Settlers and Peace Now on Monday attacked the state’s decision to evict two Jewish families living in four rooms in Hebron’s Beit Ezra building by April 24, but to allow the city’s Jewish community to use the space for public purposes.

The eviction date bypasses the election period and ensures that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not have to forcibly evict Hebron settlers while campaigning for reelection.

The state declared its eviction plan in a document it submitted to the High Court of Justice on Monday in response to a 2010 petition against the families filed on behalf of Palestinians who had used the rooms as shops until 2001.

At that time, the IDF forced the Palestinians to leave for security reasons. The two Jewish families who moved in afterwards did not have permits.

Prior to the High Court case, a military appeals court had stated that the families could remain in the building until such time as the IDF allowed the Palestinians to return to the shops, rather than have the property sit empty.

But the state told the court it would force the families to leave, and would give them 30-days notice before the eviction.

It did, however, agree that Hebron’s Jewish community could use the property for a public purpose.

But Hebron’s Jewish community, which had hoped the state would allow the families to remain, attacked the decision.

It blamed left-wing members of the prosecutor’s office for the state’s failure to uphold the military appeals court’s “logical” and “just” conclusions.

Once again, it said, the state had supported Peace Now’s drive to evict Jewish families from Hebron homes.

It was also skeptical about the state’s intention to allow the property to remain in the community’s hands, noting that the state had reneged on a similar deal with regard to Hebron market stalls made in 2006.

Peace Now, however, was upset by the state’s decision to keep the property in Jewish hands. It charged the state had fallen prey to the settlers lobby.

“[Attorney-General Yehuda] Weinstein is willing to force [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman to quit, but is not willing to go against extremists in Hebron,” Peace Now said.

It added that the decision set a dangerous precedent.

A Hebron Jewish family initially owned the building, which abuts the Avraham Avinu apartment complex, but was forced to leave in 1947. The Jordanian Custodian of Abandoned Properties controlled the property after the 1948 War of Independence.

After the Six Day War it was passed to the Israeli Custodian, who rented it to the Palestinian shopkeepers until 2001.

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