Palestinian protest Susiya village West Bank
© Allison Deger
Palestinians from Susiya lead protest against the upcoming demolition of their village.
As I write this letter, our village, Susiya, located in the south Hebron Hills of the occupied West Bank of Palestine, is in immediate threat of demolition. The only way to stop the demolition is through international pressure.

On 22 November 2017 the Israeli State Attorney's Office announced that within 15 days they plan to demolish 20 buildings, which represent one-fifth of our village. This will violate the fundamental human rights of around 100 villagers, half of them children. The 20 buildings are our homes and also provide shelter for our animals. The timing of the demolition - in the middle of winter - could not be more devastating. It will leave us vulnerable and exposed to freezing rain and harsh winds. Our health clinic which provides health services for around 500 people from our own and surrounding communities, is among the buildings they plan to demolish. The Israeli authorities also want to demolish our village council which provides services for 350 local residents.

Susiya West Bank village map
© OCHA
Susiya: A community at imminent risk of forced displacement.
In 2012 we commissioned a master plan for our village, which was rejected several times by the Israeli authorities. The rejection prevents us from building houses together with the necessary infrastructure such as running water, electricity and paved roads to create a sustainable life in our village. It leaves us no choice but to remain on our land living in tents, under very difficult conditions, forbidden from building or repairing anything, in order to protect our land from the threat of annexation by the surrounding settlements. In the Israeli government's recent response it was agreed to examine the legal principle of the planning issue. Yet despite the potential to develop a master plan for the village, the government states that it will demolish the 20 buildings immediately. And as we know from past experience, if they come to demolish once, nothing will prevent them coming back and trying to demolish the rest of our village.

The plan to demolish Susiya is a part of an extensive campaign of demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Last year saw the largest number of demolitions in over a decade. This reality has nothing to do with democracy or the rule of law. Instead, the Israeli government has repeatedly violated its obligations to us as protected persons living under occupation. In accordance with international law, Israel has an obligation to provide for the needs of the local protected population, an obligation it openly shirks. Furthermore, it will be a war crime if the Israeli government forcefully displaces our village.

We therefore demand:
  • No forced demolition of our village, Susiya
  • The right to self determination over the natural development of our village
  • Acceptance of our master plan and thereby the planning and building of concrete houses and the necessary infrastructure
The Village Council of Susiya appeals to the international community to stand with us in all possible ways in the face of enforced expulsion by the Israeli state.

Nasser Nawajaa, Susiya Village Council spokesperson

With the support of voices from the international community -

Politicians:

Grahame Morris MP, Chair, Labour Friends of Palestine & Middle East

Richard Burden MP, Labour Party

Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party

Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader, Green Party

Paul Maskey MP, Sinn Féin

Elisha McCallion MP, Sinn Féin

Mickey Brady MP, Sinn Féin

Chris Hazzard MP, Sinn Féin

Barry McElduff MP, Sinn Féin

Francie Molloy MP, Sinn Féin

Michelle Gildernew MP, Sinn Féin

Tommy Sheppard MP, Scottish National Party

Stewart Hosie MP, Scottish National Party

Philippa Whitford MP, Scottish National Party

Lord Norman Warner, Crossbench

Bob Doris MSP, Scottish National Party

Ben McPherson MSP, Scottish National Party

Ruth Maguire MSP, Scottish National Party

Sandra White MSP, Scottish National Party

James Dornan MSP, Scottish National Party

Clare Haughey MSP, Scottish National Party

Ivan McKee MSP, Scottish National Party

Bill Kidd MSP, Scottish National Party

Pauline McNeill MSP, Scottish Labour Party

Claudia Beamish MSP, Scottish Labour Party

John Finnie MSP, Scottish Green Party

Rona MacKay MSP, Scottish Green Party

Molly Scott Cato MEP, Green Party (UK)

Keith Taylor MEP, UK Green Party (UK)

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Labour Party (UK)
David Martin MEP, Labour (UK)
Julie Ward MEP, Labour Party (UK)

Luisa Morgantini former MEP, Italy

Ivo Vajgl MEP, Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia

UK ORGANISATIONS AND TRADE UNIONS

Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the Union

Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer, GMB

Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT

Sally Hunt, General Secretary, UCU

Matt Wrack, General Secretary, FBU

Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF

Lindsey German, Convenor, Stop the War Coalition

Hugh Lanning, Chair, and Ben Jamal, Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Dr Omer El Hamdoon, President of The Muslim Association of Britain

Rev Chris Rose, Director, Amos Trust

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine

Justice for Palestinians, Leamington Spa

Sara Apps, Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK

Friends of Sabeel

Kairos Britain

Academics, Activists, Artists:

Adam Hanieh, SOAS

Laleh Khalili, SOAS

Rafeef Ziadah, SOAS

Bill Bowring, Birkbeck

Eyal Weizman, Goldsmiths

Ilan Pappé, Exeter

Judith Butler, Berkeley University of California

Mahmood Mamdani, Columbia University

Sara Ahmed, independent scholar and feminist writer

Aamer Anwar, Rector of Glasgow University and Human Rights Lawyer

Brian Eno, musician and campaigner

Ken Loach, director

John Rees, broadcaster and writer

Palestinian Organizations and Unions:

Addameer, Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

Agricultural Development Association

Arab Center for Agricultural Development

Alrowwad, Cultural and Arts Society

Arab Agronomists Association

Asala, Palestinian Businesswomen's Association

Bisan Center for Research and Development

Burj Al-luqluq, Social Center Society

Defense for Children International

Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine

Hawwa, Society for Culture and Arts

Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute

Health Work Committees Palestine

Legal Aid and Human Rights Center

Land Research Center

Ma'an Development Center

Mothers School Society

Najdeh Association

Popular Art Center

The Palestinian Farmers' Union

Palestinian Medical Relief Society

Palestinian Union of Health Care Committees

Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development

Rural Women's Development Society

Society of St. Yves

Palestinian Youth Union

Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling

International Organisations:

European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Robert Soeterik, Chair, Netherlands Palestine Committee

Jeff Halper, Co-Founder, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Finland

Diensten Onderzoek Centrum Palestina, Netherlands

ViaVelo Palestina, Belgium

Plateforme Watermael-Boitsfort Palestine, Belgium

Asian Peasant Coalition (representing 43 member organisations across 11 Asian countries)

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines)

Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Unity for Genuine Agrarian Reform), Philippines

Tanggol Magsasaka (Peasant Network for Land, Justice and Human Rights), Philippines

Resistance and Solidarity against Agrochemical TNCs (RESIST), Philippines

The Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine

Palestina Solidariteit

The Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden

Belgian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Netherlands Palestine Committee

BDS Berlin

Checkpoint Singers, Brussels
Palestina Solidariteit vzw, Belgium

Stefano Casi, Vice President, Assopace Palestina, Italy