High Court ruling paves way for demolition of unauthorized Palestinian village

Village home to 340 Palestinians in southern Hebron Hills is located on land for which villagers claim ownership, but they lack proper permits to build structures, even temporary ones.

May 5, 2015 22:30
2 minute read.
palestinian Sussiya

Palestinians demonstrate against the demolition of the village Sussiya by Israel, June 2012. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A High Court of Justice ruling would allow the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria to demolish the unauthorized village of Sussiya in the South Hebron Hills, which is home to 340 Palestinians.

In February 2014, Rabbis for Human Rights and Sussiya residents petitioned the court on behalf of the village and had asked for an injunction to prevent the demolitions of its homes until after the case was adjudicated.

On Monday, the High Court rejected that request, adding that it understood that an alternative living solution was available for the residents of the village.

“It is unusual for the state to oppose a temporary restraining order in this way,” said Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights. “It heightens our suspicion that they have an intent to demolish Sussiya before there is an actual court hearing on the case.”

The attorney for the village, Quamar Mishirqi-Assad, explained that the state wants the village to relocate from its present location near the Sussiya settlement in Area C of the West Bank to land that is closer to Area B, which is under the civil control of the Palestinian Authority.

The village is located on land for which the villagers claim ownership, but they lack the proper permits to build structures, even the temporary ones, on the land.

The latest round of the village’s three-decade battle with the IDF began in 2012 when the civil administration reissued demolition orders against the village but did not carry them out.

The non-governmental group Regavim, which fights against illegal Palestinian and Israeli Arab construction, petitioned the High Court to force the state to carry out the demolition orders.

To prevent the demolition, Rabbis for Human Rights submitted a building and zoning plan for the village to the civil administration, which was rejected in 2013.

The High Court closed the case in February 2014, after the state promised the court it would demolish the village.

But the plans were suspended when Rabbis for Human Rights filed their own petition to the court, in which it appealed the civil administration’s decision to reject the building and zoning plan.

According to a report on Sussiya published by the NGO B’Tselem, the village was initially located in the middle of an archeological site. In 1986, the IDF forced the village to relocate. The villagers rebuilt their homes of tents and temporary structures on agricultural land they owned just a few hundred meters away.

The civil administration destroyed the village in 2001, after a resident of the Sussiya settlement, Yair Har Sinai, was killed by Palestinians.

Villagers rebuilt the village, but in 2011 the civil administration demolished 14 structures in the village.

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