Dozens of people gathered early Wednesday evening outside of the Israel Defense Forces' radio station complex in Jaffa to voice protest its decision to broadcast a program from the West Bank settlement of Susya.
Broadcaster Idan Kavler hosted the program, “Army Radio’s Summer Journey”, which began at 7 P.M. in the south Hebron Hills settlement, and interviewed Tzviki Bar Hai, head of the south Hebron Hills Regional Council.
“At a time when people are sweating in Tel Aviv, our region is great for traveling around,” said Bar Hai, in response to Kavler’s question on local weather.
Kavler himself described Susya as “a rustic village, adding: "that’s what separates it from the big city.”
The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, which organized the protests, condemned the broadcast as a legitimization of occupation.
“The broadcast of an entertaining culture program from within the settlement of Susya, located on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Susya, is an attempt to legitimize the theft of land and occupation of the South Hebron Hills region in general, and Susya in particular, and to support the destruction of homes and expulsion that awaits village residents," the group said in a statement.
This was not the first time Susya has been featured by the station - Army Radio in the past dedicated its "Sixty Seconds" segment to the “Hebron Hills Regional Council area in general and Susya in particular.”
During that segment, an explanation of the settlement’s biblical name was heard from the head of the regional council. A local goat dairy was also mentioned. The broadcast did not, however, point out that Susya is a settlement, because of difficult relations between residents and Palestinians in the area.
Army Radio responded in a statement saying: “In its broadcasts, Army Radio portrays all dimensions of Israeli society, and will continue to broadcast from any location. We have no interest in being dragged into any political arguments, rather only to faithfully carry out our duties for our audience of listeners.”
Roughly two weeks ago, graffiti that read “Death to Arabs,” and “Revenge,” was found sprayed on a water tank in the Eastern part of the Palestinian village of Susya, not far from the Jewish settlement. Similar slogans, that mentioned “price tag,” were sprayed ten days prior on boulders by the side of the road.
A few days earlier, the organization “Ta’ayush” organized a protest against demolition orders handed down by the Civil Administration, calling for the destruction of 52 tents and improvised structures in the village. Activists sprayed slogans that countered the graffiti, including “no to violence,” and “Susya is free.” Others sprayed black paint over the previous graffiti.
A large contingent of police, IDF soldiers, and Border Patrol awaited the activists, and arrested four of them, for over a day. One of the protesters claimed that the arrests took place before the slogan “death to Arabs” could be sprayed over. “Ta’ayush” representatives complained that the police are not advancing their investigation of the original graffiti.
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