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July 26, 2015 3:17 pm

The ‘Palestinian Village’ of Susya is Neither Palestinian Nor a Village

avatar by Adam Levick

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Take a look at this recent photo published in the Financial Times.

Financial Times screenshot. Photo: UK Media Watch.

Financial Times screenshot. Photo: UK Media Watch.













The photo is quite representative of U.K. media coverage of events in a place they’re calling “Khirbet Susya.” This area is near the Jewish settlement of Susya – a historically Jewish town in the southern Hebron hills.

The Guardian, Independent, and Telegraph have all covered the story, which has been framed as an attempt by Israeli authorities to kick hundreds of Palestinians off ‘their land’ in this “Palestinian village”.

Much like the FT’s characterization of the EU-funded concrete structure covered by tarp in the staged photo as a “tent” (look at the concrete by the girl’s feet), the claim that the area is “Palestinian” and owned by local “villagers” is – according to courts who examined claims by the petitioners (the Nawajah family) – fictitious.

Based on historical and geographical accounts, aerial photography, mandatory-era maps, travelogues, and the population registry, Israeli courts (HC 7530/01, 430/12, 1556/12, 1420/14) established that no such Palestinian village ever existed. According to the NGO Regavim and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), only a handful of families resided there since the 1980s, and it only ever served as temporary (seasonal) grazing land by Palestinian shepherds.

Further, claims by the Nawajah family that they owned the land was also disproven, and the court found that the family owned a permanent residence in Yatta, in Palestinian-controlled Area A.

Additionally, the 20 illegal structures in the encampment built adjacent to an ancient Jewish archeological site represents part of a broader attempt by the EU, the PA, and pro-Palestinian NGOs to establish ‘facts on the ground’ in Area C.

Jack Wallis Simons wrote this in his fascinating Daily Mail expose earlier in the year:

More than 400 EU-funded Palestinian homes have been erected in Area C of the West Bank, which was placed under Israeli jurisdiction during the Oslo Accords – a part of international law to which the EU is a signatory.

The Palestinian buildings, which have no permits, come at a cost of tens of millions of Euros in public money, a proportion of which comes from the British taxpayer.

This has raised concerns that the EU is using valuable resources to take sides in a foreign territorial dispute.

Finally, the charge that, if the Palestinian petitioners lose the case, they will be rendered homeless is also not true, according to the MFA:

[They] have been offered plots of similar, or even better, quality in a nearby area that already conforms to planning and zoning laws. Building houses there will also improve the petitioners’ quality of life, giving them access to infrastructure and educational facilities that are not available in their current illegal locations. Additionally, they will be allowed to continue the same agricultural activities on the lands they currently claim.

Susya is neither “Palestinian” nor a “village.” It can more accurately be described – to use the parlance of foreign journalists when reporting on Jews in similar situations in the West Bank – as an illegal Palestinian settlement.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of UK Media Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

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  • mjazzguitar

    This is just a land grab by the palestinians.
    This video explains it well:

  • Judy Rosen

    We visited Susya in April 1975.
    There were no homes in the area of ancient Susya. There were lots of little Arab children running around trying to sell us ancient coins they had found around the archeological site. It was their entertainment but they were not living there.Our car got stuck up at the site because there were no roads. We had to push it down. The children lived somewhere in the vicinity but this area had no modern habitation.

  • H D U Smith

    200 prominent Israelis signed a public statement published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (July 20th) against the demolition of Susya.
    On Friday July 24 2015, nine buses full of Israelis, internationals, and activists arrived in the small Palestinian village of Susya in order to show support to the village currently under immediate threat of demolition. The demonstration was one of the largest joint protests in recent history in the Occupied Territories, and was organised by Rabbis for Human Rights along with Israeli NGOs B’Tselem, Combatants for Peace, and Ta’ayush.

    Rabbis For Human Rights is representing Susya in an appeal of the rejection of the master plan made without any Arab representation. That appeal is scheduled to be heard on August 3rd.

    However, top Israeli army officers had arrived in Susya on July 12th to announce that demolitions would be carried out before the August 3rd hearing because of settler pressure. Any decision to demolish Susya for a third time (they were expelled in 1948 and again in 1986) should wait until their case is brought before the Israel Supreme court.

    • Susya is and should remain Palestinian. Stop the land grabbing.

      • dante

        get a grip, hugo; stifle your hate, little man. get back on your meds or see a therapist.

        because you say it was “palestinian” doesn’t make it so. as for “grabbing,” little man, if you look at the aerial maps, you’ll understand that there is an attempted land grab, but it’s not by the Jews, it’s by the Arabs.

        and, the “palestinians” enjoy european financial and “moral” support for their mendacious claims. for the “palestinians” and for the europeans, the Jews have no rights and can do nothing right; the “palestinians” have all the rights and can only do right.

        your view, little man, is morally perverse. the land is filled with archaeological evidence of the ancient and continuous presence of the Jews. oh yeah, at a certain point, the Muslims conquered the land and such rights as they derive from that conquest, despite international recognition of Jewish rights in the Land of Israel about 100 years ago.

      • Deborah

        Did you learn how to read?

      • shloime

        it cannot “remain” what it never was. your prejudices are preventing you from accepting facts.

    • Serge Isaac Barou

      So, you continue to speak about the village of Susya instead of all the evidence that there is no such village and never has been? Why?

    • H Smith. Big lies on your part. In 1948, the area of Susiya was under Arab control. Moreover, there was no Arab village there. The very name of the location in Arabic shows that you are being fed lies. The traditional Arab name for the place is Khirbet Susiya. Khirbet means “ruins” and refers to the ancient Jewish ruins of the place. It was not inhabited by Arabs or by anybody since the Middle Ages.

  • OSWALD dsouza

    The God of israel has given the land to jewish people by his covenant unto them. the promise stand forever. god will do it that it. the whole world and its system will be against u.
    fear not, do not be dismayed, “STand still and see the salavation of the lord”. i pray that the lord god will raise up prophets like Elijah to reveals the strategies of the lord god to give the promised victory for this people in these times for his name sake.
    the christian church has never replaced Israel, it will never be so, Israel and the church are unique each has its god given purpose seperately.
    thanks oswald india

    • Elisheva

      Yes, Oswald. God gave us the land, but He also commanded us to conquer it! Why so? To show we believe in the Promise!

  • Bullfrog

    What does one expect .. The EU authorities are using European tax payers money & couple that with their pro Palestinian support, it is no surprise a situation like this arises.

  • ART

    The world just can not stand to allow Jews to have their own country, and a viable strong country at that. They want the few remaining Jews to be isolated minorities dependent on the whim and whimsy of their host countries and always facing pogroms or expulsion.

    • david mccance

      Can I get some examples of that Art?

      David from Scotland

  • steven L

    Just like Qatar owns a big piece of France, SA must own a big piece of Big Ben!
    The EU continues to use the Oslo deception and the Palestinian shield to undermine Israel!
    Looks like Palestinians are good only for being used as shield by anybody against Israel and the Jews. This is true for Hamas, EU, Syria (now and before, Qatar, SA and Iran!!!!)

  • Tzvika Benzion

    More than that, there is no such thing as a “Palestinian”.
    You may find many historical sources that explain and prove this.

    • shloime

      close, but not quite true. “palestine” was the name used for the jewish homeland after the roman conquest, and for the british mandate. in 1923, the british (illegally) divided it into jewish and arab homelands, giving the “arab homeland in palestine”, today’s jordan, 78% of the land. israel, judea, samaria, and gaza, all together, make up the remaining 22%, which was left for the jews.

      so “palestinians” exist, as an anachronistic term for the jews and arabs who lived in the british mandate, today known as israelis and jordanians.

      it is also instructive to note that arabs refused to apply the term “palestinian” to themselves prior to 1963, because it was thought to be “too jewish”. which is why unrwa, whose mandate is exclusively the “arab refugees from palestine”, does not have any reference to “palestinians” in its name.

      most importantly, jordan IS arab palestine!