Expanding the settlement of Susya

Expanding the settlement of Susya



Situated south of the Palestinian  village of Yatta and east  of Es Samu', the colony of Susya is one of several colonies lying in the southern  edge of the West Bank. These colonies form a belt that impedes the natural growth  of Palestinian villages.

Moreover, the belt works on dragging  the Green-Line (The Pre-1967  Border Line) inwards into the West Bank; thus, unilaterally delineating the borders  of the prospective Palestinian entity when talks on the final status are just  starting. (Figure 1) 

Figure 1: Location Map  of Susya Colony showing the  belt  of colonies


Susya was founded in September  1983, on 1800 dunums of land  confiscated from the village of Yatta. It is designated as a religious colony,  and in 1992 it housed 72 families. It has an archeological site, and is considered  a tourist destination. Its built-up area was 340 dunums, but on the 18th of September1999, its colonists expanded its boundaries northwards and eastwards.  First, they began by moving the electricity poles outside the colony's former  fence, then two days later they installed 10 caravans on 4 dunums of land belonging  to the Shreiteh family. This family has lost approximately 150 dunums to the  colony (Figure 2).).

 Figure 2: The newly installed  caravans


Since the beginning of 1999, 21  housing units have been constructed  bringing the total number of units to over 60. Two months ago,  15 dunums  belonging  to the Mur family were confiscated for Israeli agricultural use. Recently, two  new housing units and three greenhouses have been added (Figure 3, Figure  4)., ).  




Yet this is not all, a base-coarse  road (more than a kilometer  in length) was opened to serve a one-settler colony at a hill top northeast  of Susya (Figure 5).

Figure 5: The lone colonist  at the hill top


 The fact that the Israeli authorities  constructed a road for  one colonist, indicates that further expansion of the colony is underway, or maybe  even a new colony is envisaged. The new spot falls conveniently on the belt  encircling Yatta and Es Samu' villages. Furthermore, this outpost lies farther  northeast than the current greenhouses are located, and hence, it is feared that  the area in between the two will be expropriated as a fait-accompli (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Distribution of  the  expansions

Finally, the seventh point in article  XXXI of The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (alternatively known as Oslo  II) states that 'Neither side  shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and  the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations'. All  the subsequent agreements, including Sharm El-Sheikh, have reiterated this pledge.  However the Israeli government continues to create facts on the ground; shaping  the map of the West Bank to its convenience.



Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Settlement Expansion