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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Susya’

Israel Uncensored: Living in Susiya While Working for the “Jewish Federation” of Judea and Samaria [audio]

Monday, September 12th, 2016

One Israel Fund Director of Community Development Natalie Sopinsky explains to Josh Hasten how her organization is essentially the “Jewish Federation” for Judea and Samaria, raising funds for educational, recreational, spiritual and other projects for its residents. At the same time Sopinsky is a resident of the Southern Hebron Hills Jewish community of Susiya which has made international headlines lately since Arab squatters have set up an illegal encampment nearby. With EU funding, and anti-Israel NGO’s supporting the squatters, will the Israeli government uphold the law by removing the illegal structures? Sopinsky weighs in.

The Land of Israel

Arab Susya and its Specious Historic Connection

Friday, September 9th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Israel Behind the News website}

In land disputes with Israel, Arabs often claim “historic rights” often repeating the mantra that their grandfathers had lived on a given tract of land “for centuries”

In that context, a new controversy has erupted over whether or not the Israel civil administration, which administers the Judea region of the west bank, will indeed demolish the Arab hamlet of Susya.

As the debate has grown more heated, Israeli groups that advocate for Arab territorial rights have distributed their version of a history of Arab Susya, as a reason to justify the inherent Arab right to settle in Susya, since they have no permit or authorization whatsoever from the Israel Civil Administration.

Indeed, on June 25, 2012, The Rabbis for Human Rights issued a statement about the historic claims of the Arabs of Susya:

“The village of Palestinian Susya has existed for centuries, long before the establishment of the [Jewish] settlement of Susya in 1983.  There are documentary evidence of a settlement in the area dating back to 1830, and it is also marked on British mandatory maps from 1917”

Since the claim made by the advocates of Arab Susya focus attention only on that “historic claim”, it might be appropriate to ascertain what the Ottoman and British records would attest to that claim.

A check with the researcher and Jerusalem Post journalist Dr. Seth J. Frantzman, co-author of “Bedouin Settlement in Late Ottoman and British Mandatory Palestine: Influence on the Cultural and Environmental Landscape, 1870-1948 was made in order to ascertain what the Ottoman and British records show about Susya.

Dr. Frantzman, who has been careful throughout his career not to identify himself with any political faction in Israel, carried out his PhD research at the Hebrew University, using Israel State Archives and in the map archives of the Hebrew U and National library as well as at the aerial photo archive of the Hebrew University’s Geography department on the foundation, expansion and development of Arab villages in the 19th and early 20th century, tracing how some villages expanded and gave birth to “daughter villages”

What can be said, based on the maps, is that there is no evidence of a permanent settlement prior to 1948.

Mandate-Map-1948 Frantzman-1024x409-1

There is no village recognized by the mandate, no records of such a village, no records of people inhabiting the site year-round.

The title of Dr. Frantzman’s PHD was ‘The Arab settlement of Late Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine: Village formation and settlement fixation, 1871-1948’

Dr. Frantzman notes that, in his research, he did not come
across any village, hamlet or settlement at Susya.

He did identify several other villages that were founded in the 1940s, which Professor David Grossman of the Department of Geography at Bar Ilan University has also written about.

For example, the village Rahiya, near Yatta, was founded in the late 19th century or early 20th century.
Yet there is no evidence, however, from records examined he Ottoman Empire period or British mandate period, of any village or settlement ever existing at Susya.

There are five documents attached:

As can be seen from the Palestine Exploration Fund, which carried out a thorough and widely respect survey of the country from 1871-77 did not show any village or settlement in the area of Susya.

Instead they noted only the ruins of ancient Susya.

Their map and memoirs both indicate only a ruin.

Had there been a village it would have been indicated the say Samu was on the map.

Later maps from Mandate, from 1942 and 1948, show no village in the area of Susya, but once again show villages at Samu and Yatta.

An aerial photo from 1945 does not even show a village or even tents at the site.

In short, the conclusion of Dr. Frantzman’s study is that there was no settlement at Susya, no village and no houses from the 19th century through 1948.

While Susya’s advocates write in various publications claim to have lived in a “village” at the site since the 1830s, there is no record of any such “village”.

Dr. Frantzman noted that “It is surprising that so little was constructed from the period 1830-1948.”

Aerial-photo-1945-area-of-Susya_labels_Frantzman-1024x347-1

Photos from today show construction that is likely much more modern

Dr. Frantzman observed “The allegation that the villagers were prevented from building or “built illegally” in Area C, begs the question, didn’t they build anything before Area C was created in the 1990s?  Where are the old houses from 1830,from 1920, 1940, 1960, and 1970?  Was not the settlement in fact a
seasonal settlement of tents and non-permanent dwellings?”

These are the questions that should be raised.

More evidence in the way of photos from the 1960s and after would surely shed light on this.
A reporter asked advocates of Arab Susya if they could provide any documentation which would support the claim that “The village of Palestinian Susya has existed for centuries, long before the establishment of the [Jewish] settlement of Susya in 1983.  There are documentary evidence of a settlement in the area dating back to 1830, and it is also marked on British
mandatory maps from 1917”

No one could provide any such evidence.

In other words, the issue at hand today revolves around whether the Israel Civil Administration is legally mandated to demolish homes that were built without authorization and without any permit.

Over the past few years, the Israel Civil Administration has destroyed hundreds of Jewish homes because they were built without a permit recognized by the Israel Civil Administration, despite historic claims of Jews to the land where they had made their home.

Map-Mandate-1942_Frantzman-1024x768-1

And who can forget the Oct. 27, 2004 decision of the government of Israel to revoke permits for settlement in Gush Katif and four Jewish communities in Northern Samaria, which resulted in the demolition of all 21 Jewish communities in Gush Katif and all four Northern Samarian communities.

In other words, the precedent for Susya’s demolition has been established by the stringent way in which the Israel Civil Administration has applied the letter of the law to Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Meanwhile, the record shows that Susya’s historic claims to their property to be specious.

David Bedein

Leftwing J Street Going After Pro-Israel Regavim’s US Tax-Exempt Status

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of leftwing, anti-Netanyahu group J Street, sent an email to his group’s supporters announcing that he is pressuring the Obama Administration to revoke the US tax-exempt status of the Israeli (and pro-Israel) NGO Regavim in response to their supposed activity against the two-state solution.

The urgent need to harm Regavim’s US donations resulted from the effective work the group has done in forcing the Israeli authorities to apply Supreme Court rulings on demolishing illegal Arab construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria. One of the recent focal points of the Regavim efforts has been the squatter camp outside the Jewish community of Susiya, which the US and the EU insist must stay put despite the fact that its existence violates every signed agreement between Israel and the PA.

Ben-Ami wrote his followers that he was shocked to discover that the “settler movements” aiming to destroy Susiya are partially funded by donations from the US — including Regavim which has systematically mapped out the Susiya shacks and lean-tos, pointing Israeli police at the precise location of structures that violate the law. Ben-Ami sees this well-organized campaign to enforce the law as a threat to a future Palestinian State, which, he believes, must some day be handed the entire area.

Ben-Ami attributes to his organization’s work behind the scenes with the US State Dept. the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman have responded to international pressure and postponed the evacuation of the illegal Arab squatters until November 15.

The president of J Street shared in his email how enraged he is by the fact that groups that work against “the future of the State of Israel” and in direct defiance of US foreign policy and “perhaps” even US law, enjoy a tax-exempt status in the US, which is why J Street will continue to pressure the US government to revoke Regavim’s special status.

Should Ben-Ami be interested in learning what happened the last time the IRS has taken on a pro-Israel group, he should Google “Z Street,” a feisty organization headed by Jewish Press Online reporter Lori Lowenthal Marcus. As Lowenthal Marcus and others have reported over the past seven or so years, the IRS was “slow-rolling” discovery in lawsuits about how it slow-rolled applications by conservative non-profits in general and Z Street in particular.

In 2009, Z Street filed for 501(c)(3) status and was caught in the net of IRS targeting for groups that opposed Administration policy.

An IRS agent confirmed on the phone that Z Street’s application had been sent for special screening for groups connected with Israel. Z Street sued the IRS in 2010 for political discrimination that violated the First Amendment, and IRS Exempt Organizations Determinations Group manager Jon Waddell actually said in a December 2010 sworn declaration in federal court that the IRS flagged Z Street because “Israel is one of many Middle Eastern countries that have a ‘higher risk of terrorism.’”

“That’s hilarious,” wrote the Wall Street Journal last August, “since Z Street supports a country targeted by terrorism. But it also is untrue, which the Administration apparently knew before Mr. Waddell gave his statement to the court. In an October 25, 2010 internal IRS memo on the Z Street case produced in discovery, the IRS acknowledged that when Z Street’s application was being scrutinized Israel wasn’t on the list of terrorist countries, and that an agent may have been using an outdated list.”

If Jeremy Ben-Ami believes the Obama Administration is prepared to go after the tax-exempt status of yet another Zionist group — he should probably check with someone in the State Dept. Perhaps President Hillary Clinton would be inclined to alienate her Jewish voters and Israel by using the IRS for political purposes. It’s quite clear President Donald Trump won’t.

As to the self-congratulations of Ben-Ami on how he and J Street got the US and the EU to condemn Israel’s legal activities in Susiya — it stands to reason they knew all about it on their own. Why, the EU has been building illegal structures in Area C (which Regavim has successfully gotten demolished) without any help from J Street.

JNi.Media

Liberman Cites International Pressure over Arab Squaterville in Area C

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday sat with schoolchildren in the Jewish community of Susiya in south Mt. Hebron, next door to which a squatter Arab community has emerged recently, in an obvious attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over Area C of Judea and Samaria. Liberman told the children the encroachment by the residents of Yata Village to the lands near Susiya was not an accident, but a planned effort to physically separate the new community of Susiya and the historic synagogue on the nearby archeological site.

Susiya is a legitimate archaeological site in the southern Judean Mountains that bears the archaeological remains of a 5th century CE enormous synagogue, one of the largest and most magnificent ever discovered, which was turned into a mosque by the Arab invaders in the 8th century.

“Are you familiar with the archeological site of Susiya?” Liberman asked, and continued, “One day all kinds of illegal buildings started popping there, supported by foreign countries. And why did they pop there? On purpose, to divide between the community of Susiya and the historic Susiya.”

Liberman revealed that he had been under “pressure from all over the world” not to apply the demolition order handed out more than once by the Supreme Court. “The European Union, the US — they all discovered Susiya. Suddenly the United Nations Security Council is also interested in Susiya.” He promised the children he would obey the law and carry out the demolitions. “The free world is preaching especially for this to be a country of laws, and we must honor our judiciary system,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the demolitions of illegal Arab construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, violate the recommendations of the so-called Middle East Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, on the way forward in the peace process.

Liberman attacked the Europeans and the Americans who demand that Israel ignore the Supreme Court ruling to demolish Susiya, but to enforce the same court’s ruling on demolishing the Jewish Amona community in northern Samaria. “We are a country of laws,” he said, and we will honor ourselves and our laws, regarding Amona, E1 (the area connecting Jerusalema nd Ma’ale Adumim), and Susiya,” he clarified.

Liberman called on the residents of Amona to embrace the compromise being offered by the government, and moved to the promised homes to be built near their community. “I say to the residents of Amona, there’s a ruling of the high court and we will obey it. If anyone is delusing themselves that we won’t, it’s not going to happen. Whatever the court permits we will do. That’s why we offered many alternatives, and I hope we’ll find one the Amona residents will also accept.”

David Israel

The Ancient Susiya Synagogue

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

The Israel Museum has reconstructed part of the inside of the ancient Susiya (Susya) synagogue. You can see what a magnificent building it must have been.

The excavated Jewish synagogue in Susiya dates from the 4th to the 7th century CE and was in continuous use until the 9th century CE.

(The Israel Museum) The magnificent synagogue of Susiya in the southern Hebron hills stood for hundreds of years and underwent many renovations. Its bema (podium) was built next to the long northern wall, which featured three arched niches. The central one likely held the Torah Ark, and the two others each held a menorah. The bema’s carved and incised motifs included menorahs, animals, and plants. Numerous donor inscriptions on the walls and floor attest to the community’s active participation in the building’s construction.

Susiya Synagogue in the Israel Museum 2

The Susiya Synagogue in situ:

1024px-SusyaSynogogueInterior Source: Yaacov / Wikipedia

Susiya Synagogue Explanation

Photo of the Day

Israel: Okay to Demolish 30 Illegal Structures in “Arab” Susiya

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

The State of Israel has the right to demolish 30 illegal structures built in the new and illegal Arab “village” of Susiya, according to a draft document to be submitted Wednesday to the High Court of Justice.

Although usually the Defense Ministry Civil Administration decides these issues, this time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would make the call on whether or not to demolish the structures, rather than Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the document stated.

The prime minister’s review would take until the end of October, after the completion of the Jewish high holy days, after which time the state would inform the Court whether the shacks would be legalized, or demolished.

The state warned the Court, however, that legal remedies would remain in place against any new construction that appears in the area after 2014, and that laws against illegal construction would be enforced.

The Regavim nongovernmental organization (NGO) has consistently researched and litigated the case against any new building by Arabs from the Palestinian Authority in the area, which is completely under the control of Israel.

Regavim is calling on Israel to demolish all illegal structures post-2014, regardless of international pressure.

The United States and the European Union have for months been pressuring Israel to legalize the village. The European Union has in addition been encouraging the Palestinian Authority to continue illegal construction in Area C. In some cases, this activity has actually forced Israel to demolish structures built with funding, or directly, illegally built by the European Union itself.

Due to the sensitive diplomatic nature of the issue, the matter was sent directly to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for attention.

The modern Jewish community, established in 1983 under the Mount Hebron Regional Council, is located next to the ancient city of Susiya, now an archaeological site featuring a 5th-8th CE synagogue with a magnificent mosaic floor, and the mosque that replaced it.

The site was formally declared an archaeological site in 1986 by the Israel Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration; the Arab population chose to locate its “village” precisely on the same spot.

The IDF expelled the squatters, who began with 25 families in 1986, despite opposition from the United Nations which claimed they were living in “houses” at the time. The Arab villagers were moved instead to a site few hundred meters southeast of the original ancient city.

Just 13 families comprised Arab Susiya in 2008. But as it became more fashionable in the international community to target Israel’s right to govern Area C of the Oslo Accords, Mount Hebron and the area around it rose to prominence as a key battleground. Arab Susiya did too, and by 2015 the “village” rose to its current population of 50 families, comprising several hundred people.

Hana Levi Julian

Rightwing Watchdog Urging Action on Fake Arab Settlement Susya [video]

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Israeli legal watchdog Regavim has appealed to its supporters in Israel and abroad to write to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to take action against the illegal squatter camp in Susya. The call comes one day after the Israeli Supreme Court has given government a two-day extension on the deadline to deal with the issue through legal means.

There has been immense public pressure on the Netanyahu government by the US State Department, the European Union and dozens of anti-Israel NGOs, to halt the legal process of evicting the illegal Arab squatters who only arrived in Susya over the past few years. The Arabs’ assortment of lean-tos and tents borders on a legal Jewish community that was established by the government in 1986. Should Israel permit this illegal outpost to remain, in Area C of Judea and Samaria which was designated for Jewish settlements, more camps like it will soon dot the landscape everywhere inside the Jewish area of the “disputed territories,” enhancing the Arab side of the dispute.

Regavim released a video call-to-action in which the organization’s International Director Josh Hasten called on supporters to rally around the government as they deliberate on the fate of the squatters’ camp. Explaining the importance of the Susya case, Hasten says the Arab squatters “have set-up shop deliberately on an ancient Jewish town that existed 1,500 years ago — this is a litmus test to see if the government of Israel is willing to uphold the laws of the land.”

Hasten urges viewers to “get involved, let the Prime Minister know that the State of Israel and people of Israel are behind him and we are here to strengthen him in making this decision which is necessary to uphold the laws of the land.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rightwing-watchdog-urging-action-on-fake-arab-settlement-susya-video/2016/08/17/

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