Scores to face harsh winter homeless as Israel prepares to bulldoze Palestinian village

Scores to face harsh winter homeless as Israel prepares to bulldoze Palestinian village
Israel will bulldoze a fifth of a Palestinian village in the West Bank after legal challenges to the plan fell through.
2 min read
13 February, 2018
Israel has demolished Palestinian homes to make way for illegal settlements [AFP]
Despite international outrage, the village of Susiya in the South Hebron Hills of occupied West Bank is bracing itself for bulldozers, after Israel's High Court gave an initial green light to the government. 

Israel wants to demolish 20 buildings - equal to one fifth of the entire village - including a health clinic funded by the Italian government which cares for around 500 people from Susiya and surrounding communities. 

The High Court has announced that demolition can proceed without delay for seven of the buildings housing 42 residents, half of them children. 

The villagers' lawyers welcomed what they see as a tentative push-back against the demolition process but point out that "the terror of demolition" looms large over the village, with the remaining 13 scheduled buildings still under threat.

Nasser Nawajaa from the Village Council said the timing of the demolition - in the middle of winter - could not be more devastating. Those made homeless are expected to face freezing rains and harsh winds in the coming weeks.

Destroying Susiya
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In 2012, Susiya villagers commissioned a master plan in the hope of putting their lives on a more stable footing.

Israeli authorities, however, rejected the plan, effectively blocking any new construction of houses or essential infrastructure, including running water and electricity.

As a result, adults, children and the elderly house themselves as best they can, often in tents, forbidden from making substantial repairs to their ailing homes - homes located, as Nawajaa stressed, on land that belongs to the Palestinians.

Activists point out that the plan to demolish Susiya is a part of an extensive campaign across the West Bank and East Jerusalem where 2016 saw the largest number of demolitions in over a decade.

Although living under occupation officially means Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are protected by international law, the demolition programme has consistently ignored these rights. 

The Village Council insists that demolishing Susiya will be a war crime and that Palestinians must have the right to build on their own land. 

In a last ditch attempt to save their homes, the villagers are calling on the international community to take emergency action.