Hebron settlers adhere to court, leave Beit Ezra

In accordance with High Court of Justice dictate, Hebron's Jewish community seal four rooms in Beit Ezra building.

Hebron clashes (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Hebron clashes
(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 David Wilder.
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 Palestinian shopkeepers.
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 property.
“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.