is a military system in which Palestinians  are not represented. (It is as if the Palestinian Police were to plan Israeli towns without involving Israelis in the process). Granting the possibility of submitting plans by private parties in dialogue with the villagers is the least that can be expected in terms of justice and fairness.

In the petition that RHR submitted on behalf of the Susya residents against the methodical blockage of Palestinian access to their lands, the court gave the state 90 days to detail its plans. In paragraph 1 of the decision the court directs the State to address in detail each plot around Susya, and in the absence of a court decision, to provide a date by which the investigation will conclude.

Quammar Mishirqi Asad (Attorney heading RHR’s OT Legal Department): “Overall it’s a positive ruling, under the circumstances. You have to understand that the attempt to expell the Palestinian villagers of Susya to the town of Yata, far from their livelihood – their fields – demonstrates a readiness to trample human rights in favor of an unofficial political policy to annex parts of Area C – annexation of land without Palestinians. Any political program must be subject to the principles of human and civil rights.”

Rabbi Arik Ascherman: “The truth is, it is we Israelis who are on trial. How is it that we have created a country in which we that twice expelled families from their homes, reduced them to living on their farmlands in caves, destroyed those caves, and then issued demolition orders on every alternative shelter they built? The prophet Nathan once accused King David of being akin to a rich man who takes the one little ewe lamb of a poor man, “You are that man.” (Samuel II 12:7) When the ruling comes out, we will know if we are that state. King David recognized that he was the man.. If we recognize who we are today, maybe we will succeed in becoming who we want to be tomorrow.”

A Brief History of Palestinian Susya: In the 1980’’s the original village was designated an archaeological zone and cleared of its residents with no alternative accommodations; entry by Palestinians was barred, not even as visitors. With no choice the uprooted villagers moved to their nearby fields. All buildings deemed illegal are the result of forced expulsion, as is the destruction of the caves in which most of the villagers lived until 2001 (which is what forced them to set up tents). For more extended history please click Here!

What do you feel about the Supreme Court Proceedings on Thursday (31 January) Regarding the Palestinian Village of Susya?

Photo: Guy from Taayosh

Photo: Guy from Taayosh

Last Thursday we came to the Supreme Court to protect the future of Susya, from both demolitions and violence. Read the outcome of the legal discussion. Thanks to everyone who distributed the call for help (thousands of letters were sent to President Shimon Peres asking for his assistance) and who came to the Court!

Further Update from the Two Supreme Court Petitions on Susya

The Supreme Court published its interim decision today on the future of the Palestinian village of Susya [31 Jan 2013]: 

Regarding the petition of the far-right organization Regavim calling for demolition of the village, the court decided – in accordance with attorneys Avital Sharon and Quamar Mishirky-Asad of RHR, who represent the village – to grant an extension of 90 days, to allow for the preparation of a plan for the southern section of the village. The state has never provided suitable planning for Palestinian Susya – as it must – and that the planning system which determines the fate of Palestinians in Area C is a military system that does not represent the residents (it is as if the Palestinian Police were to plan Israeli towns without involving Israelis in the process). Granting the possibility of submitting plans by civic parties in dialogue with the villagers is the least that can be expected in terms of justice and fairness. 

In the petition that RHR submitted on behalf of the Susya residents, against the methodical blockage of access to their lands, the court gave the state 90 days to detail its plans in that regard. In paragraph 1 of the decision the court directs the state to address in detail to each plot around Susya, and in the absence of a court decision, to provide a date by which the investigation will conclude. 

Quamar Mishirky Asad: “Overall it’s a positive ruling, under the circumstances. You have to understand that the attempt to push the Palestinian villagers of Susya into the town of Yata, far from their livelihood – their fields – demonstrates a readiness to trample human rights in favor of an unofficial political policy to annex parts of Area C – annexation without Palestinians. Any political program must be subject to the principles of human and civil rights.” 

Rabbi Arik Ascherman: “The truth is that we, Israeli society, are judged on our use of the monopoly of force to determine the fate of Palestinians; of those unrepresented among the judges of the Supreme Court or the planning commissions that determine their future. How can we be a country that twice expelled families from their homes in Susya, pressed them until they lived in caves, destroyed those caves, and then issued demolition orders for anything they built with a roof? Nathan the prophet told David that the king himself was the man who had stolen the poor man’s allegorical sheep. When the ruling comes out, the people will now if we are the analogous state. King David recognized himself in the story. If we recognize who we are today, maybe we will succeed in becoming who we want to be tomorrow.” 

A Brief History of Palestinian Susya: In the 1980’’s the original village was designated an archaeological zone and cleared of its residents with no alternative accommodations; entry by Palestinians was barred, not even as visitors. With no choice the uprooted villagers moved to their nearby fields. All buildings deemed illegal are the result of forced expulsion, as is the destruction of the caves in which most of the villagers lived until 2001 (which is what forced them to set up tents). For more extended history please click Here! 

What do you feel about the Supreme Court Proceedings on Thursday (31 January) Regarding the Palestinian Village of Susya?

In this post we accompany the children of the Shuneran family on their daily chore of shepherding and sheep grazing. One must remember that the area where Susya is located is an arid area, which makes it difficult for the farmers to maintain their livestock. Given that the people in Susya are not connected to the water infrastructure, they and their livestock are dependent on water from cisterns. However, the cisterns are often being deliberately polluted and/or permanently damaged, apparently by settlers from nearby settlements. Due to the scant precipitation in the area, the water accumulated in the cisterns does not last for the entire year.  Therefore, the people in Susya have to buy their water from Israeli settlements, such as Kiryat Arba.

In the video Fariha relates that the settlers used to hassle the local residents even when she was a little girl, but the harassments have worsened in the past few years. Alhough the children in Susya behave with much more maturity than one would expect from children their age because  they need to take care of their family’s livestock, work in the field, and maintain the household, they are still kids with dreams, hobbies, hopes, and aspirations. The settlers’ violence and the political situation in the area prevents Susya’s children from following their dreams and fulfilling themselves, because they bear such responsibility for the welfare of their families.

Watch: Not Connected to the Water Infrastructure

Act Now!

On Thursday, 31 January, the RHR will be defending Susya in Israel’s High Court against a petition to demolish the entire village.

Help us prevent Susya from being wiped out.

  • Spread word of the injustice;
  • Write to Israel’s President Shimon Peres (Sample letter and email below), demanding that this moral stain in our name be prevented. President Peres cannot and should not interfere with the legal process.  However, if we meet our goal of 2400 letters in the next 24 hours we may be able to generated some much needed publicity before the hearing, and influence what President Peres does after the hearing.

Write to President Shimon Peres:

Email: President of the state of Israel Mr. Shimon Peres: public@president.gov.il

 

Fax: +972-2-5887225

Please send copies of all emails and faxes, as well as any responses you receive, to RHR at info@rhr.israel.net

Subject: Please use your power to prevent the injustice of wiping out the entire Palestinian village of Susya

 

Dear Mr. President

 

Please use your power to prevent the injustice of wiping out the entire Palestinian village of Susya, whose only offense is building for its own survival. The villagers have they been forced to build their flimsy homes on their farmland only because they have been twice expelled from their homes by the IDF.

Background: The Palestinian village Susya is located in the South Hebron Hills, one of the poorest, disempowered areas in the entire West Bank. It is one of several small communities in the region that are part of a unique culture living until this day in caves.  Susya consists mainly of tents and the few remaining caves not destroyed, with no electricity, water or sewage infrastructure. The residents barely subsist on seasonal agriculture and herding. The attempt to force these simple people off their lands has been likened to the kivsat harash,

Susya is located on its residents’ farmland, for which they have no construction permits. They didn’t move there to flout the law.  Rather, they were expelled from their previous homes. Many of the residents originally lived just on the Israeli side of the 1967 border, but joined family members in the original village of  Susya after being expelled into the West Bank in 1948.  In 1986 the Susya was declared a closed archaeological zone because an ancient Hebrew synagogue had been unearthed there. The Palestinians were expelled from their village without receiving any alternative accommodations. They moved to a different set of caves on their farmland.

In 2001 all the villagers were again expelled, this time from their farmland. Again, the army destroyed the caves in which they lived. The reason: A settler from the adjacent settlement of Susya had been murdered. The killer eventually apprehended was from the town of Yatta, but that didn’t stop the army from destroying all of Susya. The idea of collective punishment – of punishing an entire village for the offenses of one person – is distorted, destructive and unlawful to begin with. But, in the case of Susya,  the punishment was meted out to a village that had nothing to do with the murder.

The Israeli High Court ruled that demolitions must stop, and the residents must be permitted to return. Because the caves had been destroyed, the Susya residents were forced to build tin shanties and tents.  However, planning for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories has been controlled by the military since 1971, without Palestinian representation. The planning committees were unprepared to even approve the construction needed to replace the caves illegally demolished by the army. Demolition orders have been issued for all structures in the village from 2001 until today. Recently, the extremist organization Regavim petitioned the court to expedite the carrying out of outstanding demolition orders. The entire village is in peril.

This Thursday, January  31st, a fateful High Court hearing on the Regavim petition will take place.  It will not only determine Susya’s future, but will have implications for endangered homes throughout the Occupied Territories. We are cautiously optimistic that the Court will not approve Regavim’s request, because the Court will probably accept the State’s  position that demolitions cannot be carried out before due consideration has been given to a new alternative zoning plan that has submitted by Rabbis For Human Rights.  However, if the Court merely accepts the State position, we leave in place the discriminatory planning system denying Susya and other Palestinian communities any possibility of even minimum humanitarian development. In all likelihood, the Civil Administration will eventually reject the new zoning plan, and Susya will be again in danger.

 First and foremost, this terribly unjust. Please take to heart the Torah’s oft repeated command to remember the bitterness of Egyptian oppression when we relate to the strangers in our midst.  Furthermore,  the hatred and misery created by planning discrimination and administrative demolitions make the dream of peace and security ever more distant, and further erode Israel’s standing in the community of nations.

We know that you cannot and should not interfere in judicial decisions.  However, you can use your influence to persuade the new Israeli government to end the intentionally discriminatory planning process for Palestinians in Area C, and you can work for a moratorium on administrative home demolitions until such time as a more just system is in place.

Sincerely,

Your name

Background: The Palestinian village Susya is located in the South Hebron Hills, one of the poorest, disempowered areas in the entire West Bank. It is one of several small communities in the region that are part of a unique culture living until this day in caves.  Susya consists mainly of tents and the few remaining caves not destroyed, with no electricity, water or sewage infrastructure. The residents barely subsist on seasonal agriculture and herding. The attempt to force these simple people off their lands has been likened to the kivsat harash, the Biblical parable of a wealthy man who steals the one ewe lamb of a poor man. The prophet Nathan uses this story to rebuke King David.

Susya is located on its residents’ farmland, for which they have no construction permits. They didn’t move there to flout the law.  Rather, they were expelled from their previous homes. Many of the residents originally lived just on the Israeli side of the 1967 border, but joined family members in the original village of  Susya after being expelled into the West Bank in 1948.  In 1986 the Susya was declared a closed archaeological zone because an ancient Hebrew synagogue had been unearthed there. The Palestinians were expelled from their village without receiving any alternative accommodations. They moved to a different set of caves on their farmland.

In 2001 all the villagers were again expelled, this time from their farmland. Again, the army destroyed the caves in which they lived. The reason: A settler from the adjacent settlement of Susya had been murdered. The killer eventually apprehended was from the town of Yatta, but that didn’t stop the army from destroying all of Susya. The idea of collective punishment – of punishing an entire village for the offenses of one person – is distorted, destructive and unlawful to begin with. But, in the case of Susya,  the punishment was meted out to a village that had nothing to do with the murder.

The Israeli High Court ruled that demolitions must stop, and the residents must be permitted to return. Because the caves had been destroyed, the Susya residents were forced to build tin shanties and tents.  However, planning for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories has been controlled by the military since 1971, without Palestinian representation. The planning committees were unprepared to even approve the construction needed to replace the caves illegally demolished by the army. Demolition orders have been issued for all structures in the village from 2001 until today. Recently, the extremist organization Regavim petitioned the court to expedite the carrying out of outstanding demolition orders. The entire village is in peril.

On Thursday, January  31st, a fateful Supreme Court hearing on the Regavim petition will take place.  It will not only determine Susya’s future, but will have implications for endangered homes throughout the Occupied Territories. We are cautiously optimistic that the Court will not approve Regavim’s request, because even the State has said that demolitions cannot be carried out before due consideration has been given to a new alternative zoning plan RHR has submitted, that would legalize the homes and school and solar panels of Susya.  However, if the Court merely accepts the State position, we leave in place the discriminatory planning system denying Susya and other Palestinian communities any possibility of even minimum humanitarian development.

We must spread the word regarding this injustice, and the desecration of God’s Name that could take place -In our name. We cannot let our country act toward the stranger in our midst in such a way that we forget our heritage. We were slaves in Egypt, and we have been commanded to remember the bitter taste of oppression.

For more information: The origin of the expulsion – A Brief history of Palestinian Susya

Please join us in the High Court on This Thursday (31.1) at 11:30 in order to Save Susya!

559642_384659194943897_1673527328_n

On Thursday the Supreme Court will hold two sessions regarding two petitions affecting the future of the Palestinian village Susya. One will discuss the organization Regavim’s petition to expedite the demolition of most of the village. The other petition seeks to prevent the villagers’ remaining lands from being rendered off limits to them.  Read the rest of this entry »

This video will introduce Susya’s elementary school, which was established four years ago and has been under the constant threat of demolition. The pending demolition orders issued by the Israeli Civil Administration (The branch of the Israeli army that deals with civilian affairs.) put at risk the basic right to education for dozens of young students, and threaten to destroy years of hard work carried out by devoted teachers. The school offers the first stage of education for children between the ages of 6-11 (Sometimes children attend even when they are older, as they cannot afford to continue their education elsewhere). The school is run by the principal, Muhammad Abu Jaber, and four teachers. The faculty members and the principal are also responsible for the maintenance of the school. Because educational alternatives are very distant and require families to pay for transportation, the existence of this school is critical to the lives of the younger generation of Susya.

Watch! Susya’s Elementary School

Read the rest of this entry »

In this video-post you will get to know the children of the Nawaja and Shuneran families, the two largest families in Susya. You can observe the difficulty of growing up in a deprived village under constant threat of demolition. The population of Susya is impoverished, existing on the margins of Palestinian society. The simple wish of Susya’s residents is to be able to continue to make a living by practicing their traditional lifestyle of grazing and agricultural work. If we take away their ability to sustain themselves, who will take moral and practical responsibility for their welfare?

Watch: Introducing the Children of Susya

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow me on Twitter

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,843 other followers

Introducing the Children of Susya

In this video-post you will get to know the children of the Nawaja and Shuneran families, the two largest families in Susya.

Susya’s Elementary School

This video will introduce Susya's elementary school, which was established four years ago and has been under the constant threat of demolition

Not Connected to the Water Infrastructure

In this post we accompany the children of the Shuneran family on their daily chore of shepherding and sheep grazing.

Not Connected to the Education Infrastructure

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 in democracy and the ability to choose against the dictatorship that seeks to impose its rules.

Right-wing extremists violent through the eyes of the children in Palestinian Susya

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 deals with the violent and every now and then even support the extremists  Hamudy, a child from Palestinian Susya is telling us about how he’s experience these events.

“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.

“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.

תגיות

. President/Prime Minister 3 More videos from Susya 10 years old Hadidja A-Twany act now A Fair and Just Consideration of Susya's Master Plan ancient hebrew Arava Institute alumni archaeological zone A story of a Palestinian village without basic infrastructure #2 cautious optimism civil administration climate demolition environment episode of Disconnected For treatment of Regavim’s misleading responses to the issue idf Important Supreme Court Session on the Future of the Palestinian Village of Susya installing biogas systems in which methane for domestic use is produced from manure interim decisions Introducing the Children of Susya israel israeli army israeli civil administration israeli supreme court judiciary Kiryat Arba local Palestinian residents middle-east mt hebron nature Not connected to the water infrastructure occupied territories palestine Palestinian village palestinian village without basic infrastructure politics rabbis for human rights rhr right wing extremists save susya science shimon peres Shuneran family south hebron hills south hebron mountains supreme court justice susya Susya's children. Susya's Elementary School temporary injunction Thank You! The origin of the expulsion – A Brief history of Palestinian Susya the people in Susya threatened with destruction Video #1: Introducing the Children of Susya Video #4: Not Connected to the school video-blog video-post videoblog Watch: Installing biogas systems In Susya west bank palestinians Write to the President and prime Minister

Blog Stats

  • 7,583 hits

STAT

try{ clicky.init(19880); }catch(e){}

Performancing Metrics

%d bloggers like this: