Palestinians to court: Remove settlers from Hebron home

Fifteen settler families have been squatting in the home for weeks after a Palestinian family was kicked out.

The home in Hebron currently illegally occupied by 15 settler families (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The home in Hebron currently illegally occupied by 15 settler families
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The Abu Rajab family petitioned the High Court of Justice this week to force the state to remove 15 settler families from a three-story building in Hebron.
The state and the IDF have until Wednesday to respond.
The Hebron Jewish families illegally moved into the structure, known as Beit Hamachpela, on July 24, five years after they first made a purchase claim to the property, which is registered to the Rajab family.
The Jewish families have asked the state to allow them to remain until the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria registers the property in their name.
Members of the Rajab family have contested the sale.
Their attorney, Samer Shadadeh, argued in the petition that the IDF’s failure to immediately remove the families breached a legal agreement, which forbade the settlers from using or living in the structure until the Civil Administration authenticated the sale and all legal and bureaucratic procedures were concluded.
The settlers should be legally viewed as squatters who have broken into the property, Shadadeh argued.
The Rajab family has a right to expect that the IDF would treat them as such, and immediately help the Rajab family by removing them from the building, he said.
The lawyer for the Hebron families, Doron Nir Zvi, said it was already clear that the sale would be authenticated and therefore there was no reason to deny the families access to the site.
The Defense Ministry has given them the right to purchase the property. The military arbitration court has ordered the Civil Administration to fully review the application by the settlers to register the property in their name.
“There is no reason to delay here,” he said.
After the families moved in, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the IDF not to immediately remove them.
Since then there have been ongoing discussion between his office, the Defense Ministry, the Civil Administration and the Attorney-General’s Office to explore the family’s legal right to inhabit the property.
The families have received support from a number of prominent Likud members, including coalition chairman David Bitan, who has made two trips to the City of the Forefathers since they moved in.
Authenticating the sale has been complicated in part because the building was inherited by a number of heirs from the Rajab family.
Among the issues in question is whether the sale was done through a family member with rights to the property.
The structure is located across the parking lot from the Cave of the Patriarchs and next to two schools, in an otherwise Palestinian neighborhood.
It is a section of the city that is under Israeli military and civilian control.