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The Saga of Ancient ‘Palestinian Susiya’ – The Town That Never Was

The Palestinian Authority is a master at inventing history. Arabs claim they have been there long before Jews although evidence proves the contrary. The tactic is conquering the southern Hevron Hills.

International activists and Jewish volunteers from Rabbis for Human Rights help Palestinian farmers.

International activists and Jewish volunteers from Rabbis for Human Rights help Palestinian farmers.
Photo Credit: Melanie Fidler /Flash90

The Palestinian Authority, with direct financing of the  European Union and blind acceptance of lies as facts by media, is swallowing up the southern Hevron Hills, a huge area between Kiryat Arba-Hevron and Arad-Be’er Sheva.

The latest chapter in the Palestinian Authority’s re-invention of history is taking place in Susiya, pronounced “Soos-eeya,” located two miles from the old borders of Israel, on the western edge of the Judean Desert that leads to the Dead Sea, and less than half an hour from Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev.

The Arab strategy: An Arab family erects a tent, illegally, near the archaeological site of the ancient town of Susiya. As time passes, the tent becomes a makeshift structure, which expands into several structures. With the support of extreme left-wing activists, the ‘ancient’ town of ‘Palestinian Susiya’ is invented, reported the Tazpit News Agency.

“This makes for a great human interest story, but for one setback – the ‘ancient Palestinian Susiya’ never existed. It shows up on no records,” Tazpit wrote.

Yigal Dilmoni, deputy director-general of the Yesha Council, told Tazpit, “Fifteen-year-old aerial photos clearly show that there was no Arab village at this site… The Arabs have come for the village of Yatta, and… repeatedly disseminate lies. ”

Last week, the Civil Lands Authority issued approximately 40 stop-work orders against projects funded by the European Union and intended to firm up Palestinian Authority claims to land where they never lived until Jews came to the area in 1983.

In that year, for the first time in 1,500 years, Jews began living in the southern Hevron Hills, setting up a community in nearby Beit Yatir, two miles to the south, and in Susiya, where the old Jewish town existed until approximately the 6th century.

Until 1983, the area experienced zero growth. Hot summers, cold winters, with occasional snow, and the lack of roads and water resources kept people away. Any land that was farmed by Arabs was done during the spring and summer and abandoned after harvest time, until the following year.

None of the land was ever registered as owned by anyone. During the Ottoman Empire, and under the British Mandate, the rulers of Hevron would sit in their living rooms and parcel out lands arbitrarily. That was the extent of “ownership.”

When Jews came to Beit Yatir, the Arabs followed. Three families from  Yatta, a city adjacent to Hevron, fled because of family crimes, such as rape, and set up camp on a hill adjacent to Yatir, Their village quickly became known as the “Thieves’ Village,” for obvious reasons. They claim, of course, that they have been living there from time immemorial.

As a resident of Beit Yatir, and a security officer at the time, I and my colleague reported theft after theft to the police –laundry on the clothes lines, tricycles, shoes left outside and anything else that was not nailed to the ground. Further down the road, our moshav’s tractors often were stolen and tracks always led to the Thieves’ Village.

The police, of course, did nothing.

Susiya was established in the same year. No Arab lived there. Nor did they live in the ruins of the old city of Susiya.

But when the Civil Lands Authority last week issued the stop-work orders, the first step towards demolition orders, the left-wing movements and the Palestinian Authority reinvented history.

“The Palestinian village of Khirbet [ruins of] Susiya has existed in the South Hebron Hills at least since the 1830.”

The International Solidarity Movement wrote last week, “The residents of Susiya include more than 30 families, who were all evacuated from their homes in the old Susiya village and forced to relocate 200 meters to the southeast, in 1986,”

It is a lie. They never lived there, not in 1830 and not in 1986 and not in 1996.  A handful of Arabs sowed the land in the spring, harvest the crop in the late summer and went back to Yatta. Period.

“Susiya has been the site of creative non-violent resistance for years, resistance that is continually met with brutality,” according to the ISM.

Part of the “non-violent resistance was the cold-blooded murder of my friend Yair Har Sinai in 2001. He was shot in dead in the head and the back by terrorists while, unarmed, he was tending his flock of sheep.

The police and army, of course did nothing for five years, even though his murderers were known.

The same pattern has repeated itself over the past 15 years.

Rabbis for Human Rights has helped the Palestinian Authority destroy Jewish farms. Across the street from our home on Yatir, the Talya family, converts from South Africa, planted and cared for dozens of acres of land for a decade. The leftists moved in one day, ripped everything out, helped the Arabs plant, and won support from the IDF.

Several years, our community’s children along with hundreds of other school students, celebrated Tu B’Shvat by planting planted more than 1,500 saplings on land adjacent to the our regional headquarters. A “rabbi” from the Human Rights group marched in, and announced that the children were illegal occupiers. The next day, the saplings mysteriously disappeared.

Why? Politics.

There is no law in the southern Hevron Hills. There is politics. There are IDF officers who want to advance in the ranks and have to adopt the government policy, which is “malign neglect” of Jews.

As security officer at the time, I was called by the Talya family to come to their farm becuase five Arabs had trespassed. When I arrived, I saw them surveying the land, well within the fence of the Talya farm which is legally zoned for Yatir agriculture.

I called the authorities, and an officer asked me, “What are they doing?”

“They are  surveying the land.” I answered. “Today, they survey. Tomorrow, they claim it is theirs, and the next day they plant and build.”

His reply was, ”What do you care? They are not bothering you.”

The government looks the other way, preferring to set its red lines around Efrat and Maaleh Adumim.

Losing control of the southern Hevron Hills is a free pass to terrorists who use the back trails to smuggle weapons from Bedouins in the Negev, as far away as the Dead Sea and south of Arab. Terrorists also take explosives from the area and use the same route to travel freely and wait for the right moment to blow up Jews in urban centers, from Be’er Sheva to Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem.

The gradual erosion of Israel control over what is supposed to be Israeli-cojntrolled “Area C” has endangered the entire area. Thousands of Arabs have moved in, set up tents and built homes with the funding of hundreds of millions of dollars by the European Union.

Lacking any history of the area, most media swallow up the Arab story, hook, line and sinker.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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