On February 7, 1968, AP
correspondent Peter Arnett contributed one of the Vietnam War's most
Writing about Ben Tre, he cited an unnamed US major saying: "It became
necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."
He referred to intensive bombing and shelling regardless of civilian
casualties. Many deaths resulted.
In mid-March, Charlie Company soldiers entered My Lai. Destroying the
village to save it repeated. Hundreds were slaughtered.
Most were women, children, infants, and elderly victims. Bodies were
found mutilated. Women were raped, then murdered. William Calley alone
was convicted. He got off easy with three and half years under house
Numerous other incidents never made headlines. They repeat in all wars.
US crimes of war and against humanity are some of history's worst. So
are Israel's. In war, peace, or in between periods, it terrorizes Palestinian
On June 12, Maan News headlined "Israeli forces order Hebron village
demolished after settler case," saying:
Israelís Civil Administration (CA) ordered 50 temporary South Hebron
Hills Susiya village structures demolished.
Orders said they renewed earlier 1990s rulings. Residents got three
days to appeal. It's handled through the Civil Administration's Supreme
Susiya's survival is threatened. Demolition orders came days after residents
petitioned Israel's High Court for justice. They challenged efforts
by a neighboring Jewish-only settlement called Susiya. The extremist
Regavim organization is also involved. More on that below.
Over 100 Palestinians are threatened. Their homes on their own land
face demolition. Orders also target a shop, a clinic, a community center,
a tent to store sheep milk prior to sale, solar panels, a cave used
as a cultural museum, granaries, and shelters for sheep and chickens.
In February, Regavim petitioned Israel's High Court. It demanded CA
demolitions. In March, CA responded, saying "in the near future" new
demolition orders would be issued. Susiya residents' opposition would
Supreme Court Justice Asher Grunis ruled that "there ought to be an
examination of the matter by all parties concerned." He issued a temporary
order prohibiting new construction in areas Regavim's petition covered.
However, he failed to order demolitions halted prior to court deliberations.
Current orders represent the third time Israel tried to lawlessly remove
Susiya residents from their lands.
Their descendants lived there for generations preceding Israel's creation.
In 1983, Susiya settlement was established on Palestinian land. Israel
stole it unjustly.
In 1986, Israeli soldiers expelled residents from their homes after
the CA declared their village a "national park" in the middle of an
archeological site. Descendants of indigenous inhabitants can't visit.
Susiya villagers established residence on agricultural land they own.
It's several hundred meters southeast of the original 19th century location.
In July 2001, Israeli Yair Har Sinai was killed. A Palestinian was blamed.
Soldiers retaliated. They expelled villagers from their land a second
time. Demolition orders destroyed structures and other property. Water
holes were blocked.
Villagers petitioned Israel's High Court for justice. In September 2001,
its interim order permitted returning to their lands. It prohibited
Deliberations were delayed. Various reasons were given. They included
residents notifying the Court that they intended to apply for CA building
permits for existing village structures.
Applications were submitted. Denials followed. In June 2007, Israel's
High Court dismissed villagers' petition.
Since expelled in 1986, CA officials haven't offered alternative residence
sites or granted permission to live legitimately on their own lands.
Israel also refuses to allow nearby water and electricity connections.
Spurious reasons given claimed no building plan was submitted.
In recent years, solar panels were installed. Residents need them for
electricity. In 2011, CA authorities demolished 14 village structures.
They included 10 residential tents housing 87 people. Thirty children
Twenty additional demolition orders are pending. An elementary school
and well are targeted.
Oslo divided the West Bank into three parts. They include Areas A, B
and C, plus a fourth for Greater Jerusalem.
Palestinians control Area A for internal security, public order, and
The PA maintains civil control over Area B. It includes 450 towns and
villages. Israel retains overriding authority for settler safety and
its own interests.
Israel controls Area C entirely. It comprises over 60% of West Bank
land. It includes its valuable water resources.
Israel considers it sovereign territory. Land theft is official policy.
Israel's been stealing it incrementally for decades. It won't stop until
all valued Judea and Samaria parts are taken.
Palestinians are virtually prohibited from building in Area C. In South
Hebron Hills, Palestinians fear the next demolition and expulsion of
longtime residents. Settlers are free to build without permits. They
also get infrastructure connections.
Susiya residents own about 3,000 dunams of agricultural land. It includes
30 water holes. It's close to Susiya settlement. The IDF prohibits residents
from entering or farming on much of their property.
In August 2010, Rabbis for Human Rights petitioned Israel's High Court
for justice. They demanded revocation of orders denying them access
to their own land.
In February 2011, State authorities notified Justices that the army
and CA would map land ownership rights. So far, only a small area is
When settlers attack residents on their own land, soldiers and police
do nothing to stop them. Israel is obligated to protect occupants of
areas it controls. Failure violates international law. Expelling residents
from their land constitutes a grievous crime against humanity.
Residents of other South Hebron Hills villages fear who'll next get
demolition and expulsion orders. They're located in Israeli-controlled
In June 2011, CA authorities, accompanied by a private Israeli contracting
company destroyed Chirbat Bir El Id village.
Residential structures, tents, and other property were demolished. Agricultural
lands were razed. Electric grid connections were cut. Soldiers told
residents they don't deserve electricity. They also damaged a water
tank and sacks of animal food.
Other area villages were targeted. At issue is ethnic cleansing to facilitate
Jewish development. Residents are forced to survive ad hoc. Doing so
requires violating permit authority. Future demolitions are feared.
They can happen any time with little notice.
Settlers want land stolen for themselves. Israeli authorities oblige.
Palestinian villages are destroyed to save them for Jews. The pattern
repeats. It affects longtime residents. Legitimate rights are denied.
Palestinians are removed from their own land. Judicial fairness rarely
follows. Redress never comes.
In early June, Israel's High Court heard arguments on behalf of Regavim
extremists. They demand Palestinian villagers be expelled. They want
privately owned Palestinian land for themselves.
Regavim's name roughly means "Preserving the (Jewish) Nation's Lands."
Members believe they're entitled to steal them with impunity. Susiya
residents are accused of "taking over the land."
They're called intruders on their own property. They're entitled to
live where descendants did for generations. Whether Israel's Supreme
Court agrees or disagrees remains unclear.
At stake are fundamental rights. Palestinians in hundreds of West Bank
villages are affected. It's high time Israel's highest judicial authority
supported them as rule of law provisions demand.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News
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