A civil administration representative along with Israeli forces took photos and measurements of village structures in Khirbet Susiya earlier this week, residents fearing imminent demolition of their homes, rights organization says.
Based on past experiences, the steps taken by the Civil Administration on Sunday signal future destruction of the measured structures in the village located the South Hebron Hills, Israeli human rights organzation B’Tselem reported.
Khirbet Susiya’s residents have been bracing since the Israeli High Court rejected last week a petition for an interim order that would have frozen the implementation of previous demolition orders issued by the civil administration against homes in the village.
The demolition will leave 250 people homeless when carried out, and is part of ongoing Israeli policies that are displacing Palestinians across the West Bank.
“This harsh, unlawful move is part of Israel’s policy in Area C,” B’Tselem said in a statement following the court rejection.
Such policy is “intended to facilitate the takeover of Palestinian land for settlements, and the expulsion of Palestinian communities from Area C to Areas A and B in preparation for the annexation of lands to Israel,” according to the statement.
All building in Area C, whether by Palestinians or Israeli settlers, comes under the jurisdiction of the Israeli civil administration which has full control over all zoning and planning issues.
In practice, almost all Palestinian applications for a building permit are rejected, with the civil administration granting only a handful of permits.
Unable to get “legal” permission, Palestinians are faced with either leaving or building illegally, risking home demolition. In 2014, Israel carried 493 demolitions, displacing 969 people, UN figures show.
The Khirbet Susiya village has existed in the South Hebron Hills since the 1830’s. Residents hold a long history of repeated relocation and threat of being expelled from their land by the Israeli civil administration ever since the Jewish-only settlement of Susya was established nearby in 1983.
Khirbet Susiya is one of several Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills whose daily lives are affected by around 3,000 Israeli settlers living in illegal settlements in the region, according to the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem.
(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)