By Emel Oz Gozellik
Seventy-six U.S. congressmen from the Democratic Party sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday urging his government not to demolish the West Bank town of Susya, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
According to Haaretz, the lawmakers said the expansion of Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank -- and the concomitant expulsion of Palestinians -- was a violation of common values and human rights.
“These actions unilaterally change facts on the ground and jeopardize the prospects for a two-state solution,” they said, going on to ask Netanyahu to reevaluate plans to raze the village in order to make way for settlements.
The letter was welcomed by J Street, a U.S.-based non-profit Jewish group that ostensibly advocates for a peaceful resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict.
In a statement, J Street described the letter as “the most significant criticism of [Israeli] settlement expansion ever by
Last September, Israeli rights watchdog B’Tselem warned the government against demolishing homes in the West Bank villages of Khan al-Ahmar and Susya, saying such actions would amount to a “war crime”.
The Israeli authorities frequently demolish Palestinian and Bedouin homes and structures -- both in Israel and the occupied West Bank -- on the pretext that they were built without official permission.