The community of Susiya
, where 45 Palestinian
families live, is one of the communities most affected by the expansion of the Israeli settlements, and the silent and gradual annexation of land by Israel as the occupying power. Its sheikh, Nassir Nawaja, explains that Israel is expanding its military training areas and as a result 80% of the community’s infrastructure have demolition orders
. Israel intends to relocate them to connect the Israeli settlement of Susiya with the adjacent military camp and a place with ancient archaeological remains.
As the Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights organization says, there is historical documentation of the existence of Palestinians living in this area since 1830. In 1986 they suffered the first forcible displacement from their lands, only three years after the creation of the adjacent Israeli colonial settlement.
The Palestinian inhabitants of Susiya have documents that certify ownership of this land. Some human rights organizations
have helped them to legally appeal against the process and humanitarian organizations
have supported them in order to gain access to basic services.
Nowadays Susiya has become a symbol of the resistance of the Palestinians in Hebron, since there are many more communities in the same situation. Voices like that of Nobel prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa
o John Kirby
, of the United States State Department, have denounced this situation.
Until the situation is legally resolved, residents cannot take their sheep and goats out to graze or harvest their olive trees
.Humanitarian organizations are helping them with water facilities such as tanks, cisterns or latrines, and with solar panels for energy. However, these facilities, many financed with money from Spanish and European citizens, also run the risk of being demolished
On the other hand, the impact of the colonies can also be seen especially in the case of Um Al Kher. This village, situated not far from Hebron and a few metres from the comfortable villas of the Israeli settlement of Karmel, illustrates the brutal contrast between one side of the fences that separate them and the other
.The history of Um Al Kher, where there are now five families left, is a history of forcible transfer. Suleiman, its patriarch, was only eight years old when he was expelled from the Negev desert in 1948 during the Nakba (catastrophe). In 1965 they came to these lands, which they bought with 100 camels. Suleiman tells us about his bread oven (taboon
in Arabic), which has been destroyed on several occasions "because - as they say - its smell and its smoke is annoying the Israeli settlers from the adjacent settlement". But it is clear, as Suleiman points out "that this is not a religious problem
. The problem is that they are occupying our land
With no oven, no land for their sheep, no water for their crops and no access to markets to sell their thyme, the livelihoods of these communities are increasingly diminished, endangering the wel being of their inhabitants.
In 2016 the demolitions, including water infrastructure, schools, farms, stockyards, stables, etc., have increased at an alarming rate. As of 31 December 2016, 1089 structures in the occupied Palestinian territory had been demolished, almost double the total in 2015. To date this has led to the displacement of 1,593 people, including 556 children , and has directly affected the livelihoods of 7,101 people.