Hebron Mayor Khaled Osaily said he knows with certainty that the sale of a home near the Cave of the Patriarchs to several Jewish families was fraudulent and he can prove it easily he added, speaking with Army Radio Tuesday.
The IDF has ordered the Jewish families to evacuate the home by 3 p.m. Tuesday if they cannot prove they bought the home legally. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday night asked the Defense Ministry to delay the voluntary evacuation order to allow the 15 Jewish families that reside there the opportunity to make their legal case.
"Everything is forged [and] it is not the first time," Osaily said, claiming there is a criminal case open against one of the parties involved in the sale from previous, similar incidents.
"The person who sold [the house] to them is not the owner of the house. There was forgery and I am certain about what I am saying," the Hebron mayor added.
A Jewish presence in the home "will only bring problems," Osaily claimed, explaining that it is located in between two Palestinian schools.
Asked if he had visited the contested home recently, Osaily responded: "I am the only mayor in the world that cannot go to streets or areas in his city. I'm forbidden to go to Shuhada Street or the Cave of the Patriarchs," explaining that Palestinians have not been allowed access to the area since the Baruch Goldstein massacre in 1994.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz visited Beit Hamachpela Tuesday morning to support the families living there. The minister placed a mezuza and said he was convinced that Jews would live in the disputed apartment building.
"There is no unusual security situation here," said Katz. "If someone had come and challenged the legality of the acquisition of this property, then it would be necessary to deal with this claim. As soon as it is clear that the purchase was legitimate and that there were no rights violations committed, the Israeli government should support the settlers."
Life in the Palestinian-controlled areas of Hebron is good, Osaily told Army Radio, saying there are lots of projects and development. However, "There is a lot of tension because of the settlements and [the people] have no hope a political agreement can be reached" between Israel and the Palestinians.
Osaily said he believes Israelis and Palestinians can reach an agreement. It won't be a consensus - "lots of Palestinians and lots of Israelis will oppose it, but I believe we can reach an agreement."
Asked if Israelis would be allowed to live in the holy city should an agreement be reached, he answered, "If there is peace, then everything will be open."