Monthly Archives: August 2005

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Action Alert : Transportation of school children from Susia to Tweni

On the Hebron Mountain in the most southern part of the West Bank there are a number of small Palestinian villages, where a unique way of life is led in permanent cave homes. Because they are small and remote, these villages are under constant pressure from the occupying government and the new Israeli settlements in the area. The aim of this pressure is to destroy the special way of life of the cave dwellers, and to force them to move to close by Palestinian towns, in order to annex the territory to the Israeli State. The fate of the cave inhabitants of Susia is an extreme example of the fate of the cave villages in the whole area.

Twenty years ago the cave dwellers of Susia were evacuated from their original village on the pretext of archeological digs in the area. Some of the evacuees went to live on their lands close to the Israeli settlement, which was founded a short time before. Five years ago the Israeli army destroyed the caves of these families, and since then they continued to live there in impermanent and improvised housing. During this time, because of constant harassment by the nearby Israeli settlers, the cooperation between volunteers from Israel and abroad, and between the Palestinians, has strengthened.

One of the important results of this cooperation is arranging transport for the children of Susia to the nearby school in the village of Tweni. Up until last year, the occupying authorities did not permit the transport of children from Susia to the school in Tweni, ten minutes’ drive, and the parents were forced to send their children to school in Yata (the main town of the region). Because of the barriers and the long road, which is in a bad condition, the children had to stay in Yata all week, and return to their parents for only one day at the weekend.

As a result of efforts made by Israeli organizations, during the last year the occupying authorities allowed the inhabitants of Susia to send their children to school in Tweni. This enabled the children to return home every day, and caused a significant improvement in their self confidence, and a clear rise in their learning achievements.

The inhabitants of Susia are very poor. Their existence as shepherds and farmers was greatly cut down after a large part of their land was taken over by Israeli settlers, and they don’t have the means to finance the transport of their children to Tweni.

The Palestinian authorities who are now on the verge of financial bankruptcy abstain from giving help to this cause. The only way left to allow the children to get to school in the coming school year, is by raising donations from Israel and abroad.

The minimum amount needed in order to finance the transportation for the whole of the next school year is $5,000. About third of this sum is needed to pay for fuel and the upkeep of the vehicle for transporting the children. The remainder is to cover the salary of the driver.

The situation is serious. If the sum of money is not raised, it means that the families of the children may decide to move to Yata and the area where they now live will be annexed by the occupying Israeli government, which is doing everything to make this happen.

We are asking for your generous help in our name and in the name of the
Palestinian inhabitants of Susia.