Court validates Jewish purchase of Beit Hamachpela
ByTovah Lazaroff
02 July 2013 09:11
Defense Minister Ya'alon still must give approval for families to move into building across from Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron.
IDF soldier stands guard near Beit Hamachpela

IDF soldier stands guard near Beit Hamachpela_370. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

A military appeals panel on Monday legally validated the Hebron Jewish community’s purchase in 2012 of a three-story building across from the Cave of the Patriarchs, known as Beit Hamachpela.

But families could only move into the building if Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon authorizes the purchase and gives them permission to do so.



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Coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud) immediately called on Ya’alon to allow Jews to move into the home.

“They bought this house justly in the city of our forefathers,” Levin said at the Likud faction meeting in the Knesset on Monday. “We will continue to contribute to Jewish settlement in Hebron.”

On April 4, 2012, on the eve of Passover, the IDF forcibly evicted settlers from the three-story structure. A week earlier, about 15 families moved into the home, and then presented the IDF and politicians with documents showing they had purchased the property in a deal that took three years to complete.

The PA has since jailed and sentenced to death the Palestinian who sold them the property, according to Hebron resident MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi).

At the time, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria had said that on the surface, the documents looked authentic, but the issue was more the absence of a purchase permit.

Security sources had also said they were concerned about the building’s location in an otherwise Palestinian neighborhood in a section of the city under Israeli military control.

Palestinians also live in a small section of the building, which was not purchased by the settlers.

It abuts a Palestinian school and borders the area of the city under the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction.

The portion of the building purchased by settlers has been boarded up for more than a year, but an Israeli flag has continued to fly there. In a recent visit to the city, The Jerusalem Post noted a Palestinian flag flying from a nearby building.

Struck said the military judicial panel’s decision was a “serious indictment against those who decided to evacuate the home.” The building’s evacuation, she said, was unprofessional, unfair, and had no basis in fact.

“It is very sad that someone decided to throw Jews out of the homes because they were Jews,” she said. “Then they wrapped it in legal cellophane claiming that they acted for judicial reasons.”

Struck said she was hopeful Ya’alon would authorize the building’s habitation by Jews.

Prior to the evacuation, she said, Ya’alon visited the building and said that the families should be allowed to remain there.

Monday’s decision marks the second time in the past few years a military court has authenticated the Jewish purchase of Palestinian property in Hebron.

In 2012, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court validated the purchase of a three-story structure on the outskirts of the city, known as Beit Hashalom. Following the verdict, former defense minister Ehud Barak approved the sale and its habitation by Jews. But the building remains empty pending an appeal by the initial Palestinian owners.
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