Updates from Supreme Court Proceedings (Jan 31, 2013) Regarding the Palestinian Village of Susya ~ by @rhreng

Rabbis for Human Rights ‏| | Febr 4, 2013

The Supreme Court of Israel | cc: wikipedia

Last Thursday we came to the Supreme Court to protect the future of Susya, from both demolitions and violence. Read the outcome of the legal discussion. Thanks to everyone who distributed the call for help (thousands of letters were sent to President Shimon Peres asking for his assistance) and who came to the Court!

On Thursday the Supreme Court heard arguments on two petitions regarding the Palestinian village of Susya, both of which involve the damage Palestinians suffer at the hands of systems that do not represent them. We await decisions on both petitions [it appears they will be interim decisions], which we expect to be published soon.

RHR awaits the ruling with cautious optimism. At the first session, which discussed a petition by the far-right organization Regavim demanding the demolition of the village, the Court seemed inclined to accept the state’s argument that no discussion of demolishing the northern part of Susya should take place until the conclusion of the process of discussions regarding a town plan that RHR submitted for the village.

There was disagreement over the amount of time necessary to submit a second plan for the southern part of the village. RHR and the St. Ives organization argued that as a result of long-term mishandling of planning for Palestinians in general, and for Susya in particular, enough time must be allotted for preparation of plans that the authorities themselves have never issued. If a deadline is set for sooner than necessary [90 days] it will effectively prevent the submission of any realistic, suitable plan.

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In the second petition RHR has been asking the authorities for quite some time for a clear timetable and commitment to conclude, within a reasonable time, addressing the methodical takeovers and violence, as well as the blocked access to Palestinian lands. RHR stressed the substantial loss and damage to the owners stemming directly from the security forces’ and authorities’ missteps.

The state tried to argue that it cannot handle a general petition (involving no more than 2500 dunams of land) covering multiple incidents of blocked access. The court pressed the state to explain why for years it has not managed to address even some of the cases individually. Finally, it should be noted that at the heart of both petitions lies the damage caused when governmental force is applied in discriminatory ways against people not represented in that government.

Photo: Susya solar panel project by Yotam Ronen by Comet MePhoto: Susya solar panel project by Yotam Ronen by Comet Me

Further Update re the Two Supreme Court Petitions on Susya

The Supreme Court published its interim decision today on the future of the Palestinian village of Susya [31 Jan 2013]:

Regarding the petition of the far-right organization Regavim calling for demolition of the village, the court decided – in accordance with attorneys Avital Sharon and Quamar Mishirky-Asad of RHR, who represent the village – to grant an extension of 90 days, to allow for the preparation of a plan for the southern section of the village. The state has never provided suitable planning for Palestinian Susya – as it must – and that the planning system which determines the fate of Palestinians in Area C is a military system that does not represent the residents (it is as if the Palestinian Police were to plan Israeli towns without involving Israelis in the process). Granting the possibility of submitting plans by civic parties in dialogue with the villagers is the least that can be expected in terms of justice and fairness.

In the petition that RHR submitted on behalf of the Susya residents, against the methodical blockage of access to their lands, the court gave the state 90 days to detail its plans in that regard. In paragraph 1 of the decision the court directs the state to address in detail to each plot around Susya, and in the absence of a court decision, to provide a date by which the investigation will conclude.

Quamar Mishirky Asad: “Overall it’s a positive ruling, under the circumstances. You have to understand that the attempt to push the Palestinian villagers of Susya into the town of Yata, far from their livelihood – their fields – demonstrates a readiness to trample human rights in favor of an unofficial political policy to annex parts of Area C – annexation without Palestinians. Any political program must be subject to the principles of human and civil rights.”

Rabbi Arik Ascherman: “The truth is that we, Israeli society, are judged on our use of the monopoly of force to determine the fate of Palestinians; of those unrepresented among the judges of the Supreme Court or the planning commissions that determine their future. How can we be a country that twice expelled families from their homes in Susya, pressed them until they lived in caves, destroyed those caves, and then issued demolition orders for anything they built with a roof? Nathan the prophet told David that the king himself was the man who had stolen the poor man’s allegorical sheep. When the ruling comes out, the people will now if we are the analogous state. King David recognized himself in the story. If we recognize who we are today, maybe we will succeed in becoming who we want to be tomorrow.”

A Brief History of Palestinian Susya: In the 1980’’s the original village was designated an archaeological zone and cleared of its residents with no alternative accommodations; entry by Palestinians was barred, not even as visitors. With no choice the uprooted villagers moved to their nearby fields. All buildings deemed illegal are the result of forced expulsion, as is the destruction of the caves in which most of the villagers lived until 2001 (which is what forced them to set up tents). For more extended history please click Here!

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