Hundreds Protest Susiya House Demolitions

23 June 2012

On Friday June 22, 2012, Palestinian residents of the village of Susiya were joined by hundreds of activists in a demonstration against demolition orders which have recently been issued by the Israeli Occupation Civil Administration in the South Hebron Hills area. An urgent call for action was made earlier this week by a number of organizations, including PSP, the Beit Ommar Popular Committee, and the South Hebron Hills Popular committee, urging fellow activists to mobilize after Susiya last week received demolition orders for more than fifty structures: tents, water wells, and the only school in the area.

Over 500 residents, popular committee members, and Israeli and international activists gathered in the centre of Susiya at around midday before marching towards the nearby illegal settlement, also named Susiya but built on stolen land where the old Palestinian village once stood.

Demonstrators chanted, waved Palestinian flags and played drums as they made their way down the road but were soon met by heavily armed soldiers and police who proceeded to attack the peaceful protest with sound bombs and tear gas. As demonstrators attempted to move past the soldiers they were pushed violently and subjected to more sound bombs thrown from very close range. There were a number of attempted arrests which were prevented by fellow activists on the ground. A local Susiya resident was violently grabbed by police but other activists managed to save him. Despite the violence of the Israeli Occupation Forces, protestors continued their non-violent action until the demonstration came to an end.

Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills, including Susiya, are suffering from a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Their houses have been demolished countless times and as a result many residents of Susiya are currently residing in tents, some even in caves, with no electricity or access to running water. Susiya now faces a new wave of demolition orders, whilst the nearby illegal settlement, built on stolen Palestinian land, consumes vast amounts of the local water and the only electricity supply.