On June 20 2012 a press conference was held at the Governor’s office on the matter of the severe crisis that the small community of Susiya is facing at present: the demolition of about 57 structures. Present at the conference was the governor, the deputy governor, a representative from Palestinian Medical Relief Society, and about 50 people in the audience, among these representatives from EAPPI, CPT and HIRN.
The Demolition of Susiya
The deputy governor, Mr. Marwan Sultan, started the press conference with a presentation of the case, namely that of Susiya, which on June 6 received demolition orders from the Israeli forces targeting about 57 structures including water cisterns, animal sheds, housing, and solar-powered electricity systems. The time given the community for responding to the demolition orders changed to one week on Monday June 18, which means the demolitions can start as soon as Sunday June 24. For more detailed information on the demolitions in Susiya see this article.
Further, the deputy governor explained that the demolition orders are violating the Fourth Geneva Convention because this prohibits demolition of any structure that has a civilian purpose. Hopefully, this conference will shed light on the issue to both the Palestinian and international community.
Escalation of Problems
The governor of Hebron, Kamil Hamid, was worried that these problems in Susiya will stir things up and create further problems between the Palestinians and the Israeli. In the Susiya area there are around 15.000 settlers and they have access to 70% of the land and 60 % of the water, which is creating pressure.
According to the governor the demolition orders in Susiya and the issues of Israelis closing the Old City down and taking over houses are clearly actions to get rid of the Palestinians and to create settlement expansion. And because there has been rather quiet from the Palestinian side recently, the Israeli has taking this as a sign of the Palestinians have given up and therefore proceeding.
The final speaker at the conference was a representative from the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. He said that the Palestinian Authority has forgotten their responsibility for the local community and in this light he thanked the Government for holding the press conference. He mentioned that in order to work against the settler expansion there is a need for developing a strategy with the international community. Further, the local communities are working too randomly as it is and should instead be united in the fight against.
The press conference was to be broadcasted on TV and hopefully it will reach the international community in order to prevent this severe issue in Susiya and the next ones to come.