Another Palestinian West Bank Village to Be Emptied, Israeli Security Official Says

Sussia in South Hebron Hills now on chopping block, joining Bedouin village Khan al-Amar

Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger
Palestinian girl playing in Sussia, May 25, 2015.
Palestinian girl playing in Sussia, May 25, 2015.
Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

A senior security official has said that residents of the Palestinian village of Sussia in the southern West Bank will be evicted within a few months, like the Bedouin village of Khan al-Amar. The source told Haaretz that the Defense Ministry has explained that “When it comes to Sussia, we’ll do the same thing. We’re no longer willing to postpone – we’ll ask the court for eviction.”

The demolition of Sussia, near the Jewish settlement of Susya in the South Hebron Hills, has been before the High Court of Justice for years. In recent months the state has repeatedly asked for postponement, one reason being the diplomatic sensitivity involved in evicting the residents from the village, which was built without construction permits. Now eviction is expected within two months.

Yesterday the state announced that Khan al-Amar in the Gush Adumim bloc would be evicted by next April. Earlier the State Prosecutor’s Office had requested numerous postponements due to “differences of opinion” between the Defense Ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office and the attorney general’s office. According to the source, “There were serious differences of opinion between the Defense Ministry, the Justice Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office. The attorney general and the PMO wanted to postpone the eviction to August, but the Defense Ministry disagreed.”

Presumably the attempt to postpone the eviction of Khan al-Amar's residents is related to diplomatic pressure. In the past the European Union and the United States under President Barack Obama sharply opposed the eviction of residents of the village – which has become a symbol of Bedouin settlement on the West Bank after the “Tire School” was built there by an Italian NGO. The school is supposed to be rebuilt on an alternative site, to which they refuse to move, claiming that it does not suit their lifestyle.

Next week the Civil Administration’s Planning Committee is expected to approve the construction of about 2,000 residential units for Jews throughout the West Bank, including about 300 units in the settlement of Beit El and alternative housing for evacuees from Migron. Earlier the cabinet ministers were told that the committee session was postponed several times at the request of the White House.

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