Today was the deadline for the Israeli government to decide whether they’re going to move forward with demolitions in the Palestinian village of Susya.
We have an important update. According to multiple reports, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman requested a two-and-a-half month delay in deciding Susya’s fate. This doesn’t remove the threat of demolition, but it’s a sign that the pressure we’ve helped to generate has been felt.
The effort that’s been made to save Susya over the past few weeks has been remarkable. Eleven thousand people signed our petition to Secretary of State Kerry, urging him to weigh in with the Israeli government and make clear that the demolition of the village is unacceptable. J Street U students reached out to Jewish communal leaders, asking them to speak out to #SaveSusya.
After all of this, we’re seeing some real results. The State Department publicly announced their strong opposition to any demolitions in Susya — and reportedly pushed the Israeli government hard behind the scenes.
The President of the Union for Reform Judaism — the largest movement of Jews in North America – sent a clear message to Israel’s Ambassador in the United States: “Protect the Village of Susya.” Organizations like the New Israel Fund and T’ruah have made their voices heard as well.
Lieberman and his boss Prime Minister Netanyahu are now facing real pressure not to demolish the village. With the delay until October 30, they may be hoping that the scrutiny will subside in the meantime.
We can’t let that happen.
What’s happening in Susya is part of a wider crisis. Increased settlement expansion and home demolitions contribute to a process of creeping annexation in the West Bank. Settlement movement leaders and their allies in the Israeli government are undermining the two-state solution by pushing Palestinians out of areas — like Susya — that most observers understand will be a part of a future Palestinian state.
Their actions endanger Israel’s future and clash with the fundamental values and goals of the American Jewish community. That’s why, over the next few months, J Street will be engaged and vigilant in taking up opportunities to stand up to this dangerous activity throughout the West Bank. By pushing our elected leaders and mobilizing our community to act, we can say no to permanent conflict and the one-state nightmare.
While the threat of demolition continues to hang over Susya like a dark cloud, many Palestinians in other villages have been left homeless by new demolitions — their lives put in turmoil. We can’t lose sight of them, and of all of the real people who continue to suffer from the “Greater Israel” agenda.
With our work, we are standing up for them — and fighting for the better future that Israelis and Palestinians deserve.