Monday, July 16, 2007

SUSIYA (SOUTH HEBRON HILLS): Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals show solidarity with Susiya village

Dear sisters and brothers,

Here is an encouraging story of solidarity in the midst of imminent destruction.  Where is solidarity needed in your own community or region?  How are you already providing it?  What might it look like for you to take a next step in solidarity with the threatened or the oppressed close to where you live?

May God grant us courage. 

1 Corinthians 16:13: "
Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. "


Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

14 July 2007
SUSIYA (SOUTH HEBRON HILLS): Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals show solidarity with Susiya village
by Matthew Chandler

Over 150 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals gathered Saturday, 7 July 2007 to support the people of Susiya, a small Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills that faces expulsion and destruction by the Israeli.  (See 21 June 2007 CPTnet release, "SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Palestinians from Susiya face threat of eviction for fifth time.") The event was a follow-up to a small informational tour the previous Saturday.

The group heard a series of representatives from Susiya and the surrounding Palestinian villages share their struggle to survive in the face of constant harassment, abuse and land confiscation from the Israeli forces and settlers who surround them.  A visitor from Beit Ummar summarized the sense of frustration among the group: "We cannot speak of the High Court of Justice" (referring to the Israeli judiciary that dismissed Susiya's appeal to prevent demolition.) "It is the High Court of Injustice." A representative from Ta'ayush, an Israeli peace organization, also spoke about his group's efforts to achieve justice in the region.  "We thank the people of Susiya for their hospitality and their steadfast courage," he said, "They are doing this for all of us, and it is our privilege to be part of this struggle."

The day's activities culminated with a walking tour around the Palestinians' homes and farmlands, again hearing the stories of demolition and harassment at each stop.  Palestinians and Israelis sang and chanted together, saying, "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies," and, "From Susiya to Beirut, the people live and will not die." Members of the Israeli-Palestinian organization Combatants for Peace carried a banner reading, "This is not about security.  This is about outright theft!"

Dozens of Israeli soldiers and police officers confronted the group when the tour entered the closed military zone near Susya settlement, the primary source of harassment for Palestinians in the area.  All parties remained calm, however, and no injuries or arrests occurred.

Several residents of Susiya reported to CPT and Operation Dove that they were encouraged to know they were not alone.  Local and international journalists covered the event, stressing the Israeli government's public relations regarding policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  Villagers still do not know what the outcome of the decision of the Israeli Civil Administration will be for the fate of their village.  A political concession is the last hope the residents of Susiya have for preventing their imminent eviction.


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