Threat of Displacement: The Case of Susya

Susya was a quiet, out-of-the-way Palestinian village of 350 residents in the South Hebron hills prior to the discovery of a historic Jewish synagogue nearby. Since 1983 the archaeological site has drawn Israeli settlers who wished to be near this historic place of worship. To accommodate the expansion of this settlement, the Ministry of Defense has demolished Susya three times. After each demolition the villagers have requested permits to rebuild their community, but they have always been denied. Not wanting to abandon their homes, the residents of Susya have rebuilt their community anyway. But the village lacks basic utilities and access to healthcare and education. Once again in 2016, the Israeli Ministry of Defense issued demolition orders for Susya. International intervention stalled the process, beginning a prolonged legal battle which continues to this day. Members of the United States Congress have taken an active role, asking the State Department to intervene in order to halt the impending demolition. Between July and December of 2017, eleven members of congress and ten senators sent a total of five letters of petition to the State Department and government of Israel. In November 2017, the Israeli High Court issued its final ruling against Susya. The demolition of seven of the village’s twenty structures began on February 1, 2018. The future of the remainder of the village is uncertain.  

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