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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 March 2012





SUSIYA: AT IMMINENT RISK OF FORCED
DISPLACEMENT


مجمع سوسيا الرعوي: خطر التهجير
القسري الوشيك


MARCH 2012


1. Susiya faces a high risk of forced displacement due to the lack of adequate planning and its close proximity to an Israeli settlement. These characteristics make the community a “high priority” for demolitions, according to the Israeli Civil Administration’s (ICA) criteria applied in Area C. In response to a petition filed by a settler group to the Israeli High Court, the State indicated in March 2012 that it would act soon against outstanding demolition orders in Susiya.

2. Susiya families, who have lived in the community since before 1948, face some of the worst living conditions in Area C. Residents, who own the land in the community, used to live in houses, but these were destroyed by the Israeli authorities. They now live in tents and tin shelters. Residents, who rely on agriculture and herding for their livelihood, depend on rainwater cisterns, as the community is not connected to the water network and there are no nearby filling points.

3. Access to land for residents has been progressively reduced due to settlement construction and settler violence, with a negative impact on livelihoods and security as residents have less space for herding and cultivation.

4. The ICA has carried out multiple waves of demolitions targeting residential and livelihood structures, including water cisterns. Like most Area C communities, the Israeli authorities have never approved a “master plan” for Susiya, without which residents have almost no possibility of obtaining a permit for construction on their land.

5. There is a clear pattern of discrimination between Susiya and the nearby settlements, particularly regarding planning and zoning. Suseya settlement has an approved plan that allows construction. While the structures in the nearby outpost lack a building permit, the ICA has carried out no demolitions and the outpost is connected to the water and electricity networks.

6. Susiya residents are exposed to systematic intimidation and abuse from settlers, in cases triggering forced displacement. Incidents recorded include physical assaults, verbal harassment and prevention of access to land. This phenomenon has had a damaging psycho-social impact on residents, particularly on children.

7. If Palestinian communities in Area C continue to lack access to a fair planning and zoning regime and there is no freeze on demolitions, the situation in these communities will continue to deteriorate, increasing their risk of forced displacement and undermining Palestinian presence in Area C. Central to this risk is ongoing settlement expansion, which runs counter to international humanitarian law, and persistent settler violence, which the Israeli authorities consistently fail to investigate thoroughly or hold those responsible accountable.






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