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This article is about the archaeological site and Palestinian residential community and land claim. For the Israeli settlement, see Susya, Har Hebron.

سوسية Arabic
סוּסְיָא Hebrew
Susya is located in the West Bank
Location of Susya
Coordinates: 31°23′30.67″N 35°6′44.45″E / 31.3918528°N 35.1123472°E / 31.3918528; 35.1123472
Region West Bank
District Judea and Samaria Area
 • Council Har Hebron
Time zone IST (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) IDT (UTC+3)

Susya (Arabic: سوسية‎, Hebrew: סוּסְיָא) (Susiya, Susia) is an archaeological site in the southern Judaean Mountains of the West Bank that bears the archaeological remains both of a 5th-8th century CE synagogue and of a mosque that replaced it.[1] The same name is applied to two separate communities existing in the present day: on the one hand it refers to Palestinian villagers, recently expelled from there, who are variously reported as living in caves for decades there[2] during grazing time[3] or said to belong to a unique southern Hebron cave-dwelling culture present in the area since the early 19th century,[4] and, on the other, it also denotes a religious Israeli settlement under the jurisdiction of Har Hebron Regional Council established in 1983 about a mile away. In 1986, the site of Palestinian Susya was declared an archeological site by Israeli Defense Ministry's Civil Administration, (a body formally under the Ministry of Defence, but subordinate to the military[5][6][7]) and the IDF expelled the inhabitants, whom the UN says lived in houses at the time.[8] The Palestinians then moved a few hundred meters southeast of the original village.[9][10]

The population of the Palestinian community reportedly numbered 350 in 2012[8] and 250 residents the following year.[11] constituted by 50 nuclear families (2015), up from 25 in 1986[12] and 13 in 2008.[13] The Israeli settlement was established between May and September 1983 on 1,800 dunams of land. It was expanded in late 1999 by installing 10 caravans on 4 dunums of land belonging to the Shreiteh family.[14] It had a population of 737 in 2006.[15][16][17] The Israeli government, which has issued temporary injunctions against High Court decisions to demolish illegal Israeli outposts, made a petition to the High Court to permit the demolition of Palestinian Susya. The state expressed a willingness to allocate what it called Israeli government-owned lands near Yatta for an alternative residence, and to assist rebuilding, considering it ideal for the displaced villagers grazing. The official view of Israel is that no historic Palestinian village ever existed there, just a few families resided seasonally there, and this area was required for archaeological work. Jews however are in illegal structures on the same archaeological site. The attorney for the Palestinians replied that the army was stopping Palestinians building on their own privately owned land, while permitting settlers to seize their agricultural fields.[18]

The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law; the Israeli government disputes this.[19][20]


Susya, whether it refers to the site of the ancient synagogue or the ruins of the contiguous ancient and large settlement of some 80 dunams (80,000 m2),[21] is not mentioned in any ancient text, and Jewish literature did not register an ancient Jewish town on that site.[22] It is thought by some to correspond to the Biblical Carmel (Josh 15.5), a proposal made by Avraham Negev.[23][24] Others argue that, in the wake of the Second Revolt (AD 132-5), when the Romans garrisoned Khirbet el-Karmil, identified as the biblical Carmel, religious Jews uncomfortable with pagan symbols moved 2 km south-west to the present Susya, which they perhaps already farmed, and that, while they still regarded their new community as Carmel, the name was lost when the village's fortunes declined in the early Arab period, perhaps because the new Muslim overlords would not have tolerated its economy, which was based on wine.[25][26]

View of Susya

The site, in Arabic Khirbet Susiya/Susiyeh, "Ruin of the Liquorice Plant" was first described by V. Guérin in 1869, who first recognized its importance.[27][28][29] The spelling Susya represents the Hebrew name, as determined by the Israeli Naming committee.[30] In the Survey of Western Palestine, based on an observation in 1874 on the area of the southeastern slope of a hill west of Susya, H.H. Kitchener and Claude Conder noted that "This ruin has also been at one time a place of importance...". They thought the ruins were that of a Byzantine monastery.[31] German accounts later stated that it was a remnant of an ancient church.[32] In 1937, the building to the north was identified by L. A. Meyer and A. Reifenberg as the site of a synagogue.[29]

Ancient synagogue[edit]

Synagogue mosaic

The religious building is regarded as one of the most enigmatic of Palestinian synagogues.[21]The site was examined by Shemarya Gutman in 1969, who uncovered the narthex of a synagogue during a trial dig. He, together with Ze'ev Yeivin and Ehud Netzer, then conducted the Israeli excavations at Khirbet Suseya, (subsequently named by a Hebrew calque as Horvat Susya) over 1971-1972,[29][33][34] by the Palestinian village of Susiya Al-Qadime.

Roller Stone in the synagogue of Susya
Susya synagogue

No excavations have uncovered undisputed evidence for synagogues before the 2nd century CE in Judea, when Rabbinic Judaism became ascendant due to the destruction of the Second Temple. The excavated synagogue in Susya dates from the 4th to the 7th century CE and was in continuous use until the 9th century CE.[35][36] According to Magness, the synagogue was built in the 4th - 5th centuries and continued in use for "at least" another two centuries.[1] It is one of four of an architecturally unique group in the Southern Judean Hills,[37][38] of the six synagogues identified in Judea as a whole, the lower number probably reflecting a shift in the Jewish population from Judah to Galilee in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The other three of this distinctive group are those of Eshtemoa, Horvat Maon, and 'Anim.[37] Three outstanding characteristics of the Susya-Eshtemoa group, group are their width, entrances at the short eastern wall, and the absence of columns to support the roof[39]

According to David Amit, the architectural design, particularly the eastern entrance and axis of prayer, which differ from the majority of Galilean synagogues, exhibits the ramifications of the earliest halakhic law conserved in southern Judea for generations after the destruction of the Temple. This was forgotten in Galilee, but in Judea there was a closer adherence to older traditions reflecting closer proximity to Jerusalem.[40] The eastern orientation may be also related to the idea of dissuading heretics and Christians in the same area, who bowed to the east, in the belief that the Shekinah lay in that direction.[41]

Interior of the synagogue

The synagogue was built as a broadhouse, rather than along basilica lines,[42][43] measuring 9 by 16 metres (27 by 48 feet)[44] built in well-wrought ashlar construction, with triple doorway façade in an eastward orientation, and the bema and niche at the centre of the northern wall. There was a secondary bema in the eastern section. Unlike other synagogues in Judea this had a gallery, made while reinforcing the western wall. East of the synagogue was an open courtyard surrounded on three sides by a roofed portico. The western side opened to the synagogue’s narthex, and floor of narthex composed of coloured mosaics set in an interlaced pattern. This model was of short duration, yielding in the late Byzantine phase (6th/7th) to the basilica form, already elsewhere dominant in synagogue architecture.[45]

In contrast to most Galilean synagogues with their façade and Torah shrine on the same Jerusalem-oriented wall, the Judean synagogue at Susya, (as well as Esthtemoa and Maon) has the niche on the northern Jerusalem-oriented wall and entrances on the east side wall.[46] The synagogue floor of white tesserae has three mosaic panels, the eastern one a Torah Shrine, two menorahs, one on a screen relief showing two lamps[47] suspended from a bar between the menorah’s upper branches,[48] perhaps, since the Torah shrine flanked by lampstands, symbolizing both a connection between the synagogue and the Temple[49] for spotlighting the bema and giving light for scriptural readings, were by the reverse mirroring of the menorah pattern in the mosaics, heightened the central significance of the Torah shrine in the hall[50] a lulav, and an etrog with columns on each side. Next to the columns is a landscape with deers ands rams. The central panel composed of geometric and floral patterns. A spoke-wheel design before the central bema, has led Gutman to believed it is the remnant of a zodiac wheel. Zodiac mosaics are important witness to the time, since they were systematically suppressed by the Church, and, their frequent construction in Palestinian synagogue floors may be an index of 'the "inculturation" of non-Jewish imagery and its resulting Judaization'.[51] The fragmentary state of the wheel mosaic is due to its replacement by a much cruder geometric pavement pattern, indicative of a desire to erase what later came to be thought of as objectionable imagery.[52][53] The defacing of images may indicate changing Jewish attitudes to visual representations and graven images, perhaps influence by both Christian iconoclasm and Muslim aniconism.[54]

A motif that probably represented Daniel in the lion's den, as in the mosaics discovered at Naaran near Jericho and Ein Samsam in the Golan[55][56] was also tesselated, surviving only most fragmentarily. The figure, in an orans stance, flanked by lions, was scrubbed from the mosaics in line with later trends, in what Fine calls a ‘new aesthetic’ at Khirbet Susiya, one that refurbished the designs to suppress iconographic forms thought by later generations to be objectionable. We can only reconstruct the allusion to Daniel from the remaining final Hebrew letters remaining, namely -el, אל‎.[57]

Another unique feature is number of inscriptions. Four were laid in mosaics: two in Hebrew, attesting perhaps to its conservation as a spoken language in this region[58] and two in Aramaic. Nineteen fragmentary inscriptions, some of which were in Greek,[59] were etched into the marble of the building. From these dedicatory inscriptions the impression is given that the synagogue was run by donors[60] rather than by priests (kōhen).[61]

Early Islamic and Crusader era[edit]

According to Israel archaeologist Yonathan Mizrachi, the Jewish population is attested from the 4th to 6th century, after which a population change took place. Arabic inscriptions have been discovered belonging to the mosque, he adds, but have never been published, and the village thrived until the 12 century.[62]

The abandoned synagogue, or its atrium or courtyard, was converted into a mosque around the 10th century.[29] A niche on the northern wall used as a mihrab/mahrab dates to Saladin's time,[63] according to local tradition.[64] In the 12th–13th centuries Crusaders garrisoned at nearby Chermala and Eshtemoa, and, in their wake, a few families, moved into the ruins to exploit the rich agricultural land.[28]

The settlement on the hill contiguous to the synagogue seems to have once had a thriving economy. A fine store has been excavated from its ruins.[65] It may have undergone a decline in the second half of the 4th century, and again in the 6th century. Some speak of abandonment though the evidence from the synagogue suggests continuity into the medieval period.[1][66] After the Islamic conquest, the archaeological evidence appears to suggest that a new Muslim population immigrated to the South Hebron hills and settled next to the Jewish population.[67] A mosque was built atop the courtyard of the former synagogue. It featured a mihrab in the southern wall, a second mihrab between two columns in the southern portico, and "crude" stone benches along the walls.[1] Magness, assessing the evidence uncovered by the several archaeologists who dug at the site which includes an inscription, dates the mosque to the reign of Caliph Al-Walid I, in the early eighth century.[1]

By 1107, a Crusader named Gauterius Baffumeth was Lord of Hebron, and he donated the land of Sussia to the Hospitalers. In a document dated September 28, 1110, Baldwin I approved and confirmed this donation.[68][69] As Baffumeth was Lord of nearby Hebron, Sussia is identified with Khirbet Susya. The dates suggest that the village was inhabited since the Arab period and has carried its name since then. The document calls Susya casale (village), a testimony to its agriculture nature.[70][71] By 1154, Susya was presumably still in the hands of the Hospitalers, as that year Baldwin III, with the consent of his mother, Melisende, confirmed the gift from Baffumeth.[72] Some researchers believe continuity of inhabitation lasted until the 13th century while others date it to the 15th century.[70]

Ottoman era[edit]

In his book The Land of Israel: A Journal of travel in Palestine, Henry Baker Tristram wrote "We rode rapidly on through Susieh, a town of ruins, on a grassy slope, quite as large as the others, and with an old basilica, but less troglodyte then Attir. Many fragments of columns strewed the ground, and in most respects it was a repetition of Rafat."[73]

Victor Guérin noted in 1863: "I see before me extend considerable ruins called Khirbet Sousieh. They are those of a city important bearing whose homes were generally well built, like attested by the vestiges that still remain, and possessed several buildings built in stone."[27]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine says "This ruin has also been at one time a place of importance...".[31]

Maps of the 19th century which made the distinction sometimes depicted Susieh as a ruin and sometimes as a village.[74] For example, the Palestine Exploration Fund map of 1878 and the Guérin map of 1881 showed it as a ruin, while the earlier Zimmermann map of 1850, the van de Velde[75] maps of 1858 and 1865, and the Osborn map of 1859 showed it as a village.[74]

British Mandate[edit]

The Bartholomew's quarter-inch map of Palestine by The Edinburgh Geographical Institute[76] and the F.J. Salmon map of 1936[77] show Susya as ruins.

Modern era[edit]

Khirbet Susya[edit]

Origins and background[edit]

Khirbet Susya, called Susya al-Qadima ('Old Susya')[78] was a village attached to the archaeological site at Khirbet Susiya.[79][80]

In early 19th century, many residents of the two big villages in the area of South Mount Hebron, Yatta and Dura, started to immigrate to ruins and caves in the area and became 'satellite villages' (daughters) to the mother town. Reasons for the expansion were lack of land for agriculture and construction in the mother towns which resulted in high prices of land, rivalry between the mother-towns chamulas wishing to control more land and resources and being a security buffer which made it more difficult for gangs of robber to raid the mother villages. Caves are used by local as residences, storage space and sheepfold.[81] The affiliation between the satellite villages and mother town remained. While some of the satellites became permanent villages with communities of 100s, others remained temporary settlements which served the shepherds and fallāḥīn.for several months every year.[12][81] In 1981-2 it was estimated 100-120 families dwelt in caves permanently in the South Mount Hebron region while 750-850 families lived there temporarily.[82]

Yaakov Havakook, who lived with the locals in the region for several years, writes that the community at Khirbet Susya was seasonal and didn't live in there year-round. Families of shepherds arrived after the first rain (October–November), stayed during the grazing season and left in April end or beginning of May.[3] They were known for a special kind of cheese produced in their caves,[83]

According to Rabbi for Human Rights, in 1948, the preexisting population was augmented by an influx of Palestinian refugees expelled during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War from the area of Ramat Arad, who purchased land in the area.[84] In 1982 an Israel settlement planner, Plia Albeck, examined the area of Susiya, the synagogue and the Palestinian village built on and around it, and finding it legally difficult to advance Jewish settlement, wrote:

“The [ancient] synagogue is located in an area that is known as the lands of Khirbet Susya, and around an Arab village between the ancient ruins. There is a formal registration on the land of Khirbet Susya with the Land Registry, according to which this land, amounting to approximately 3000 dunam [approximately 741 acres], is privately held by many Arab owners. Therefore the area proximal to the [ancient] synagogue is in all regards privately owned.”[85]

Map of Kh. Susya and Rujum al-Hamri from 1936

In June 1986, Israel expropriated the Palestinian village's residential ground for an archeological site, evicting about 25 families.[12] The expelled Palestinians settled in caves and tin shacks nearby, on their agricultural lands[8] at a site now called Rujum al-Hamri,[86] to restart their lives.[78][79][87]

The Israeli government official stance on the matter says "“There was no historic Palestinian village at the archaeological site there; that the village consists of only a few seasonal residences for a few families; and the land is necessary for the continuation of archaeological work.”[18][88] According to Regavim, an NGO which petitioned the Supreme Court to execute the demolition orders at Khirbet susya,[89] the place was used as grazing area and olive agricalture seasonally before 1986. In a report, Regavim writes that travelers from the late 19th century[73] report finding ruins (while nearby Semua was reported as inhabited),[90] the British census from 1945[91][92] does not mention Susya[90] and a survey from 1967, done after Six-Day War, refers to Khirbat Susya as ruins in contrast to nearby villages such as At-Tuwani, Yatta and more.[90]

These days lived by harvesting olives, herding sheep, growing crops, and beekeeping.[62]

Land ownership and master plan[edit]

A master plan was not approved and building permit were not given to Khirbet Susya because there was no sufficient proof of ownership as the documents lack geographic information and based on them, it was "not possible to make unambiguous claims of ownership over the land in question". The Jabor family supports a claim to land near Susya with Ottoman documents dated back to 1881 and the Nawaja family, who is originally from the Tel Arad area and moved to Susya in 1952,[93] has documents as well. Their documents are problematic since the boundaries mentioned were described in terms of geography features which are hard to identify in the field.[94]

In July 2015 it was publish that according to an internal document of findings by the Israeli Civil Administration officer Moshe Meiri, the claim to ownership of the land appears to be grounded on a valid Ottoman period title, dating back to 1881, in the possession of the Jabor family, This document has been known to Israeli officials since 1982, Though the precise extent of their land was not specified in the document, in an internal review of the case in 2015 Meiri established from the geographical features mentioned that the land covered territory now belonging to the Jabor and Nawaja families, and the villages on the basis of their Ottoman period documents claim an area that covers some 3,000 dunams (741 acres).[94][95] In early 1986, Before the first Israeli expulsion, the village was visited U.S. consular officials, who recorded the occasion in photographs.[96]

Additional expulsions[edit]

According to David Shulman, the second expulsion took place in 1990, when Rujum al-Hamri's inhabitants were loaded onto trucks by the IDF and dumped at the Zif Junction, 15 kilometers northwards[79] a roadside at the edge of a desert. Most returned and rebuilt on a rocky escarpment within their traditional agricultural and grazing territory. Their wells taken, they were forced to buy water from nearby Yatta.[78] Palestinian residents (2012) pay 25 NIS per cubic meter water brought in by tanks, which is 5 times the cost to the nearby Israeli settlement. Net consumption, at 28 litres per diem, is less than half what Palestinians consume (70 lpd) and less than the recommended WHO level.[8] Israel sheep-herding settlers expanded their unfenced land use at Mitzpe Yair, the "Dahlia Farm"[79] a term used by Susiya Palestinians to refer to the farm run by the widow of Yair Har-Sinai.[97] According to B'tselem, by 2010 settlers were cultivating roughly 40 hectares, about 15% of the land area to which they deny access to the traditional Palestinian users of that area.[11] Since 2000 Jewish settlers in Susya have denied Palestinians access to 10 cisterns in the area, or according to more recent accounts, 23,[11] and try to block their access to others.[98] Soil at Susya, with a market value of NIS 2,000 per truckload, is also taken from lands belonging to the village of Yatta.[99]

The third expulsion occurred in June 2001, when settler civilians and soldiers drove the Palestinians of Susya out, without warning, with, reportedly violent arrests and beatings.[8][79] On 3 July 2001, the Israeli army demolished dozens of homes in Susya and contiguous Palestinian villages, and bulldozed their cisterns, many ancient, built for gathering rainwater, and then filling them with gravel and cement to hinder their reuse.[100] Donated solar panels were also destroyed, livestock killed, and agricultural land razed.[citation needed]. On Sept 26 of the same year, by an order of the Israeli Supreme Court, these structures were ordered to be destroyed and the land returned to the Palestinians. Settlers and the IDF prevented the villagers from reclaiming their land, some 750 acres. The villagers made an appeal to the same court to be allowed to reclaim their lands and live without harassment. Some 93 events of settler violence were listed. The settlers made a counter-appeal, and one family that had managed to return to its land suffered a third eviction.[87]

In 2002 an Israeli outpost was established without the necessary building permit. OCHA reports that as of 2012 the Israeli Civil Administration has imposed no demolitions on this outpost, which is connected to Israel's water and electricity networks, and cites the example as putative evidence that Israeli policy is discriminating between the two communities.[8]

In 2006, structures without a permit were demolished illegally on the orders of a low-ranking officer, and the demolition was strongly criticized 3 years later by the High Court of Israel.[citation needed] In September 2008 the Israeli army informed the Palestinians at Susya that a further 150 dunums (15 hectares), where 13 remaining rainwater cisterns are located, would be a "closed military area" to which they were denied access. Amnesty International described the resultant contrast between the Palestinian and Jewish Susyas as follows:

"in the nearby Israeli settlement of Sussia, whose very existence is unlawful under international law, the Israeli settlers have ample water supplies. They have a swimming pool and their lush irrigated vineyards, herb farms and lawns – verdant even at the height of the dry season – stand in stark contrast to the parched and arid Palestinian villages on their doorstep."[100]

According to Shulman, for some decades they were subject, to many violent attacks, and settler recourse to both civil and military courts, to drive them out.[78] The BBC broadcast film of settler youths beating an old woman and her family with cudgels to drive them away from their land, in 2008.[101] Local villages, like Palestinian Susya, have been losing land, and being cut off from each other, as the nearby settlements of Carmel, Maon, Susya and Beit Yatir began to be built and developed, and illegal outposts established.[102] Shulman described the reality he observed in 2008:

Susya: where thirteen impoverished families are clinging tenaciously,but probably hopelessly, to the dry hilltop and the few fields that are all that remain of their vast ancestral lands.[13]

According to B'tselem, the Palestinians that remain in the area live in tents[103] on a small rocky hill between the settlement and the archeological park which is located within walking distance.[104][105] According to Amnesty International, ten caves inhabited by Susya Palestinian families were blown up by the IDF in 1996, and some 113 tents were destroyed in 1998. Amnesty International also reports that official documents asking them to leave the area address them generically as 'intruders' (polesh/intruder).[106][dead link] Most of the rain-catching water cisterns used by the local Palestinian farmers of Susya were demolished by the Israeli army in 1999 and 2001. A local Susya resident told Amnesty International,

'Water is life ; without water we can’t live; not us, not the animals, or the plants. Before we had some water, but after the army destroyed everything we have to bring water from far away ; it’s very difficult and expensive. They make our life very difficult, to make us leave.'[100]

While the Israeli settlement has mains power and piped water from Israel, the Palestinians depend on solar panels and wind turbine energy made possible by a Palestinian/Israeli NGO – Comet - and on wells.[107] This project has been shortlisted for the BBC World Challenge which highlighted the involvement of two Israeli physicists, Elad Orian and Noam Dotan.[108] According to David Hirst, the inhabitants Susya, are faced with a catch-22. If they comply with the law they cannot build cisterns and collect even the rainwater. But if they fail to work their lands, they lose it anyway.[109] One small enclave that remains for a Bedouin pastoralist's family suffers from further encroachment, with one settler, according to Shulman, managing to wrest 95% of the family's land, and still intent on entering the remainder.[110]

In a ruling delivered in December 2013, the Israel High Court of Justice accepted that Yatta Palestinians had shown their legal attachment to a stretch of land between Susya and the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Yair, but requested them to withdraw their petition against the settlers who are alleged to have illegally seized these lands. The subject of a petition concerns 300 dunams of agricultural land, and a further 900 dunams of pasture of which, the Palestinians argue, they were forced by violent attacks from using for agriculture and herding. The court held that the proper option open to the Palestinians was recourse to a civil legal action.[111] Of the 120 complaints registered with Israeli police in Hebron by Palestinians of Susya, regarding alleged attacks, threats, incursions, and property damage wrought by settlers down to 2013, upwards of 95% have been dismissed, without charges being laid.[11]

Legal fight & demolition orders[edit]

A Palestinian demonstration against the demolition of the village of Susya

After 1985,when the population was expelled, attempts by the Palestinian of Susya to rebuild their village have been been razed by Israel four times, in 1991, 1997 and twice in 2001.[112] Since it is classified within Area C of the West Bank, it lies under Israeli military occupation and control. Though they own much of the land, Israel denies building permits to Susya's residents and therefore they build without permission from Israeli authorities.[113] The master plan for Susya was denied by the Israeli Civil Administration as opposed to the Israeli settlement of Susya, and Palestinians are required to obtain permits from the Israeli Civil Administration.[114][115][116]

In 2008 the Supreme Court turned down the villagers' request for a staying order on planned demolition. According to Shulman, the State attorney claimed that the Palestinians of Susya were a security threat to the settlers, and had to be moved. When asked by the judges where they would move to, the State replied:'We don’t know. They are unfortunates, miskenim.'.[13]

In 2011, Israel executed 4 waves of demolition, affecting 41 structures, including 31 residential tents or shacks and two water cisterns. As a result, 37 people, including 20 children, were displaced and a further 70 affected.[8] On November 24, 2011 bulldozers razed two tents where the Mughnem family dwells on their own land in Susya.[117]

The Jewish settlers of Susya and the Israeli pro-settler association NGO Regavim petitioned the High Court to demolish Palestinian Susya, defining the villagers as 'trespassers' living in 'illegal outposts', terms usually applied to illegal Jewish outposts on the West Bank.[118]

On June 14 an Israeli court issued 6 demolition orders covering 50 buildings including tent dwellings, ramshackle huts, sheep pens, latrines, water cisterns, a wind-and-sun powered turbine, and the German-funded solar panels in most of the Palestinian village of Susya.[118] Over 500 people from Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva, and Jerusalem came to mount a peaceful protest on June 22.[78]

On the 26th of June, 2013, the Israeli Civil Administration, raided Palestinian Susya and handed out 40 demolition orders for many structures, tents, hothouses, a water well and a solar panel, established on humanitarian grounds by the European Union. Nearby Israeli settlers built two additional and unauthorized houses in the Mitzpeh Avigayil outpost, without interference.[119]

A local Palestinian declared to the Hebrew press:

They’re calling our village an illegal outpost. These lands are ours from before there was a State of Israel. My father is older than your state—and I am an illegal alien on my own land. I ask where is justice? Your courts distinguish between the settler and the Palestinian…We’re surrounded by illegal outposts [built by settlers] that have everything—infrastructures of water and electricity— despite the fact that these settlements are illegal even under Israeli law. And now you want to expel this old man from his home once again? To expel all of us who own these lands, who have lived on them for generations in this space that is ours, which is all we know?[78]

In an exchange in the Knesset with Joint List Member Dov Khenin, who noted that Plia Albeck, a pro-settler former government official had admitted that in 1982 that Susya was surrounded by an Arab village, and that the land is registered at the Israeli Lands Authority as under private Arab title, a Rabbi from the Jewish Home Party, Deputy Defense Minister and new head of Israel’s Civil Administration, Eli Ben Dahan, publicly denied that Susya exists, asserting that attempts to protect the village were a ploy by leftists to take over Area C.[citation needed]

“There has never been an Arab village called Susya,” Ben Dahan said, calling the village “a ploy by leftist organizations to take over Area C [of the West Bank].”

On 24 August, a further demolition took place. On 29 August 2012 the IDF destroyed a sheepfold and two tents, one a dwelling and the other for storage, donated to the villagers of Palestinian Susya by the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.[120]

In May 2015, the Israel High Court approved the demolition of Palestinian Susya. The implementation of the plan was expected to leave 450 villagers homeless.[121] A delegation of diplomats from 28 European countries visited Susya in June and urged Israel not to evict its 300 Palestinian residents, a move that would endanger in their view the two-state solution.

International involvement[edit]

Israeli plans to demolish the Palestinian village have become an international cause celebre.[122] According to Amira Hass, before fifteen senior EU diplomats visiting the area on 8 August 2012, Susya villager Nasser Nawaja'a complained that "(t)here are in this village octogenarians who are older than the State of Israel . . . How can they be told that their residence here is illegal?" The EU declared at the time it does not expect that the demolition order will be executed.[123] An Israeli officer objected to this narrative, saying, "It would be absolutely false to present these people [the villagers] as having lived there since the time of Noah's Ark and suddenly the big bad Israelis come and destroy the place. We are a bit sad that some of the Europeans and the Americans are falling into that trap."[124]

In July the US State Department urged Israel to refrain from any demolitions and asked it to seek a peaceful resolution with villagers,[125] and the European Union issued a strongly worded admonition urging Israel to abandon plans for the "forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure" in Khirbet Susiya.

The EU funded the construction of buildings in Area C which is under interim Israeli jurisdiction, built without permits and which cost tens of millions of Euros. EU documents show the intention is to "pave the way for development and more authority of the PA over Area C". A spokesman said it was justified on humanitarian grounds while Ari Briggs, International Director of Regavim, said the project is a 'Trojan horse' with political aims. Susya was reported to be the 4th largest of such 17 'EU Settlements'[126]

Israeli settlement[edit]

In 1982 the Israeli government together with the World Zionist Organization furnished a plan to establish a settlement on the site, part of 8 new settlements envisioned for the area, with funding of 20 million shekels providing for between 50 and 60 Jewish families.[127]

Susya main synagogue

Work on the Israeli settlement began from May through to September in the following year.[15] on 1,800 dunams of land.[15][16] A major expansion began on 18 September 1999, when its boundaries expanded northwards and eastwards, with the Palestinian Shreiteh family allegedly losing roughly 150 more dunams.[16][non-primary source needed]

In 2008, the largest and most advanced goat pen and dairy was inaugurated at Susya with an investment of 3.5 million ILS. It can contain 1500 goats and milk 48 of them at a time.[128] By Regavim's own calculations, by 2015, 23 Jewish/Israeli homes have been built on private Palestinian property in Susya.[129]


On 7 June 1991, Palestinians and an Israeli settler Baruch Yellin had a dispute over grazing rights. A Gush Emunim spokesman said Yellin shot one Palestinian dead after he had been attacked with sticks by a Palestinian. According to the Palestinian eyewitnesses, Jabar Hawad al-Nawajah was told not to graze near the settlement, and then Yellin rode off, returned with a M-16 rifle and shot a dozen of his sheep. A relative of the shepherd, Mahmoud al-Nawajah, came over to the scene and was then shot in the stomach and died.[130] The full circumstances were never clarified.[131]

On 23 March 1993, Musa Suliman Abu Sabha[132] a Palestinian was arrested outside Susya by two guards, Moshe Deutsch and Yair Har-Sinai, on suspicion that he was planning an attack on Jews.[132] Taken for questioning, he stabbed in the shoulder or back one of the guards, Moshe Deutsch, while the two were in a car, and, wrestled to the ground, was bound hand and foot. Another settler from nearby Susya, Yoram Shkolnik[133] shot him eight times, killing him.[132] According to the IDF a grenade was found on the body while other reports claimed the grenade was removed from him prior to the shooting.[134] In 2001, Yair Har-Sinai was killed in a brawl[135] with local Palestinians. A Palestinian, Jihad Najar, was convicted of murder and received a sentence of life imprisonment.[136] The IDF then evicted the 300 Palestinians in the area, demolishing some of their makeshift homes. They have sought redress in an Israeli court, which ruled that illegal demolitions had taken place, the state had failed to provide procedures to enable the plaintiffs to obtain building permits, and was creating a situation in which elementary human rights to life were being denied.[137]

Jewish residents of Susya have harassed local Palestinians, destroyed their property,[138] and hindered them from gathering their crops from olive groves.[139] In 2009 Yaakov Teitel, was indicted for the 2007 murder of a Palestinian shepherd from Susya.[140][141]

Archaeological park[edit]

In 1986, the locals were evicted from their homes which became an archaeological park.[8]

An illegal settler outpost with 3 wooden huts by 2011 was set up on the archaeological site.[79][87][142]

In 2012, the park was declared national heritage site.[90] Palestinians from Susiya have tried to purchase an admission ticket to now archeological Susya a handful of times. They say they have been denied entry each time.[143][144]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Jodi Magness, The Archaeology of the Early Islamic Settlement in Palestine, Eisenbrauns 2003 Vol.1 pp.99-104.
  2. ^ Nir Hasson,'Should 250 Cave Dwellers Interfere With the Fence? ,' Haaretz 13 September 2004.
  3. ^ a b Havakook, Yaakov (1985). Live in the caves of Mount Hebron. p. 56. The fate and rule (לחם חוקם) for shepherds' they have to migrate with their herds following the grass and water... The large amount of natural caves met the requirements of the shepherds: they provided protection from the cold, rain, wind and other natural elements... Whoever travel in South Mount Hebron even today, when this book is written, in early 1984, in Khirbats like... Khirbet Susya (landmark 159090)  and the alike will discover, that every year, during grazing time, families of shepherds visit the caves in these ruins, with every shepherd family returning to and living in the same cave in which that family lived in the prior season. At the end of the rainy season, the shepherds abandon the caves which they used during the grazing months, and return to their village, or may visit other grazing areas.
  4. ^ Oren Yiftachel, Neve Gordon, 'The Lurking Shadow of Expulsion,' 15 May 2002.
  5. ^ Ahron Bregman (5 June 2014). Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 133–. ISBN 978-1-84614-735-7. 
  6. ^ Thomas L. Friedman (1 April 2010). From Beirut to Jerusalem. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 238–. ISBN 978-0-374-70699-9. 
  7. ^ Neve Gordon (2 October 2008). Israel's Occupation. University of California Press. pp. 107–. ISBN 978-0-520-94236-3. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "SUSIYA: A COMMMUNITY AT IMMINENT RISK OF FORCED DISPLACEMENT" (PDF). United Nations. June 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  9. ^ "Civil Administration threatens to demolish most of Susiya village". B'tselem. Susiya residents have lived in this region on a seasonal basis since at least the 19th century 
  10. ^ Stefano Pasta, 'Cisgiordania, Susiya: i pastori palestinesi che tutte le mattine temono l'arrivo dei bulldozer,' La Repubblica 10 June 2015.:'Espropriati nel 1986, sotto sgombero dal 5 maggio. Fino a quell'anno i palestinesi abitavano nelle grotte a mezzo chilometro di distanza. Ne furono espropriati quando l'area fu riconosciuta sito archeologico. Andarono quindi a vivere nei terreni agricoli limitrofi di Susiya, di loro proprietà ma senza il permesso per costruire.'
  11. ^ a b c d 'Khirbet Susiya,' B'tselem 1 Jan 2013.
  12. ^ a b c Grossman, David (1994). Expansion and Desertion: The Arab Village and Its Offshoots in Ottoman Palestine. Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi. p. 226. In 1986 one could still find about 25 families who lived in the caves of Khirbet Susya, but they were evicted when a tourism site was develop in that place. At the time of Susya eviction, many inhabited caves were in nearby territories. About 16 families lived in caves at Khirbet al-Fauqa (ע'וינה פוקא), and a smaller number in other khirbahs, such as Shuyukha and Khirbet Zanuta, which was a large cave settlement in the early 19th century. 
  13. ^ a b c David Dean Shulman, 'On Being Unfree:Fences, Roadblocks and the Iron Cage of Palestine,' Manoa (journal) Vol,20, No. 2, 2008, pp. 13-32
  14. ^ 'Expanding the settlement of Susiya,' Applied Research Institute–Jerusalem, (ARIJ) 18 September 1999
  15. ^ a b c Unispal, 'Israeli Settlements in Gaza and the West Bank (Including Jerusalem) Their Nature and Purpose, Part II, United Nations, New York 1984.
  16. ^ a b c Applied Research Institute Jerusalem, (ARIJ), 18 September, 1999 Archived April 6, 2012 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
  17. ^ אודות סוסיא
  18. ^ a b Chaim Levinson,'Israel seeks to demolish Palestinian village on ‘archaeological’ grounds ,' Haaretz 28 March 2015.
  19. ^ "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  20. ^ "Disputed territories - Forgotten facts about the West Bank and Gaza strip". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2003-02-01. Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Steven H. Werlin, Ancient Synagogues of Southern Palestine, 300-800 C.E.: Living on the Edge, BRILL,2015 p.136.
  22. ^ Zeev Safrai, The Missing Century: Palestine in the fifth century:growth and decline, Peeters Publishers 1998 p. 101
  23. ^ Günter Stemberger, Jews and Christians in the Holy Land: Palestine in the fourth century, tr. Ruth Tuschling, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000 p. 151
  24. ^ Avraham Negev, Shimon Gibson, Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, rev. ed. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005 p.484
  25. ^ 1 Samuel:25
  26. ^ Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, The Holy Land: an Oxford archaeological guide from earliest times to 1700,5th ed. Oxford University Press US, 2008 pp.351-354, p.351
  27. ^ a b Guérin, 1869, pp. 172-173
  28. ^ a b Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, The Holy Land: an Oxford archaeological guide from earliest times to 1700, 5th ed. Oxford University Press US, 2008 p. 351
  29. ^ a b c d Avraham Negev, Shimon Gibson Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, ibid. p. 482
  30. ^ 'A unique case is Susya. The existence of the ancient Jewish town was unknown in Jewish sources, but was discovered in archaeological excavations . . . the settlers are not free to decide on the names chosen: the National Naming Committee at the Prime Minister's Office has that responsibility and considers various factors. The settlers, however, being well acquainted with the territory and its history, play a significant role in the decision.' Michael Feige, Settling in the Hearts: Fundamentalism, Time, and Space in Judea and Samaria, Wayne State University Press, 2009, pp. 75–76
  31. ^ a b Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, pp. 414-415
  32. ^ Vilnai, Ze'ev (1978). "Susiya—Judea". Ariel Encyclopedia (in Hebrew). Volume 6. Tel Aviv, Israel: Am Oved. pp. 5352–5353. 
  33. ^ David Amit, 'Architectural plans of Synagogues in the Southern Judean Hills and the 'Halakah'.' In Dan Urman, Paul Virgil McCracken Flesher, Ancient Synagogues: historical analysis and archaeological discovery, Brill, 1998 pp. 129–156 p.132.
  34. ^ David Milson, Art and architecture of the synagogue in late antique Palestine: in the shadow of the church,Brill, 2007 p.56
  35. ^ Post-Byzantine according to the language of an inscription. See Zeev Safrai, The Missing Century: Palestine in the fifth century : growth and decline, Peeters Publishers 1998 p.149
  36. ^ ‘The synagogue is tentatively dated to the end of the 4th-beginning of the 7th.century AD, and was used as a Jewish prayer house until the 9th century.’ Avraham Negev, Shimon Gibson Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, ibid. p.482
  37. ^ a b David Amit, 'Architectural plans of Synagogues in the Southern Judean Hills and the 'Halakah'.' ibid p. 129.
  38. ^ Lee I.Levine, 'Jewish Archaeology in Late Antiquity: art, architecture, and inscriptions,' in Steven T. Katz (ed.),The Cambridge History of Judaism: Vol. 4, The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, Cambridge University Press, 1984 pp.519-554 p.540.
  39. ^ David Amit, 'Architectural plans of Synagogues in the Southern Judean Hills and the 'Halakah'.' Ibid. p. 138
  40. ^ David Amit, ibid pp. 148–155, pp. 148, 152
  41. ^ p. 146
  42. ^ ‘Uniquely Jewish adaptations of Christian architecture did occur. The synagogues at Khirbet Shema, in the Upper Galilee, Horvat Rimmon 1 in the southern Shephelah, at Eshtemoa, and Khirbet Susiya were built as broadhouses and not as longhouse basilicas. In these buildings, the basilica form is turned on its side, and the focal point of the synagogue is the wide wall of the hall. Benches were built round the interior walls of these synagogues, focusing attention on the centre of the room. This architecture is a continuation of the house-synagogues that literary sources suggests existed from the second and third centuries.’ Steven Fine, Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman world: toward a new Jewish archaeology, Cambridge University Press, 2005 p.88
  43. ^ Eric M. Meyers, Galilee through the centuries: cultures in conflict, Eisenbrauns 1999 p. 233
  44. ^ Avraham Negev, Shimon Gibson,Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, ibid.p.482
  45. ^ David Amit, ‘Architectural plans of Synagogues in the Southern Judean Hills and the ‘Halakah’.’ p.156
  46. ^ Rachel Hachlili, ‘Jewish Art and Iconography in the Land of Israel,’ in Suzanne Richard (ed.), Near Eastern Archeology: A Reader, Eisenbrauns, 2003 pp.445-454 p.449
  47. ^ or incense censers. See Steven Fine, ibid. p.195
  48. ^ Rachel Hachlili, The menorah, the ancient seven-armed candelabrum: origin, form, and significance, Brill 2001, pp.67,228. For its reconstruction see p.53.
  49. ^ Steven Fine, p.195
  50. ^ Eric M. Meyers Galilee through the centuries: confluence of cultures, Eisenbrauns, 1999 p. 231
  51. ^ Steven Fine, Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman world, pp.196-7
  52. ^ Steven Fine, ibid.p.95
  53. ^ John Brian Harley, David Woodward, The History of Cartography: Cartography in prehistoric, ancient, and medieval Europe and the Mediterranean, Humana Press, 1987 p.266. ‘since mosaics were disapproved of by the Jews as graven images, they were both removed. In other mosaics of the Byzantine period from the Holy Land, the zodiac is represented only by the names of its signs rather than by their graphic representations’.
  54. ^ Steven Fine, 'Synagogues in the Land of Israel,' in Suzanne Richard (ed.) Near Eastern Archaeology: A Reader, Eisenbrauns, 2003 pp.455-463, p.459.
  55. ^ Steven Fine, ‘Archeology and the Interpretation of Rabbinic Literature: Some Thoughts’ in Matthew Kraus (ed.) How should rabbinic literature be read in the modern world? , Gorgias Press LLC, 2006 pp.199-217 p.214
  56. ^ Eric Meyers, Galilee through the centuries, ibid. p. 232
  57. ^ Steven Fine, ibid.p.96. Fine speculates whether reluctance to erase these letters reflects a religious reluctance among iconoclasts to delete letters that spell out the Divine name El, for, again highlighting the distinctiveness of the synagogue, 'in no instance does an explicit Divine name appear in any Jewish synagogue inscription.'
  58. ^ David Amit, ibid.pp.152-3
  59. ^ The Israel yearbook, Zionist Organization of America, Jewish Agency for Israel. Economic Dept. Israel Yearbook Publications, 1981 p.120
  60. ^ in Aramaicbenei qartah, in Hebrew benei ha’ir (sons of the town), especially of residents of a small agrarian village. See Stuart S. Miller, 'Sages and commoners in late antique ʼEreẓ Israel: a philological inquiry into local traditions' in Peter Schäfer, Catherine Hezser (eds.), The Talmud Yerushalmi and Graeco-Roman culture, Mohr Siebeck, 1998 p.65
  61. ^ Meyers, Galilee throughout the centuries, ibid.p. 265 The ‘rabbi’ in these epigraphs appears to be an honorific for ‘master’, and the role of such rabbis in the synagogue seems to have been that of being donors. For an early dating based on the rare ‘qedushat’ (to his holiness’) address used in amora’im correspondence (qedushat mari rabbi Issi ha-cohen ha-mehubad berabi) see Aharon Oppenheimer, ‘The Attempt of Hananiah, Son of Rabbi Joshua’s Brother, to Intercalate the Year in Babylonia’ in Peter Schäfer, Catherine Hezser (eds.), The Talmud Yerushalmi and Graeco-Roman culture, ibid. pp.255-264 p.260; A'haron Oppenheimer, Nili Oppenheimer, Between Rome and Babylon: studies in Jewish leadership and society, Mohr Siebeck, 2005 p.389, sets it in the amoraic period.
  62. ^ a b Ylenia Gostoli, 'Archaeology of a dispossession,' 27 April 2015.
  63. ^ Daniel Jacobs, Shirley Eber, Francesca Silvani, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. 2nd ed. Rough Guides, 1998 p. 414
  64. ^ David Amit, 'Architectural plans of Synagogues in the Southern Judean Hills and the 'Halakah'.' p. 132
  65. ^ See the drawing of the reconstruction and groundplan in Zeev Safrai, The economy of Roman Palestine, Routledge, 1994 p.127
  66. ^ Zeev Safrai, The Missing Century,ibid. p.149
  67. ^ Gideon Avni (2014) The Byzantine-Islamic Transition in Palestine: An Archaeological Approach, OUP, p225
  68. ^ J. Delaville Le Roulx, Cartulaire général de l'orde de St-Jean de Jérusalem, 1, Paris 1896, no. 20, pp. 21-22, "...Preterea laudo et confirmo supradicto Hospitali quoddam casale, quod dedit ei Gauterius Baffumeth, et vocatur Sussia..."
  69. ^ Röhricht, 1893, RRH, pp. 12-13, No 57
  70. ^ a b Ehrlich, Michael (1996). "Identifications of the settlement at Horvat Susiya" (PDF). Cathedra (82): 173–4. 
  71. ^ Note that in the late 19th century, it had been suggested that Sussia was a Khirbet close to Majdal Yaba; see: Röhricht, 1887, vol 10, p. 243
  72. ^ Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 74-75, No 293
  73. ^ a b Tristram, 1865, p.387
  74. ^ a b PEF map sheet 25. Osborn map to accompany his book "Palestine, Past and Present" [1]. Carl Zimmermann, "Atlas von Palaestina und der Sinai-Halbinsel" (Berlin, 1850), sheet 7. C.W.M. van de Velde, Map of the Holy Land, 1958, section 7, also the 1865 edition.
  75. ^ C.W.M. van de Velde, Narrative of a journey through Syria and Palestine in 1851 and 1852, published 1854, pp. 77-80
  76. ^ Bartholomew's quarter-inch map of Palestine with orographical colouring, ca.1920
  77. ^ F.J. Salmon, Commissioner for Lands & Surveys, Palestine 1936, Sheet 10, 1936
  78. ^ a b c d e f Shulman, ‘'I Am an Illegal Alien on My Own Land,’ at The New York Review of Books, June 28, 2012.
  79. ^ a b c d e f 'Susya: A History of Loss,' Rabbis for Human Rights 7 November 2013.
  80. ^ Yaacov Hasdai,Truth in the Shadow of War, Zmora, Bitan, Modan, 1979 p.70:'Shmarya Gutman, the archaeologist, told them of the magnificent remains of the ancient synagogue at the village of Susiya in the Hebron Hills'.
  81. ^ a b Havakook p.25-31
  82. ^ Havakook p.65
  83. ^ Ephraim Stern, Ayelet Leṿinzon-Gilboʻa, Joseph Aviram,[The New encyclopedia of archaeological excavations in the Holy Land,] Vol.4,Israel Exploration Society & Carta, 1993 p1415:'a special kind of cheese that, until recently, was processed in the caves of Khirbet Susiya.'
  84. ^ 'The origin of the expulsion – A Brief history of Palestinian Susya,' Rabbis for Human Rights 25 June 2012
  85. ^ 'The “Mother of the Settlements” recognizes Susya,'Rabbis for Human Rights 25 May 2015.
  86. ^ Yuval Baruch, Horbat Susya and Rujum el-Hajiri as a Case Study for the Development of the Village and the Rural Settlement in the Hebron Hills from the Early Roman Period to the Early Muslim Period,(Phd Dissertation) Hebrew University 2009, cited in Stuart S. Miller, At the Intersection of Texts and Material Finds: Stepped Pools, Stone Vessels, and Ritual Purity Among the Jews of Roman Galilee, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015 p.20 n.9
  87. ^ a b c Ta'ayush, 'Aggressive Zionist body wins court order to demolish Palestinian village,', at Jews for Justice for Palestinians, 14 June 2012.
  88. ^ "Behind the Headlines: Susiya". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
  89. ^ "The Law, Ass or Donkey?". Haaretz. June 18, 2012. 
  90. ^ a b c d "Susya: The Palestinian lie - the village that didn't exist." (PDF). Regavim. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  91. ^ "Based on statistics collected by the Government of Palestine for the UN 1945". Palestine Remembered. 
  92. ^ 1945 census
  93. ^ "Susya residents: If the village get demolished, we'll turn to Haag". Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  94. ^ a b Barak Ravid, Chaim Levinson, ‘Defense Ministry internal report: Land at village slated for demolition privately owned by Palestinians,’ Haaretz 26 July 2015.
  95. ^ 'In light of new internal review, Israeli military administration to reevaluate demolishing West Bank village, report says,’ The Times of Israel 26 July 2015.
  96. ^ Mairav Zonszein, 'IDF maps village of Susya as forced displacement looms,' +972 magazine 10 May 2015.
  97. ^ 'Testimony: Four settlers attack the Nawaj'ah family near the Susiya settlement, 8 June 2008,' B'tselem 8 June 2008
  98. ^ Amanda Cahill Ripley, The Human Right to Water and Its Application in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Taylor & Francis, 2011 p.155.
  99. ^ Chaim Levinson, 'West Bank settlers stealing tons of soil from Palestinian land,' at Haaretz, 10 October 2012
  100. ^ a b c 'Troubled Waters –Palestinians denied fair access to water: Israel-occupied Palestinian Territories,' Amnesty International,Vol.39, Issue 001, February/March 2009 p.1
  101. ^ Tim Franks, 'West Bank attack filmed,' BBC News 12 June 2008
  102. ^ Julie M. Norman, The second Palestinian Intifada: civil resistance, Taylor & Francis, 2010 p.43.
  103. ^ Nasser Nawaj'ah, 'How can you weather the storm when you’re barred from building a home?, B'tselem, 8 January 2015.
  104. ^ David Dean Shulman,Dark hope: working for peace in Israel and Palestine, University of Chicago Press, 2007 pp. 37 f.
  105. ^ 'Twenty years ago, the cave dwellers of Susya were evacuated from their original village on the pretext of archeological digs in the area. Some of the evacuees went to live on their lands close to the Israeli settlement which was founded a short time before. Five years ago the Israeli army destroyed the caves of these families, and since then they continued to live there in impermanent and improvised housing.(Krinis and Dunayevsky 2006)’, Deborah Cowen, Emily Gilbert, War, Citizenship, Territory, Routledge, London 2007 p.322.
  106. ^ Amnesty International. Israel-rapport 17.09.2001
  107. ^ Susya Sustainable Energy Project, Comet Middle East (Comet-ME)[dead link]
  108. ^ BBC World Challenge
  109. ^ David Hirst, West Bank villagers’ daily battle with Israel over water,' at The Guardian, 14 September 2011.
  110. ^ David D. Shulman, 'Truth and Lies in South Hebron,' Jewish Quarterly June, 2013.'May 7th 2011. The settler in his Shabbat white, a huge knitted skullcap on his head, takes a pebble and holds it out on his fingertips to a Palestinian woman from Susya as he clucks his tongue at her, beckoning her as one would a dog. He has already taken 95% of the family’s land, and now he bullies his way into the tiny patch that is left in order to harass and humiliate further. As if throwing a dog a bone, he tosses the pebble at her and laughs..'
  111. ^ Amira Hass,Court asks Palestinians to drop land case against settlers,' at Haaretz, 23 December 2013.
  112. ^ Laurent Zecchini, 'La colonisation israélienne en marche à Susiya, village palestinien de Cisjordanie,' Le Monde 23 January 2012.
  113. ^ Anne Barker, Palestinians fighting order to demolish their village in the West Bank, ABC News, Monday, July 2, 2012
  114. ^ 'Palestinian village Khirbet Susiya under imminent threat of demolition and expulsion,' B'tselem 7 May 2015:'The village residents requested the order as part of their petition to the court against the Civil Administration’s decision to reject the master plan they had drawn up for the village. In the petition, Att. Qamar Mashraki from Israeli NGO Rabbis for Human Rights argued on behalf of the residents that their plan had been rejected for improper considerations, and that this constituted a double standard in planning and blatant discrimination against the Palestinian population. The state's treatment of Khirbet Susiya and its residents illustrates its systemic use of planning laws to prevent Palestinians in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, from construction and development that meet their needs: most Palestinians in the area live in villages where the Israeli authorities have refused to draw up master plans and connect them to water and power supplies, under various pretexts. With no other choice, the residents eventually build homes without permits and subsequently live under constant threat of demolition and expulsion. This policy is intended to serve the goal, explicitly declared by Israeli officials in the past, of taking over land in the southern Hebron hills in order to formally annex it to Israel in a permanent-status agreement with the Palestinians, and annex it de facto until such a time. In implementing this policy, Israel is acting in contradiction to its obligation to care for the needs of West Bank residents as the occupying power there...The Israeli authorities' policy towards the residents of Khirbet Susiya starkly contrasts their generous planning policy towards Israeli settlers in the area. The settlers of Susiya and its outposts enjoy full provision of services and infrastructure and are in no danger of their homes being demolished – despite the fact that the outposts are illegal under Israel law and in the settlement itself, according to figures published by settler organization Regavim, 23 homes were built on privately-owned Palestinian land.'
  115. ^ 'In shadow of settlement, Susiya villagers vow to fight displacement,' Ma'an News Agency4 June 2015.
  116. ^ Levinson, Chaim (26 November 2013). "A tale of two West Bank building permit requests". Haaretz. Retrieved 7 July 2015. :'The small Palestinian village of Susya, located next to the southern Hebron Hills settlement of the same name, had no permits for its buildings either. And that's still the case, since last month the Civil Administration rejected Susya residents' request for approval of a master plan that would have made their homes legal. .'
  117. ^ Amira Hass, 'Israeli demolition firm takes pride in West Bank operations,' at Haaretz, November 28, 2011
  118. ^ a b Kate Laycock West Bank village struggles against demolition at Deutsche Welle, 5 July 2012.
  119. ^ Chaim Levinson, 'The end of an EU international sustainability project? Israel orders demolition of West Bank village's tents, solar panels,' at Haaretz, 27 June 2013.
  120. ^ Amira Hass, IDF razes Palestinian infrastructure in West Bank communities at Haaretz, 30 August 2012.
  121. ^ 'Israeli court approves demolition of Palestinian village,' Ma'an News Agency 4 May 2015.
  122. ^ Peter Beaumont, 'EU protests against Israeli plans to demolish Palestinian village,' The Guardian 21 July 2015.
  123. ^ Amira Hass, 'EU: We expect Israel to cancel demolition orders for Palestinian villages in Area C of West Bank,' at Haaretz, 9 August 2012.
  124. ^ Tait, Robert (July 21, 2015). "EU warns Israel over West Bank bulldozing". The Daily Telegraph (UK). p. 15. 
  125. ^ Itamar Sharon/JTA,'US warns Israel against demolishing Palestinian town,' The Times of Israel 17 July 2015.
  126. ^ "European Union is 'breaking international law by funding illegal West Bank building projects'". DailyMail. February 5, 2015. 
  127. ^ 'Report of the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population in the occupied territories,' A/38/409 14 October 1983 UNISPAL, citing the Jerusalem Post 6 September 1982.
  128. ^ "Azit, the settler goat". Maariv. February 6, 2008. 
  129. ^ Chaim Levinson, '2,026 Settlement Homes Built on Private Palestinian Land, Right-wing Study Finds ,' Haaretz, 3 May 2015.
  130. ^ Peter Ford 'Barbed Wire, Bullets Mark Israeli Push in West Bank,' Christian Science Monitor June 13, 1991
  131. ^ Ami Pedahzur, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, Columbia University Press, 2011 p.183.
  132. ^ a b c Associated Press, 'Jewish settler kills bound Palestinian,' Houston Chronicle, 23 March 1993 p.7, refers that Army radio had identified him to be a Jawad Jamil Khalil Husiya, 19, of Yatta.
  133. ^ Ami Pedahzur, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, p.184.
  134. ^ Doug Struck, 'Jews react to slayings with bullets Cycle of reprisals claims another life,' at Baltimore Sun, March 24, 1993.
  135. ^ David Shulman, Dark Hope, University of Chicago Press, 2007 p. 61, writes: 'Yair Har-Sinai, . terrorized the Palestinians of South Hebron until he was killed in a brawl some years ago.'
  136. ^ Efrat Weiss,'6 years later: Life sentence for Palestinian who murdered Israeli,' in Ynet, 12 October 2007.
  137. ^ 'The state admitted the demolition was executed illegally. Justice Procaccia said that "the state did not establish a legal procedure which would allow for a building permit, hence the state is not carrying out its duties and is creating a situation under which a human's basic existence becomes impossible." Justice Hayut pointed to the absurdity of the situation, saying "the state admits an unauthorized action was carried out, which resulted in the demolition of structures that constituted the bare minimum in living conditions." Yuval Yoaz,'Court: Palestinian homes in southern Hebron Hills can stay,' Haaretz, 08/09/2004.
  138. ^ Shulman, 2007, pp. 57-63.
  139. ^ Gideon Levy, 'Adding insult to injury,'Ha’aretz, 5 September 2010.
  140. ^ Alleged Jewish terrorist: I know God is pleased Haaretz. 12 November 2009
  141. ^ Teitel indicted for murder, attempted murder YNet. 12 November 2009
  142. ^ Gideon Levy, 'West Bank chaos, just a stone's throw away,' Haaretz 4 March 2011.
  143. ^ Dani Rosenberg, Yoav Gross, ‘Sysia’, Gesher Multicultural Film Fund uploaded to Youtube 26 June 2012
  144. ^ Allison Deger , 'A tale of two Susiyas, or how a Palestinian village was destroyed under the banner of Israeli archeology,' Mondoweiss 20 April, 2015.


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