a woman from the West Bank village of Sussiya.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The Palestinians living in Sussiya should appeal to the Trump administration to save their West Bank village from demolition by the IDF, Joint List MK Dov Henin said.
He spoke during a solidarity visit to the area on Sunday with his party head, MK Ayman Odeh.
Henin’s words were greeted by quizzical stares from the male villagers who gathered to speak with the two parliamentarians in a small tent with an oriental carpet on the floor and cloth tapestries on the wall.
At issue was the immediate fate of seven illegally built modular structures, mostly tents and shacks, that the IDF is expected to demolish in the near future.
The High Court of Justice is in the process of adjudicating the overall fate of the illegal village of some 100 structures, located in the South Hebron Hills between the Jewish settlement of Sussiya and the archeological ruins of a Jewish community that dates back to the 5th century.
The Obama administration had been vocal in its opposition to the demolition of Sussiya and Democratic members of Congress continue to speak out on its behalf.
“I do not know what the situation is with Trump. No one can say,” said Odeh.
Henin added that with regards to US presidents, sometimes, “even if the overall policy is problematic, on a specific point, they have an interest in showing that they are not one-sided.”
Sussiya is not about local issues regarding land and authorizations, but is part of the larger Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Henin said.
The decision to take down the homes here “comes from the highest echelon” and combating the demolition threat must involve a campaign that creates international pressure to thwart such a move, he said.
The two parliamentarians also made a small video of their visit, tweeted about it and publicly promised to stand with the villagers should the tractors arrive.
Odeh said that the danger to the village has increased in light of the corruption investigation against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The weaker he is, the more dangerous he is,” said Odeh, explaining that he was now more dependent than ever on Bayit Yehudi, which wants to annex Area C of the West Bank.
“Sussiya has become a symbol of the battle against the attempt to expel people [Palestinians and Beduin] from Area C, so that the territory can be annexed with as few Palestinians as possible,” Odeh tweeted from his visit.
This isn’t just the battle of one small village but a battle about Israel’s future and the future of a Palestinian state, Henin said.
“With our visit we want to show that there is still hope for a Palestinian state here,” he added.
The right-wing organization, Regavim, immediately responded to the visit by tweeting a report countering Palestinians ownership claims to the land on which the village was built.
It referred to the village that houses members of the Nawajeh tribe as an outpost that was built illegally and expanded in defiance of a number of High Court decisions.
It added that the villagers have homes in the nearby town of Yatta.
Regavim has long argued that the village is part of a phenomenon of illegal Palestinian building in Area C, designed to create new facts on the ground and to prevent the area from becoming part of sovereign Israel.
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