SHLOMO LEVINGER speaks to a small group of protesters in Hebron..
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Settlers called for an end to discriminatory land purchase practices in Judea and Samaria, particularly in Hebron, as they rallied Sunday evening next to two structures they bought but are barred from entering in that West Bank city.
“Jews can buy homes anywhere in the world, in France, in Turkey and even in Iran,” said Shlomo Levinger a spokesman for some 20 Jewish families who want to move into the buildings. “Just in Judea and Samaria there is a racist edict that prevents Jews from purchasing a home,” he said.
“We are demanding an end to this discriminatory practice,” he added.
The tall thin man with a short beard spoke into a microphone as he stood in front of the structures surrounded by soldiers and border police, as well as dozens of settlers, including mothers with small children.
The men held a small evening prayer service, while Palestinians in the nearby homes looked out their windows at the commotion below.
In a surprise move on January 21, the families moved into the structures located just a short block away from the Cave of the Patriarchs in an area of the city under Israeli military and civilian control.
Security forces forcibly removed the families from the next day because they lacked the proper permits, even though they offered authorities documents to show proof of purchase.
The families had expected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce that they could move into the homes on Sunday but instead were told the Civil Administration would be in touch with them on Monday.
An aide to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told The Jerusalem Post
on Saturday that authentication of documents in this situation is often a lengthy process, but Levinger said the situation was very simple.
“We say we purchased the homes. The Palestinian landowner agrees. And, yet, here we are, standing outside the homes,” he said.
When darkness fell, they showed a video on the wall of a Palestinian home about the purchase of Jewish property in Hebron, stating that the first such sale occurred in the Bible when Abraham bought the Cave of the Patriarchs.
Levinger encouraged people to donate funds toward the purchase of additional property, and said he hoped the next time a house was bought there wouldn’t be draconian laws in place to prevent them from moving in.
Settlers plan to maintain a small protest outside the homes for the next few days in the hope an approval will be forthcoming.