Dear Minister Liberman:
In the South Hebron Hills in the West Bank, on land that once was used to farm and graze, three hundred forty people live in abject poverty and under constant threat of demolition and homelessness.
Minister Liberman, you must not destroy Susya again.
The Palestinians of Susya have been unable to build homes and resume their lives because, since they were first expelled from their homes in the 1980s, the Israeli government has refused to create a master plan for development that would allow them to build permanent homes on their remaining lands. In the meantime, they’ve constructed dwellings of cinderblocks and corrugated tin. They are trying to raise their children there.
What possible good could come from making the residents of Susya homeless once again?
Minister Liberman, you can prevent this from happening. And you must.
The Civil Administration, which falls under your purview as Minister of Defense, can agree to create master plans for Susya and for all Palestinian communities in Israeli-controlled Area C in the West Bank. This would allow Palestinian families to build the homes they need, legally and without the threat of demolition.
The New Israel Fund and our grantees have been working tirelessly to prevent the demolition of Susya and all demolitions in Area C that are the result of the IDF’s policy of refusing to create master plans: B’Tselem, Yesh Din, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Breaking the Silence, Rabbis for Human Rights, Bimkom, and other organizations have challenged the laws and advocated for the rights of Palestinian communities to build homes, in Susya and elsewhere in Area C.
This is a direct threat to prospects for a just, secure, solution to the conflict. It is exceptionally cruel. It is indefensible for those of us promoting Israel abroad. And it is an affront to Israel’s declaration of independence, which envisioned an Israel “based on freedom, justice and peace.”
Minister Liberman, you must remove the threat to the village of Susya and direct the Civil Administration to create masterplans for development for Susya and for all Palestinian communities in Area C.
Executive Director in Israel
CEO, New Israel Fund