IDF soldier stands guard near Beit Hamachpela_370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
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
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.
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.
Yehuda] Weinstein is willing to force [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman to
quit, but is not willing to go against extremists in Hebron,” Peace Now
It added that the decision set a dangerous precedent.
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
After the Six Day War it was passed to the Israeli
Custodian, who rented it to the Palestinian shopkeepers until 2001.