Susiya | Machsomwatch
אורנית, מהצד הזה של הגדר


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The Palestinian area lies between the settlement of Susya and a military base. 
The residents began to settle in areas outside the villages in the 1830s and lived in caves, tents and sukkot. To this day they maintain a traditional lifestyle and their livelihood is based on agriculture and herding. Until the 1948 war, the farmers cultivated areas that extended to the Arad area. As a result of the war, a significant portion of their land left on the Israeli side was lost. After the 1967 war and the Israeli occupation, military camps were established in the area, fire zones and nature reserves were declared, and the land area was further reduced.

The Jewish settlement in Susya began in 1979. Since then, there has been a stubborn struggle to remove the remains of Palestinian residents who refuse to leave their place of birth and move to nearby  town Yatta. With the development of a tourist site in Khirbet Susya in the late 1980s (an ancient synagogue), dozens of families living in caves in its vicinity were deported. In the second half of the 1990s, a new form of settlement developed in the area - shepherds' farms of individual settlers. This phenomenon increased the tension between the settlers and the original, Palestinian residents, and led to repeated harassment of the residents of the farms towards the Palestinians. At the same time, demolition of buildings and crop destruction by security forces continued, as well as water and electricity prevention. In the Palestinian Susya, as in a large part of the villages of the southern Hebron Mountains, there is no running water, but the water pipe that supplies water to the Susya Jewish settlement passes through it. Palestinians have to buy expensive water that comes in tankers. Solar electricity is provided by a collector system, installed with donation funds. But the frequent demolitions in the villages do not spare water cisterns or the solar panels and power poles designed to transfer solar electricity between the villages.

Updated April 2021, Anat T.