The Palestinian village of Khirbet Susiya has existed in the South Hebron Hills at least since the 1830s. Its residents have traditionally earned a living from shepherding and growing olive trees. In 1983, the Israeli settlement of Susiya was established near the village, on Palestinian land that had been declared state land by Israel. In 1986, about 25 families were living in Khirbet Susiya, in caves and structures. That year, the Civil Administration declared the village’s land an “archeological site”; the land was confiscated “for public purposes” and the Israeli military expelled its residents from their homes. Having no other option, the families relocated to other caves in the area and to flimsy wood frame shelters and tents they erected on agricultural land a few hundred meters southeast of the original village and the archeological site.
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