State: Hebron building must be evacuated

The High Court of Justice said families ‘took the law’ into their own hands.

A YOUNG Jewish settler in Hebron looks out of a window in a disputed building. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN - REUTERS)
A YOUNG Jewish settler in Hebron looks out of a window in a disputed building.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN - REUTERS)
The 15 settler families who illegally moved into a three-story Hebron apartment building in July called Beit Hamachpela must be evacuated, the state told the High Court of Justice this week.
The state urged the court to dismiss a petition by the families to prevent their forced eviction from the building which they claim to have purchased from the Abu Rajab family over five years ago.
The families have argued that bureaucratic delays and the initial approvals they have already been given in the purchase process is enough to allow their continued presence in the building.
But on Wednesday, the state said the families were still bound by a 2013 agreement with the High Court that barred them from entering the building until the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria had completed the initial registration of the property in their name.
There are situations where buyers can enter a building before all the legal paperwork has been completed, but that does not hold in situations like this one where the purchase of the property is contested, the state said.
In other property disputes in Hebron, families moved into a given structure only after the initial registration process.
The state charged that the families were “taking the law” into their own hands and creating “facts on the ground.”
Should the families want to remain, the only legal option is to request a special exemption from the Civil Administration’s committee that handles such property registrations, the state said.
The purchase process with respect to the building, whose initial owner died in the 1980s, has been made complicated because the property was inherited by multiple heirs.
Among the issues in adjudicating the purchase claim is the authenticity of a number of powers of attorney.
The lawyer for the Abu Rajab family, Samer Shihadih, said he welcomes the state’s decision, adding that he believed that in the end, “justice would come to light.”
The NGO representing the Hebron families, Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent, said it was sorry that the state had chosen to continue to oppose the families’ residence in the building even though there were documents that attested to the legality of the purchase.
Any claim to the contrary is a lie, but nonetheless, Attorney- General Avichai Mandelblit and the State Attorney’s Office have based their response on this falsehood, the NGO said.
It added that it was strange that the state, which should stand at the head of a national movement to redeem the Land of Israel, had chosen to take such as an anti-Zionist stand.