Entire Community Under Threat of Demolition, including CARE Health Clinic

Report
from CARE
Published on 28 Jun 2012 View Original

CARE International condemns the demolition orders that will destroy most of the Palestinian community of Susiya, including an ECHO-funded health clinic run by CARE International in partnership with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. CARE calls on Israel's Civil Administration to immediately halt the demolition orders in Susiya and on all humanitarian aid projects in the occupied Palestinian territory, and advocates for the development of a sustainable building plan in collaboration with Susiya residents that upholds their rights to shelter, basic services and access to their agricultural lands.

CARE, in partnership with PMRS and funded by ECHO, established a health clinic in Susiya and 46 other vulnerable and isolated communities under the “Emergency Health Assistance to People Living in Communities Whose Rights are Inadequately Protected in the West Bank” project , currently in its fourth year and operating on an annual budget of 1 million Euros. The clinic provides the community with access to quality primary health care services, previously unavailable due to the restrictions imposed by Israel on their movement, whereas even ambulances are prohibited from entering. The health clinic provides general practitioner services, women’s health services, lab services and health education. It receives 76 visits per month, 60% from women and 37% from children under 18. CARE also trained community health workers to provide care in times of emergency response. Last week, the community health workers provided medical attention during protests against the demolition attended by hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals.

CARE International condemns the demolition orders for over 50 structures in the Palestinian community of Susiya, including the health clinic, and calls on Israel's Civil Administration to immediately halt the demolition orders in Susiya and on all humanitarian aid projects in the oPt. United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the oPt, Richard Falk, in addition to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and many other organizations committed to dignity and social justice have also condemned the demolition orders.

CARE will continue to monitor the situation closely through regular visits and contact with residents. For more information on CARE’s work in the oPt, click here, and for more information on the Susiya demolition, click here to read the article by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. To read an op-ed from Nasser Nawaj’ah, a Susiya resident and CARE beneficiary, click here, and be sure to sign his petition!

Background

On June 12, 2012, Israel’s Civil Administration issued more than 50 demolition orders to the small Palestinian community of Susiya, which will displace 160 people, including 120 children, and destroy the livelihoods of the entire community. The rest of the community already has demolition orders, including the school. These orders have thus exposed the entire community of 350 people to forced displacement. Residents appealed the demolition orders, and with the support of international actors and media coverage, were granted a two week extension by Israel’s High Court of Justice. The extension ends this Sunday, July 1.

CARE International condemns the demolition orders, which include residences, livelihood structures and the health clinic run by CARE International in partnership with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. This humanitarian aid project is funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) thanks to the support of European tax payers. Over 60 structures funded by European aid have been demolished by Israeli authorities since the beginning of 2011 and 2012, and a total of 29.3 million euros worth of European aid projects have been destroyed by Israeli military operations between 2001-2011.

CARE International calls on Israel's Civil Administration to immediately halt the demolition orders in Susiya and on all humanitarian aid projects in the occupied Palestinian territories, and advocates for the development of a sustainable building plan in collaboration with Susiya residents that upholds their rights to shelter, basic services and access to their agricultural lands.

Susiya is located in the southern West Bank with a population of 400 residents who have already been expelled from their homes twice. Despite their presence in the region since the 19th century, the entire community was expelled in 1986 from their original village, which was replaced by an Israeli settlement of the same name. They moved onto their nearby agricultural lands and rebuilt, and were expelled again in 2001. The recent demolition orders from Israel’s Civil Administration, issued in response to a petition by Israeli settlers claiming the community was an ‘illegal outpost,’ places the entire community at risk of expulsion for a third time, demolishing 17 residential tents, a cultural center, livelihood infrastructures, water cisterns and an ECHO-funded health clinic run by CARE in partnership with Palestinian Medical Relief Society.

Susiya residents refuse to leave the land, even if their homes are destroyed. As one mother explained, “We don’t even know where to go with our children if they go through with the demolition. If we leave, 100 [settlers] would be here the next day and we would never be allowed back. We will not leave our land.” If the demolition order is approved, approximately 120 children will be affected.

According to an extensive analysis conducted by CARE in 2011, Susiya is among the most vulnerable communities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Surrounded expanding Israeli illegal settlements and military bases, residents regularly suffer from settler and military violence. It is located in ‘Area C,’ the part of the West Bank (62%) under complete Israeli authority. As the occupying power, Israel has failed to fulfill their obligations under international law to protect the rights of residents in Area C. Instead, strict restrictions on movement and access to resources and basic services are imposed, and Israel allows almost no building or development in the Palestinian villages in these areas. Susiya lacks access to a water network or an electricity network, as Israel’s Civil Administration refuses to connect them to infrastructure systems used by nearby settlements. They are also forbidden from building permanent structures, so many now live in caves and tents.