I received this email this morning from EAPPI. The South Hebron Hills village of Susiya, a village we visited often during our time in Palestine, is in imminent danger of demolition by the Israeli authorities. Please read this letter and then, PLEASE ACT.
Somewhere, somehow….justice will prevail.
Peace, Salaam, Shalom,
From: EAPPI Advocacy Officer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 5:21 AM
Subject: URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Imminent Threat of Mass Demolitions in the Palestinian Village of Susiya
To: EAPPI Advocacy Officer <email@example.com>
SUMMARY OF EVENTS:
Generations of Palestinians have lived the village of Susiya in the South Hebron Hills. Yet, this village, sandwiched between Israeli settlements, has been consistently denied building permits, basic infrastructure and has always faced a constant threat of demolition, as it is unrecognized by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA).
On 3 August 2010, a group of Susiya’s residents, along with Rabbis for Human Rights, petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) against the actions of Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank. They asserted that soldiers and settlers consistently denied access of Susiya’s residents to their land and that soldiers failed to adequately protect Susiya’s residents from settler violence. The said petition, HCJ Case 5825/10, is currently pending before the HCJ.
Recently, a right-wing organization named Regavim, submitted a counter-petition to the HCJ, requesting that all “illegal outposts” in the Palestinian village of Susiya be destroyed by the ICA immediately. This petition, HCJ Case 1556/12, comes on the backdrop of various demolition orders that were unfairly issued against structures in Susiya over the years, but were never executed. Needless to say, this petition denies the many protections afforded to Susiya residents under international law.
As a result of Regavim’s petition, there exists a real and immediate danger that 30 homes and 42 other structures, including Susiya’s school, health center and cultural center will be demolished momentarily. If Regavim’s petition is successful, it would displace all 320 residents of Susiya, 150 of whom are children, and set a precedent for other Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills & Area C, which is 62% of the West Bank.
Attached are photos of structures in Susiya that are under threat of demolition.
Regavim is an Israeli NGO that presents itself as “a social movement that aims to prevent illegal takeover of national lands by certain bodies”. However, its own publicized record reveals that it recognizes the oPt, Golan Heights, and parts of Jordan as part of Israel, and its main objectives are to: 1. Lobby the Government of Israel to destroy Palestinian structures, whether in the West Bank or in Israel; 2. Identify and suggest to the government new opportunities for such demolitions, and 3. Stop demolitions and evictions of unauthorized Israeli-settler structures in the West Bank.
INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW:
Article 23 of The Hague Convention of 1907 clearly states that, “it is especially forbidden (for the occupier) to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.”
Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 states, “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
We encourage you to:
· Forward this email to your networks
· Inform your representative in parliament about what is happening in Susiya
· Contact (Preferably fax) the following officials and call on them to allow Palestinians in Area C to have their right to adequate housing and infrastructure without the threat of demolitions:
o Your Ambassador and/or Consul General in Israel
o The Israeli Ambassador in your country
o Israeli Minister of Defense:
§ Ehud Barak
§ Ministry of Defence
o Israeli Military Judge Advocate General:
§ Major General Avihai Mandelblit
§ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
o Israeli Military Chief of Staff
§ Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz
§ Fax: +972.3.691.6940 / +972.697.6218
You may either use the sample letter below or draft your own:
Dear Ambassador / Consul General / Minister / Judge Advocate General / Lieutenant-General,
I urgently call upon you to rescind all demolition orders that were issued by the Israeli Civil Administration to the village of Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills, which consists of 72 structures in total. For many years, the 320 inhabitants of this village, half of whom are children have faced severe repression by Israeli soldiers and settlers, and repeated destruction of homes and infrastructure.
I call upon you to support the pending petition, HCJ Case 5825/10 submitted by Rabbis for Human Rights on behalf of the people of Sisiya, and to dismiss Regavim’s counter-petition, HCJ Case 1556/12, which calls for the destruction of this village. Regavim’s petition is a violation of Article 23 of The Hague Convention of 1907 and Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and denies the many protections afforded to the people of Susiya under international law.
The residents of Susiya have the right to live peacefully in their homes!