The Israeli Left and the Myth of ‘Palestinian’ Susiya – an update

This is an update of an item I wrote a few months back .

“An Imaginary Village invented by Real Bigots.”

Susiya, is thought by some to correspond to the Biblical Carmel (Josh 15.5), a proposal made by Avraham Negev. Others argue that, in the wake of the Second Revolt (AD 132-5), when the Romans garrisoned Khirbet el-Karmil, identified as the biblical Carmel, religious Jews uncomfortable with pagan symbols moved 2 km south-west to the present Susiya, which they perhaps already farmed, and that, while they still regarded their new community as Carmel, the name was lost when the village’s fortunes declined in the early Arab period, perhaps because the new Muslim overlords would not have tolerated its economy, which was based on wine.

That clearly shows Jews were in residence in the area pre-Arab times as do the archaeological sites.

The Israeli left joins the PA in propagating the myth of a decades-old Palestinian town, Jewish activists say…

By Maayana Miskin

A legal battle over a historic site in the Hevron Hills continues, with Israeli far-left groups joining the Palestinian Authority in accusing Israel of “forced displacement” of Arab villagers in Susiya. They have won support from several international left-wing groups and media outlets as well.

The problem: the “Palestinian village” that Israel is supposedly uprooting never existed.

Tzviki Bar-Hai, the head of the Har Hevron regional council, explained the issue in an interview with Arutz Sheva. Bar-Hai has seen the development of the archaeological site at Susiya – which is home to the remains of an ancient Jewish village – from day one.

Not only did “Palestinian Susiya” not exist in the 1800s, as has been claimed by the far-left group B’Tselem, but it did not even exist in the 1980s, he reported.

“I was there in 1976, and aside from the synagogue that was built here in 1969, there wasn’t a living soul,” he recalled. “We were able to restart the archaeological digs in 1983, and then, too, there were no Palestinians around.”

In 1986, Arab farmers began to visit the area, he said, but they came only at certain times of year, and never stayed for longer than one or two nights.

Those who now claim to be residents of Susiya are actually from the nearby Arab town of Yatta, he said.

“In recent years a few Arab families from Yatta are trying to settle near ancient Susiya and to argue that they were expelled from the village of Susiya – which never existed”.

“They are all from Yatta. They are supported by leftist activists, who come on weekends to help create the narrative of expulsion.”

There are modern-day Arab towns in the area built over ancient Jewish towns, he noted. One example is Samoa, which was built on the ruins of ancient Eshtamoa.

“But here in Susiya, in both ancient and modern times there was not a single Palestinian. The claims to the contrary are simply lies.”

Susiya Arab camp

Bar-Hai expressed hope that the Supreme Court will rule to expel those squatting at the historic site.

Bar-Hai’s report is supported by testimony from other activists, who note that aerial photographs of Susiya show that the land was previously unsettled.

Israelis living in the Hevron region have accused leftist visitors to Susiya of deliberately sabotaging Jewish settlement in the area.

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  1. I may be naive and considered illiberal by others, but I do believe that no society should tolerate those who lie to create an atmosphere where they achieve goals they cannot attain through democratic political processes. Neither a state, nor a group, nor an individual should have to tolerate a malicious lie by people who claim they can say anything in exercising their freedom of speech; in doing that they libel others and deny them the very same freedom they claim for themselves. There is such a thing as truth and with modern communication it is easy to verify or disprove. Further, Israel is still in a state of war and making propaganda against it is aiding the enemy. The people lying should be fined, jailed and deprived of civil rights like the right to vote, travel or talk to the press for several years.