On Friday, the United States State Department Spokesperson, John Kirby, released a statement calling Israel to refrain from the demolition of Khirbet Susiya, a Palestinian village south of Hebron.
In his briefing, Kirby stated, “Demolition of this Palestinian village or of parts of it, and evictions of Palestinians from their homes would be harmful and provocative. Such actions have an impact beyond those individuals and families who are evicted. We are concerned that the demolition of this village may worsen the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution and would set a damaging standard for displacement and land confiscation, particularly given settlement-related activity in the area.”
Palestinian homes are often demolished by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) under the pretext of a lack of building permits. However, Susiya residents reportedly complained that they were forced to build “illegally” because permits are seldom granted. They also reported that Israeli authorities deliberately deny them access to facilities, after Israel cited the lack of necessary infrastructure as another reason for demolition.
“If they demolish this village it will be a disaster,” said Jihad Nawajah, head of the village council. “It’s clear that the main goal is to evict the Palestinians and take the land for the expansion of the settlements.”
According to JPost, B’tselem and Rabbis for Human Rights announced on Thursday that the lawyer for Susiya village sent a letter to the IOF requesting it delay any demolitions of portions of the town until an impending High Court of Justice hearing on August 3.