Jewish families can return to a four-story Hebron apartment building — known as
Beit Hashalom — that the IDF forcibly evacuated in December 2008.
Thursday evening, Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorized the settlers’ purchase
of the building from its Palestinian owners for NIS 700,000 more than seven
In addition, he issued an order saying that Jews could live in
the structure located in an otherwise Palestinian neighborhood in a section of
the West Bank city under Israeli control.
On September 13, the Jerusalem
Magistrate’s Court ruled that Tal Investments and the Association for Renewing
the Jewish Community in Hebron had legally purchased the structure through
transactions that occurred in 2004 and 2005.
The court ordered the state
to return the property to the settlers, but said that Hebron’s Jewish families
needed Barak’s approval to move back into the building.
spokesman David Wilder said on Thursday, “We are very pleased that the Israeli
government has finally recognized the legitimacy of Jews purchasing property in
Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer attacked the
move, calling it “outrageous” and “totally absurd.”
“Just as Barak talks
about the need for a two-state solution, he is doing his best to destroy that
solution,” he said.
But Wilder said he hoped that this approval was just
the first of a number of awaited authorizations.
“We expect to see a
continuation of this recognition with other properties,” he said. He added that
he hoped the government would also approve Jewish habitation of two other
contested properties in Hebron, Beit Hamachpela and Beit Ezra.
families plan to wait until the completion of additional legal proceedings with
regard to Beit Hashalom before moving back in, Wilder said.
He said that
Palestinian had filed an appeal to the magistrate’s court in an effort to
prevent Jews from living in the structure.
Wilder said he believed that
the court would reject the appeal, particularly now that Barak had approved
their living in the building. “But just as in any judicial case, we have to wait
for the outcome,” he said.
The building also needs renovations to fix the
damage that occurred during the December 2008 evacuation,” Wilder said.