On Friday, June 22, 2012, demonstrators protested in the Palestinian village of Susiya in the south Hebron hills, against the demolition orders previously issued by the Israeli Civil Administration.
Demolition orders are nothing new to the village of Susya. The targeting of the area by the Israelis goes back to the 1980s. In 1986, a large part of the village was declared an ‘archeological site,’ which resulted in the expulsion of villagers from their homes by the Israelis. The displaced villagers moved, then, to the outskirts of their land and restarted their lives their.
Since then, land seizures and the subsequent evictions of the people who lived on it, have become more than rare.
The West Bank is divided into three areas, which determine who the primary governing authority is: Area A, Area B, and Area C. Area A is run and governed by the Palestinian Authority while both Israel and the PA govern Area B. However, Susya is located in Area C, which makes up roughly 60% of the West Bank, and is operated solely by the occupying Israeli power.
In Area C especially, Israeli policy has been to confiscate and seize land in order to continue building settlements. Susya has not been immune to such acts.
Constantly, Susya villagers have had their houses demolished, their caves destroyed, and they are not allowed to have running water or electricity.
Also, there have been several cases of violence occurring between the settlers of the surrounding settlements against the Palestinian villagers, as well.
Most recently, though, on Monday, June 11, the Israeli Civil Administration approved and distributed demolition orders for 42 structures in the village itself. These include tents, solar panels, and other edifices necessary for maintaining the livelihood of the villagers there.
On the 22nd of June, before noon, an estimated 200 international demonstrators gathered together in the village to support the locals there. For a time, a few individuals using speakerphones proclaimed about what was happening there while some held up copies of the demolition orders received. Afterwards, the protesters marched towards the adjacent settlement and were met by Israeli forces and police.
A demonstration then took place and the Israeli forces there, for a short time, used stun grenades and tear gas to deter protesters. The protest lasted for a few hours, including a brief break in order for some there to partake in the Friday prayers.
There were no injuries of individuals on either side.
The protest was, itself, a sheer sight to behold. The solidarity between the internationals and the locals there could really be witnessed. It was inspiring to see such a large community coming out to protest against the housing demolitions and show support for the local community who are under distress.