Atty.: Hebron house settlers can't be evicted

Settlers say evicting occupants living in Hebron marketplace building violates a restraining order.

hebron house 224.88 (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
hebron house 224.88
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
The state cannot lawfully evict settlers occupying a disputed building on the road from Kiryat Arba to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron because it would violate a temporary restraining order and a law giving authorities only 30 days to evacuate trespassers without a court order, an attorney maintained over the weekend. Attorney Nadav Ha'etzni represents Tal Construction and Development Karnei Shomron and the Association for Renewal of the Jewish Community in Hebron, who claim they purchased the building from its Palestinian owner. One of the Palestinians who also claims to own the building petitioned the High Court to help evict the settlers after they moved into the four-story building on March 29. On November 27, Capt. Ronit Levin, an attorney in the IDF's Judea and Samaria legal department informed Ha'etzni and his clients that the civil administration would evict the settlers as of November 29. It gave them two days to petition the High Court against the decision. However, Ha'etzni replied that it was not necessary to seek redress from the High Court because the authorities would be breaking the law if they evicted the settlers. Ha'etzni told Levin in a letter that a military appeals court in Judea and Samaria was hearing the settlers' claims parallel to the legal procedure pending in the High Court of Justice. He said that on May 28, the appeals court had issued a temporary restraining order barring the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria from evicting the settlers until the court handed down a different decision on the matter. The civil administration's decision to evict the settlers was linked to the procedure in the High Court. Recently, the state informed the court that in the wake of a police investigation of the ownership dispute between the settlers and the Palestinians, it had concluded that the settlers could be evicted under a military order allowing authorities to evict a trespasser without a court order if the owner of the property filed a complaint within 30 days. Ha'etzni maintained that although the Palestinian had filed his petition on the 29th day after the property seizure, thus freezing the 30-day countdown, he had withdrawn it in order to file a complaint, which was not filed until the 31st day after the settlers moved in. The question now is whether the authorities will go ahead with the eviction without taking Ha'etzni's arguments into account, or will try to resolve these issues before taking action.