On Nakba Day, 15 May 2013, Palestinians marked the passing of sixty-five years since the massive forced expulsion of Palestinians from their national homeland. The Nakba commemorations demand reflection not only on the “catastrophe” of the loss of life, land, and property in 1948, but also on Israeli policies that are still dispossessing Palestinians of their land today, sixty-five years later.
In a new film (view below), Adalah captures the stories of two Palestinian villages, Al-Araqib and Susiya–one in Israel, one in the West Bank–that share a single story of struggle against forced displacement.
The film documents a journey between the two villages and two communities, whose very existence on their land is under threat today. It also demonstrates how, in the face of a single Israeli policy to forcibly displace Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line, the people are drawing on deep reserves of courage and steadfastness to remain on their land.
Following and accompanying the film, we present a position paper that outlines the major issues at stake and action needed.
From al-Araqib to Susiya: Forced Displacement of Palestinians on Both Sides of the Green Line
Al-Araqib and Susiya: two Palestinian villages, one in Israel, one in the West Bank, share a single story of a struggle against forced displacement. While the Israeli authorities have threatened these communities’ very existence on their land, the continued presence of the people demonstrates their deep reserves of courage and steadfastness. This paper sets out the methods of forced displacement used by Israel to expel Palestinian communities from their land on both sides of the Green Line, and examines the legal context in which it takes place. The paper accompanies a film entitled From Al-Araqib to Susiya, produced by Adalah, which documents a journey between these two Palestinian villages. By telling the villagers’ stories, the film captures the striking parallels between their experiences.
Forced displacement or eviction involves the “involuntary removal of persons from their homes or land, directly or indirectly attributable to the State.” States are not permitted to forcibly displace people from their homes or land, except in strictlydefined and exceptional circumstances, and always with utmost respect for their fundamental rights. In Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), clear domestic and international legal frameworks theoretically protect Palestinians from forced displacement. However, in reality, Israel suspends these rights in both contexts in order to maintain its control over the maximum area of land, containing the minimum number of Palestinians. Where the law should operate to safeguard their rights, Israel has instead constructed complex and overlapping legal frameworks that enable the state to aggressively pursue its policy of forced displacement against Palestinians in both Israel and the OPT through ‘legal’ means, whether they are its own citizens or ‘protected persons’ under international humanitarian law.
Al-Araqib is a Palestinian Bedouin village in Israel whose residents are Israeli citizens. As of May 2013, Israel has destroyed the village 50 times to make way for two Jewish National Fund (JNF) forests. Susiya is a Palestinian village in Area ‘C’ of the West Bank whose residents live under Israeli Occupation. The majority of structures in Susiya are subject to demolition orders and Israel intends to forcibly displace the community to make the land available for a Jewish settlement. These stories clearly show that Palestinians are deliberate targets of forced displacement, regardless of the geo-political and legal context in which they exist. In drawing attention to these similarities, it is hoped that this project will point towards a just solution.
[Click here to download the full report.]