Abu Jihad, a Susiya village elder, waits anxiously. His home in the south Hebron hills of the occupied West Bank faces demolition for the third time. Legal options are running out as Israeli authorities proceed with their plans to forcibly evict half the village. Global opinion and pressure have helped keep the bulldozers at bay this time around. So far.
The Palestinian herder community of Susiya was forced out of its century-old village in 1986. Israel declared the area an archaeological site and then handed it over to Israeli settlers. The villagers moved into tents and caves on their own farmland, but were evicted from there as well by the Israeli army in 1991. No reasons were given. They now live on another part of their farmland, sandwiched between a hostile Israeli settlement and one of its outposts.
For several decades now, the villagers of Susiya have lived under the constant threat of becoming homeless once again. Mass demolition of their homes and forced evictions took place in 2001 and 2011. Israel claims it has no planning permits to build on the farmland, but at the same time makes it impossible for Palestinians to obtain permits. Residents of Susiya have applied for permits over the years but each application is met with rejection.
Every week somewhere in the West Bank a family watches while their home is demolished by bulldozers
Susiya’s plight is not an exception. In addition, more than 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank – around 7,000 Palestinians – face Israeli pressure to leave their homes. These are among the most vulnerable people in Palestine. Most of them are Palestinian refugees, forced out of southern Israel following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
Read more: Palestine’s latest evictions are a human rights crisis – world leaders must act
For Immediate Release August 7, 2016
Jewish Voice for Peace Supports the Movement for Black Lives and is Appalled that the Jewish Federation Disassociates Itself from the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)–Portland and JVP–national both fully endorse the demands and vision boldly and inspiringly laid out in the recently released Movement for Black Lives platform. The platform, a collective effort of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country, articulates a common vision and agenda and recognizes the shared struggle of Black people with all oppressed people. With the release of this powerful, transformative policy statement, the Black Lives Matter movement has just taken a huge and important step towards the creation of a real movement for social and political change in our country.
Portland JVP endorses the Movement for Black Lives platform in its entirety, without reservation. However, we are deeply disappointed by the statement released August 4th by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland stating their opposition to the Movement for Black Lives platform due to its call for Black-Palestinian solidarity and support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The Federation says it will disassociate itself “from the Black Lives Matter platform and all Black Lives Matter organizations that embrace it.”
It is terribly unfortunate that the Jewish Federation is rejecting thorough and inspiring transformational policy ideas developed by a broad coalition of Black leaders simply because these Black leaders have linked the experiences and struggles of Palestinians with their own. JVP honors those linkages and the non-violent struggle of the Palestinian people, like that of African-Americans, for freedom, justice and equality.
Rather than hear the message, the Jewish Federation chooses instead to kill the messenger. If the Federation wonders why JVP is the fastest growing Jewish organization in the country or why increasing numbers of especially young Jews not only support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, equality and justice, but also feel the Jewish Federation does not speak for them, the Federation need look no further than their deplorable stand on this Movement for Black Lives platform.
The wide-ranging new platform of a coalition growing out of the Black Lives Matter movement includes harsh criticism of Israel, which it describes as an “apartheid state” that, it claims, perpetrates “genocide” against the Palestinian people, endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
Released Monday, the platform of the Movement for Black Lives calls for “an end to the war against Black people” and is the campaign’s first comprehensive document addressing specific federal policies.
Black Lives Matter Network is one of over 50 black-led organizations in the coalition.
While the majority of the document addresses issues other than Israel, the section on foreign policy, titled Invest-Divest, objects to U.S. military aid to Israel, which it describes as “a state that practices systematic discrimination and has maintained a military occupation of Palestine for decades.”
Water shortages are not new for Palestinians. Whether in the occupied Gaza Strip or the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the supply of water flowing into Palestinian homes is strictly capped or obstructed by Israel.
As temperatures climb during the summer, taps run dry. Clemens Messerschmid, a German hydrologist who has worked with Palestinians on their water supply for two decades, calls the situation “hydro-apartheid.”
This year, Israeli journalist Amira Hass published data proving that the Israeli Water Authority had reduced the amount of water delivered to West Bank villages.
In some places, the supply was slashed by half. Her records contradict official denials that water supplies to Palestinian cities and villages are cut during the summer, even though that too is not new.
Cities and small villages have gone as long as 40 days without running water this summer, forcing those who can afford it to haul in water tanks.
Israel’s high court placed the fate of the Palestinian village Susiya and its 340 residents in the hands of defense minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday, leaving it to him to decide whether the army will demolish nearly half its structures, mostly ramshackle dwellings.
On Monday, the court punted a petition the village had submitted with Rabbis for Human Rights requesting that it compel Israel’s occupation administration to recognize the legality of structures that Palestinians had built without permits from the army.
The president of the court, Miriam Naor, said she would reject the petition, but left the decision to Lieberman.
The Civil Administration, the name Israel gives to the military bureaucracy that rules the lives of millions of Palestinians, has refused to grant any building permits to the village.
Susiya is in the South Hebron Hills, and is part of “Area C” – about 60 percent of the West Bank that remains under full Israeli military control with no presence of the Palestinian Authority, according to the terms of the Oslo accords signed by the PLO and Israel in the early 1990s.
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