(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Hebron’s Jewish community sealed four rooms on Tuesday which it evacuated this
week in the Beit Ezra building, in accordance with a High Court of Justice
dictate on the matter.
Two families had used the rooms, which once served
as Palestinian shops.
The court closed the case after it had accepted the
state’s decision that the families must leave.
The state also told the
court that, before the April 24 evacuation date, it would weigh whether the
Jewish community could make use of the four rooms but it has yet to make a
decision on the matter.
“We are fulfilling our side of the agreement and
we expect the other side to fulfill theirs,” said Hebron community spokesman
During Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s last government,
its ministerial settlements’ committee had already said that Hebron’s Jewish
community could use the rooms until such time as they were returned to the
A Hebron Jewish family initially owned the Beit
Ezra 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, when for security reasons the IDF closed the shops. Jews
then moved in to those to rooms.
A military appeals court in 2008 ruled
that it was preferable for the Jewish families to remain in four former
Palestinian market stalls than for the structures to stand empty. It said that
the families could stay there until such time as the IDF allowed the
Palestinians to return to their stalls.
In 2010, Peace Now, with the help
of attorney Michael Sfard, appealed the ruling.
On Tuesday Peace Now
called on the government not to allow Hebron’s Jews to use the
“This is a test case for the new government which must decide
whether its face is toward negotiation or diplomacy or toward the expansion of
an extremist Jewish settlement in the heart of Hebron.”
MK Orit Struck
(Bayit Yehudi), who lives in Hebron, accused the attorney general of subverting
democracy and justice by failing to adhere to past decisions by the military
appeals committee and the ministerial settlements, to allow the Hebron Jewish
community to use the rooms.
Hebron activist Baruch Marzel said the
evacuation of Beit Ezra was one more terrible act by Netanyahu, whose new
partners in crime are now Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and the Bayit Yehudi,
which is part of the coalition.