SIR – If the reader took Charles Hayes’ claim that nearly 7,000 Palestinian’s ‘face evictions from their homes (in) the West Bank’ as it is presented in your letters page (June 4th) at face value, a sense of moral outrage would be a natural reaction. This is especially so when Mr Hayes depicts these unfortunate people as having ‘no means of defending their homes’ and that ‘all that stands between them and eviction may now be the concern of decent governments and people throughout the world’.
This emotive plea is incorrect; for more than 30 years the village of Sussiya in the South Hebron Hills, which was built without any official construction permits on land whose ownership is disputed, has been represented by a succession of concerned Israeli individuals and organisations in a series of High Court actions. These have successfully foiled every attempt to demolish the village, in 2014 Rabbis for Human Rights submitted a Building and zoning plan for the village, which although rejected, was immediately appealed by RfHR forestalling once again the threatened demolition (Jerusalem Post, May 5th, 2015).
In his April 9th ruling on the proposed demolition of Sussiya, High Court Justice Elyakim Rubenstein evoked the conflicted feelings of the Israeli judicial system when dealing with such sensitive human concerns by telling the court ‘we are not going to turn the wheel back to the past, which would is impractical. We are, however, seeking ways to improve the suggestions of the respondent (the state), to make the process more meaningful for the Palestinian residents’ (The Times of Israel, April 12th, 2015).
The point here is not to defend the eviction and demolition requests of the Israeli government, it is to reinforce that for more than three decades, the village of Sussiya and indeed many other disputed hamlets have been determinedly defended by Israeli organisations which have time and time again defeated government efforts to relocate the villagers to other areas. Therefore, to suggest, as Mr Hayes does, that it is only external actors who are concerned by the tragic plight of Sussiya is not only disingenuous, but is a gross distortion of the judicial system of the Middle East’s only liberal democracy which can and does consistently resist the desires of its elected representatives.
Dr Kevin McCarthy,
Sean Hales Terrace,