TEL AVIV, March 29, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli government has asked the High Court of Justice for permission to demolish the ancient Palestinian village of Susia, south of Hebron, and relocate its residents to nearby Yatta, reported the Israeli daily Haaretz.
It said the government’s intent was noted in a response to the High Court of Justice regarding a petition filled by Susia’s residents and human rights organizations about a year ago.
Prior to this, another petition was filed by the Regavim organization, funded by settler-group Amana and regional authorities in the West Bank, calling for Palestinian “illegal outposts” in Susia to be demolished, Haaretz said.
The state opposed the court’s temporary injunction against demolition, despite the fact it often supports such temporary injunctions when they are made against illegal Jewish outposts.
The petition criticized decisions made by the Civil Administration’s planning committee to reject an alternate plan suggested by Susia residents, stating that the relocation to Yatta is in Palestinains’ best interest.
Attorney Kamar Mishraki-Asad, representing the Susia residents, told Haaretz, “It’s incredible, but with the settlements, it was already ruled that Susia land is privately owned and thousands of dunams of land in the area are privately owned by Palestinians.”
“Despite this, for many years the [Israeli] army has prohibited residents from setting up their homes in the area, and rejected any request for construction or planning permits, in order to keep them away from the Sussia settlement and to allow the settlers to continue seizing the agricultural lands, and expel the residents to Areas A and B,” she continued.
“Now, after residents made great efforts and prepared plans for their village, the army continues its policy while cynically relying on planning concerns,” Mishraki-Asad added.
“For years, the army has forbidden water, electricity and drainage infrastructure to be built, and now claims that expelling the residents is for their own good.”
The village is a frequent target for recurrent settler violence and house demolitions by the Israeli authorities. It is located in Area C of the West Bank, where construction permits are often denied by the Israeli Civil Administration leaving residents with no choice but resort to illegal construction.