(photo credit: Courtesy of the Jewish community of Hebron)
The High Court of Justice is due on Thursday to hear a petition submitted by Hebron settlers against an eviction order issued by the military government which was scheduled to be implemented on the same day.
The eviction order refers to a three-storey house near the Avraham Avinu complex in downtown Hebron which was occupied on April 6 by Yisrael and Tzipora Schlissel and eight of their children.
According to the petition, filed by Jerusalem attorneys Michael and Gilad Corinaldi, the Schlissels moved into the building with the permission of the alleged tenant, Tal Investments and Construction Ltd, which claimed it rented the property from its lawful owner, a Palestinian named Hani el-Batash.
El-Batash said he bought the building from its previous owner, Kamer el-Nazer. But El-Nazer filed a trespassing complaint with the Civil Administration against the Schlissels which sparked the eviction order.
According to the petitioners, the building had been empty, abandoned and in a state of neglect for many years. Tal Investments allegedly rented it from el-Batash on February 8, 2005 and gave permission to the Schlissels to live there. They said they spent a large sum of money to clean it up and make it habitable. In the meantime, two other families moved into the second and third floors, so that 22 settlers currently live in the building.
The petitioners charged that the Civil Administration had arrested el-Batash and tried to force him to declare that he had not bought the property from El-Nazer. They said that after a few days, el-Batash was released without further action against him.
They also charged that El-Nazer had filed the complaint because she was afraid she might be killed for selling a property that had ended up in Jewish hands.
The petitioners have asked the court for a show-cause order instructing the army to rescind the eviction order and to issue an interim injunction to prevent the police and army from carrying out the order as scheduled.
They said they had documents proving that the building had been sold to el-Batash and that he had rented it to Tal Investments. They also charged that the Civil Administration had examined the documents hastily and decided, without explaining why, that they were not in order. They also argued that the matter was a civil dispute which should be handled in a civilian court and not in accordance with military law.