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Why Israeli NGOs are shifting tactics to stop village demolition

The international community is doubling its pressure on Israel to not demolish the Palestinian village of Khirbet Susya and evacuate all of its residents.
A Palestinian woman reacts after Israeli troops demolished her shed near the West Bank village of Um AlKhair, south of Hebron August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma - RTSM063
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On Aug. 13, Israeli and international human rights organizations will hold another round of protest activities in the Khirbet Susya village in the West Bank in the South Hebron Hills. The activists, who view the Susya campaign as their life work, have recently learned that their protests have borne fruit: The US administration, as well as the European Union and Britain, warned Israel not to demolish the village and expel its residents.

The Palestinian village of Khirbet Susya has been in the South Hebron Hills since the 19th century. The Israeli Susya settlement was erected near the village in 1983 on Palestinian lands that were confiscated by Israel as state lands. Human rights activists claim that ever since then, Israeli authorities, pressured by the settlers, have been trying to drive out the Palestinian villagers from their lands. In 1986, the area was declared an archaeological site, and so the Khirbet Susya villagers were expelled from their lands, moving into caves and tents they erected on agricultural lands that they owned. Since then, Israel has been waging a battle against Khirbet Susya residents, claiming that they have constructed illegal buildings and taken over lands that do not belong to them.

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