Hebron: Activists arrested over house occupation

Left activists, Palestinians, occupy Hebron house in response to right activists' occupation last week; IDF makes 30 arrests.

Settlers enter building in Hebron 370 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Settlers enter building in Hebron 370
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The IDF arrested approximately 30 Palestinians and left-wing activists on Sunday for illegally occupying a residence in Hebron. No injuries were reported in the course of the arrests.

The activists occupied a house near Beit Romano, Hebron, in response to a group of right-wing activists who entered illegally into a different residence that Palestinians claim belongs to them, in the general area of the Cave of the Patriarchs.The Palestinians arrested Sunday claimed that they had rented the building from the municipality and that they had the right to occupy it.The two residences are not physically located in the same building.Previously, the IDF charged that the 15 settler families who moved into the second vacant Palestinian apartment building last Thursday could create a security risk.The three-story stone structure is located by a small park near the Cave of the Patriarchs, in a Palestinian neighborhood under Israeli control.Shlomo Levinger, who moved there with his seven children, said that a number of Hebron Jews had bought the building from its Palestinian owner months ago.A spokeswoman for Judea and Samaria police said they were checking the authenticity of the purchase. She said that Palestinians continue to claim ownership of the structure, which they say is in the process of being divided between heirs of the original owner.According to MK Uri Ariel (National Union), the Palestinian police had arrested the Palestinian property owner who sold the building to the Jewish families, an act which is illegal under the PA and punishable by death.The Palestinian police did not confirm the arrest.Israeli security sources lashed out at the families for “irresponsibly” making such a move amid the tense atmosphere surrounding the Global March to Jerusalem and other planned marches.In light of this, a security source said, moving into the apartment building was “an unnecessary provocation and untimely, from a reasonable point of view.”“It could have a negative effect on the security situation, due to the way it was carried out,” the source added.Settlers did not consult with security forces before moving in to the building, the source said.The IDF and border police have blocked off the area around the structure. According to the police spokeswoman, the families who moved in can enter and leave the building, but may not have visitors.Neither the security source nor the spokeswoman commented on whether residents would be forcibly removed.“We have frozen the situation,” the source said.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report