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Susiya demolition plans may be halted: ‘residents cannot be forced to leave’

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Haaretz is reporting demolition plans for the Palestinian village of Susiya may be halted based on an internal Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) report the paper has obtained confirming the village of Susiya is sitting on Palestinian land privately owned by Susiya’s Jabor and Nawaja families.

The article,”Defense Ministry internal report: Land at village slated for demolition privately owned by Palestinians” states ICA officer Moshe Meiri found the ownership deeds, based on 1881 Ottoman documents submitted by Susiya’s Jabor family were “indeed valid”. The upshot, according to Haaretz, is “Sussia residents cannot be forced to leave Sussia”.

However, while they might not be forced to leave, Meiri says Susiya residents “still need building permits in order to prevent the planned demolition.” But when Susiya residents submitted a professionally developed master plan for the village of Susiya to the ICA 2 years ago and filed a request for building permits, rejected by the ICA, the reasoning given for denying the permits was because they claimed the residents lacked ownership papers . Haaretz notes “Meiri’s report, however, appears to counter the reasoning that building permits cannot be issued to the local people because of a lack of ownership papers.”

Indeed it does.

It is unclear from the article when the internal report was written and how long the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration has been sitting on this document, Haaretz just states the document was drawn up “following an inquiry by the Jabor family”.

One wonders how much warnings and pressure from the U.S. government and the European Union had to do with this decision. No mention of the huge demonstration in the village over the weekend, hundreds of Israelis join in. Nonetheless, it’s fortunate Meiri managed to eventually locate the geographical boundaries on the Ottoman documents:

According to Meiri, a Civil Administration officer responsible for land administration in the West Bank, the Ottoman deed is indeed valid. The same type of deed has also been mentioned by the State Prosecutor’s Office, which has ruled on the borders of various settlements.

The deed was problematic because the boundaries mentioned were unclear, described in terms of geographic features that turned out hard to identify on the ground. But Meiri managed to locate them and found that they indeed included land belonging to the Jabor family, as well as to the Nawaja family.

At the end of ruling, Meiri wrote that the orders issued to the Jabor family should be canceled and that previous court rulings on Sussia should be discussed. Meiri’s ruling came as a surprise to the Civil Administration, especially the head of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, who had personally intervened in the Sussia matter. The wider ramifications of Meiri’s findings are still being considered.

The news comes just 8 days before Israel’s high court hearing is set to hear the villager’s petition on August 3rd. According to B’Tselem, intense pressure by Regavim, a settler organization whose focus is the expulsion of the Palestinian population on both sides of the Green Line, seeking to thwart all avenues for Susiya residents to remain on their land, led to a decision by COGAT, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to carry out demolitions in Susiya before the high court hearing.

 

annie
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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11 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    a blah chick on July 27, 2015, 9:25 am

    As you know I have scratched my head about why Susiya is getting this attention, and maybe you’re right and it has something to do with Regavim’s involvement. They are a scummy outfit.

    It seems the IDF and the government want to climb down, if only a bit. Above all they want to save face. This is what happens when you have a shame/honor based society.

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson on July 27, 2015, 1:57 pm

      RE: “It seems the IDF and the government want to climb down, if only a bit. Above all they want to save face.” ~ a blah chick

      REPLY: The important thing for the government is to be able to deny that they are susceptible to international pressure. Admitting that they are responding to international criticism would be a very slippery slope!

  2. just
    just on July 27, 2015, 10:18 am

    “It is unclear from the article when the internal report was written and how long the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration has been sitting on this document, Haaretz just states the document was drawn up “following an inquiry by the Jabor family”.”

    Great point, Annie. Great news and article. Thank you so very much! I hope that other ‘lost’ documents are soon found and validated.

    The picture is so beautiful. Thanks, Allison.

    PS~ so good to know that “hundreds of Israelis joined in” the protest!

  3. CigarGod
    CigarGod on July 27, 2015, 10:33 am

    Yea!
    A win…for now.

    • amigo
      amigo on July 27, 2015, 2:41 pm

      “A Zio-supremacist general (ret.) admits what is already evident to many others: The “Jewish State” of (Greater) Israel wilfully commits acts of terrorism. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/israeli-general-symbol#sthash.pfK132Nb.dpuf” CG

      The only reason this is not happening is because the US has been clear about their views on the matter.Israeli illegal squats are built on circa 95 % Palestinian land but that never bothered Israel as the US just mouthed the same old ,” We think these actions are counterproductive” or some such anemic protestation.It seems as if POTUS has found some cajones at last.It,s not as if nietanyahu has been remiss in giving him reasons to react in such a manner.

      Let,s hope we see more of this.

  4. just
    just on July 28, 2015, 4:37 pm

    I don’t know what to say…

    “Senator Feinstein urges Netanyahu not to demolish Palestinian village

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to stop Israel’s efforts to raze the Palestinian village of Sussia in the West Bank, saying that uprooting the village’s residents would further isolate Israel, increase tensions with the Palestinians and provoke unnecessary violence.

    “Demolishing Palestinian homes, displacing residents, and seizing additional Palestinian territory in the West Bank is a step away from peace. To preserve land for a future Palestinian state, your government must not destroy Susiya [sic],” the senator wrote in a letter.

    Feinstein gave a detailed account of Sussia’s history and legal battle facing the Civil Administration, noting that the village has existed at least since the 1830s. The Civil Administration should reconsider the village’s petition for a master plan “so that the area’s Palestinian villagers can live in peace and with legal certainty,” Feinstein wrote.

    “I fear that uprooting Susiya’s residents before the world’s attention would only further isolate Israel, increase tension with the Palestinians and provoke unnecessary violence,” she wrote.

    Feinstein concluded by affirming her commitment to Israel, and by urging Netanyahu to refrain from “inflammatory or provocative action. …”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.668347?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    • CigarGod
      CigarGod on July 28, 2015, 4:45 pm

      Well, I know Diane as a woman with a very kind heart, especially toward the young and innocent…at least the ones she knows.
      On the surface, this seems to be good news. Hopefully, more can be stacked on this success.

      • just
        just on July 28, 2015, 4:48 pm

        I hope so too, CG.

        I wish she’d get to know some of the young and innocent in Palestine…

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