Many of you will have been following the blogs written by our EAs about the plight of the village of Susiya in the southern West Bank. At the beginning of May, the Israeli High Court ruled that officials could carry out demolition orders on the entire village, forcibly transferring over 250 people from the place in which they have lived since before the occupation of the West Bank began in 1967.
On July 2 we received reports from our EAs who had witnessed military and demolition equipment starting to arrive outside the village. On July 12, high-ranking Israeli officials visited the village and told residents that the demolitions would be carried out before August 3.
After a huge international outcry, and public and diplomatic pressure, the Israeli authorities announced on July 30 that the demolitions would be temporarily delayed. This delay has brought the villagers much-needed breathing space but their struggle is far from over. It’s not yet clear whether this delay will become a permanent decision. Until a decision is made, the agonising uncertainty of what tomorrow, next week or next month may bring continues for the villagers – uncertainty that affects minds, nerves, childhoods and livelihoods. That’s why it’s vital we continue to speak out and keep the pressure up on our elected representatives so the villagers of Susiya can fulfil their dream to live on their own land in peace and without fear.The village of Susiya is only one example of communities across Palestine facing demolition and forced transfer. At the present moment, the Israeli government is working on plans to forcibly transfer as many as 7,000 Palestinians from 46 other communities in the West Bank, in some cases to make way for more illegal settlements. Despite strong international opposition, it has become clear that the Israeli government is now moving ahead to make this wider plan a reality.
The UN Secretary-General has said that if the transfers go ahead they will be in violation of international law and represent a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The situation is now urgent with fears that the demolitions and forcible transfers could take place imminently.
Please write to your MP (in the UK) or TD (in Ireland) to ask them raise your concerns with the government and take action. You can use the template email and letter below to contact your elected representative.
Our Ecumenical Accompaniers are in close contact with the affected communities and are actively monitoring the effects of these policies. You can read the latest blogs and photo essays written by EAs on this issue by clicking on the following links:
Thank you for your support.
If you are in Ireland, please ask your TD to write to the Foreign Minister in the template below. You can find your TD’s email or postal address by clicking here.
If you are in the UK, please ask your MP to write to the Foreign Secretary in the template below. You can find your MP’s email or postal address by clicking here.
Please amend the template below as appropriate. Please also add your home address to your email or letter as MPs and TDs are only required to action correspondence from their own constituents. Thank you.
Dear [name of elected representative],
I am contacting you as your constituent to ask that you write to the [Foreign Minister/Foreign Secretary] urgently to express my deep concern about the Israeli government’s plan to demolish the entire village of Susiya in the southern West Bank.
At the beginning of May 2015, the Israeli High Court refused a petition for a restraining order against outstanding demolition orders in Susiya. The refusal means the Israeli Civil Administration is now able to implement outstanding orders against the entire community. If these demolitions go ahead, over 250 people will be evicted from the place in which they have lived since before the occupation of the West Bank started in 1967.
Following public and diplomatic pressure, the Israeli authorities announced at the end of July that the demolitions would be temporarily delayed. It’s not yet clear whether this delay will become a permanent decision. Until a decision is made, the agonising uncertainty of what tomorrow, next week or next month may bring continues for the villagers – uncertainty that affects minds, nerves, childhoods and livelihoods.
The village of Susiya is only one example of communities across Palestine facing demolition and forced transfer. At the present moment, the Israeli government is advancing plans to forcibly relocate as many as 7,000 Palestinian Bedouin from 46 other communities in occupied Palestine. The UN Secretary-General has stated that the Israeli government’s implementation of this relocation plan would amount to individual and mass forcible transfers and evictions, representing a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The plan includes transferring Palestinian communities from the politically sensitive “E1 area” in order to expand the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. Such a move would destroy any chance of a viable Palestinian state by effecting cutting the West Bank in two.
Despite strong opposition from the international community, the Israeli government has taken a number of steps recently to advance the plan, including starting work at one of the sites to which Palestinians will be forcibly transferred and appointing a retired General to liaise with affected communities and oversee the transfer process.
Given the urgency of the situation, I would be grateful if you could write to the [Foreign Minister/ Foreign Secretary] to raise these concerns and ask that the [UK/Ireland] issue a public statement and call directly on the Israeli government to immediately freeze all settlement activity and demolition orders, and cancel all transfer plans.
I look forward to receiving your response.
[Your name and address]