Hebron settlers await evecuation deadline

Court gives security forces until Monday to evict three Jewish families from rented Arab homes.

hebron avrahamavinu29888 (photo credit: Courtesy of the Jewish community of Hebron)
hebron avrahamavinu29888
(photo credit: Courtesy of the Jewish community of Hebron)
Security forces have until Monday to evacuate three Jewish families from homes in Hebron, but will likely do so be Sunday. A member of one of the three families slated to be evacuated said Friday that since the High Court's Thursday ruling had given the police and the army a deadline of 11 a.m. Friday to complete the evacuation, the order was now null and void. She said that the settlers would resist the police operation, calling the decision "a farce." Supreme Court President Aharon Barak ordered the army to lock the building and seal off the approaches to it and prevent anyone from entering it, and urged the three families to leave the building peacefully. David Wilder, a spokesman for the Hebron Jewish community, said on Thursday that residents had yet to discuss their options in response to the court order. The families claim that the former owner of the building sold it to a Palestinian, Hani el-Batash, who then rented it to Tal Investments and Construction Ltd. for three years. The company said it subsequently sublet the building to Yisrael and Tzipora Schlissel and two other families, including six adults and 16 children. The original owner denied agreeing to sell the house, while the police maintain that two of the documents allegedly involved in the sale were forged. Sitting on a cot in the upstairs room of the large three-story building, Tzipora Schlissel said she was praying for a miracle. Their presence in the building was legal and the community had documents to prove it, she said. She accused the police and the courts of abusing the law because it preferred to uphold the rights of Arabs over Jews. As an Israeli citizen she had the right to rent an apartment and live in it, she said. There was no glass in the windows and large cracks ran down the plaster walls of what has served as her new home, which had been sitting empty for a number of years before it was acquired by Hebron's Jewish community. The cavernous rooms were sparsely furnished with cots and cabinets and electric wires stretched in the open across the walls. "It needs major renovations," said Schlissel, but in her eyes it was already beautiful. Her face lit up as she pointed out the historical and religious views from her window. Covered by grassy earth on the other side of the street was a pool built by King David, she said. Moving to the roof, she pointed to the Machpela Cave that juts out of an apartment-tiered hilltop. There was also a security element to having Jews living in the closed-down Arab stores that linked their homes to the Machpela Cave, she said.