IDF stops Palestinians from building illegal road to Sussiya

By
September 1, 2016 09:08
2 minute read.
A Palestinian boy places a Palestinian flag on a tent in the West Bank village of Sussiya

A Palestinian boy places a Palestinian flag on a tent in the West Bank village of Sussiya. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Civil Administration on Wednesday stopped the Palestinians from building an illegal road to the herding village of Sussiya in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank.

The attempt to construct the road comes as the High Court of Justice is deciding whether to raze some unauthorized 30 structures in the village which are believed to have been built after February 2014.

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The HCJ has ordered a freeze on construction in Sussiya since that date, because of the court proceedings.

The South Hebron Hills Regional Council and the non-governmental group Regavim, saw the Palestinian road work and alerted the Cviil Administration.

“During a supervised tour in Sussiya, two pieces of illegal paving equipment were caught without approval from authorities in Area C,” the Civil Administration said.

“The road paved by this equipment leads to illegal structures, which are currently being evaluated by the court and all authorities involved agree that these activities as a whole in this location are forbidden,” the Civil Administration said.

The village of some 100 structures and 350 people, is located near the settlement of Sussiya and close to an archeological park, with houses the remains of a fifth century synagogue.

The High Court of Justice in the midst of adjudicating a petition, that was first put forward by Rabbis for Human Rights over whether a master plan should be issued for the village, that would allow for the authorization of the structures, which are mostly large tents.

Over the last year, the Palestinians from Sussiya and the Civil Administration have held a number of meeting over the possible approval of such a master plan, that would allow for the construction of building in an area that is now solely for agricultural use.

If no master plan is approved, it is expected that the Civil Administration could raze the entire village.

Those proceedings were put on hold, however, when Avigdor Liberman, who heads the Yisrael Beytenu party became the defense minister in June.

Since he had previously stated that he believed the entire village should be razed, the Civil Administration wanted to know his opinion on the issue of a master plan, before continuing its talks with the Palestinians.

The HCJ ordered Liberman to issue such an opinion. He has since asked for permission to submit that opinion on November 15th, one week after the US elections.

The court has not yet stated whether he would be given such an extension. Should the delay be grated the court would also have to decide whether the 30 structures should be demolished in the interim or they can remain standing until a ruing is issued on the entire village.

An intense campaign by left-wing organizations

Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are under pressure both from right-wing politicians who want to see the village demolished and from the international community, which wants Israel to legalize it.

Regavim and the South Hebron Hills Regional Council believe the unauthorized construction of the village, is part of an overall plan by the Palestinian Authority to increase its territorial hold on that areal.

The international community believes that Israel wants to demolish the village, because as part of a larger plan for the de-facto annexation of Area C of the West Bank.

While Liberman did not issue a statement to the court, he does plan to visit the settlement of Sussiya on Thursday morning to mark the first day of school.



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