US Democrats urge Netanyahu to halt demolition of Palestinian villages

A group of 74 US Congressmen, all Democrats, have called on Israel to stop the demolition of two Bedouin villages, which the Supreme Court and the State of Israel have ruled are illegal. 

By: World Israel News Staff

Seventy-four Democratic lawmakers this week urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the planned demolition of two Palestinian villages.

Orchestrated by representatives Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the letter calls on the premier to nix an order to demolish the Palestinian villages of Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar in Judea and Samaria.

The letter sent to Netanyahu Monday said that the “destruction and displacement of such communities would run counter to shared US and Israeli values, while further undermining long-term Israeli security, Palestinian dignity and the prospects for peacefully achieving two states for two people.”

The initiative is part of a wider trend of Republican-Democrat polarization on issues related to Israel, with Republicans increasing more supportive of policies advanced by the present Israeli government and Democrats increasingly critical.

Democrats and Israeli democratic process

The letter, which laments construction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as an obstacle to a Palestinian state, does not mention the Supreme Court’s involvement in the case.

In February, the court, which has also issued rulings to destroy Jewish communities built illegally in Judea and Samaria, lifted an injunction protecting a small number of structures in Susiya.

The court ruling allows the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria to take down the structures without any further notice to the residents.

The Civil Administration wants to relocate the village close to the Palestinian city of Yatta and away from its current site near the archaeological park and the Jewish settlement of Susiya.

Right-wing politicians have argued that the Palestinian Susiya residents already have homes in Yatta and that their quest for legalization is part of a land grab by the Palestinian Authority to increase its holding in Area C of Judea and Samaria.

Meanwhile, the State of Israel, during a Supreme Court session on the fate of Khan al-Ahmar, which is located between Jerusalem and Jericho adjacent to the Jewish community of Kfar Adumim, announced its intention to move the Bedouin community to Abu Dis, a town under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.

In reaching its decision, the state found that the Bedouin village was built illegally and that it is located too close to Route 1. Since the village houses a school, this presents a danger to the school children.