Police to 3 Hebron families: Leave newly bought building

Settlers claim residency in building is legal, refuse to leave until served official eviction notice.

hebron 88 (photo credit: )
hebron 88
(photo credit: )
Hebron settlers plan to seek a temporary court injunction to stop police from evicting 25 people living in a newly purchased building adjacent to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, the city's Jewish community spokesman David Wilder told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. Police on Thursday ordered the 25 settlers living in the building, who comprise three families, to leave immediately. The police, however, did not formally hand the residents of the building an eviction order. The building's residents cannot be evicted until such an order is received. Wilder said the families who moved into the building at the start of the month had a right to remain. The building was legally purchased and documents proving the sale authenticity had been given to the police, he said. Wilder said he hoped the police would retract its order to leave the building. "If not, we will go to court," he said. The Hebron Jewish community has an attorney working with them on the matter, Wilder added. Police said that upon inspection they found that the purchase documents were not authentic. "They (the families) have no right to be there," a police spokesman said. Wilder insisted that the building had been purchased for a significant sum of money and that the case could be proven in court. "It's all legal," he added. "It almost seems as if there is an intentional attempt to deprive Jews [of the right to live] in Hebron," he said. The state, he said, had tried over the last few years to keep Jews from living in Hebron. The Jewish community weathered similar problems last year when it constructed the Beit Menahem building on land it purchased on a hilltop in Tel Rumeida, said Wilder. It was less successful in January when the state evicted Hebron Jews living in what had been eight empty market stalls by the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. The families had moved there in 2001 after a Palestinian sniper killed 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass not far from market. The market area had been purchased by Jews 200 years ago. It was taken over by Palestinian shopkeepers when Jews left the city following the 1929 riots, in which Arabs killed 67 Jews. The market was cleared of its Palestinian merchants in 1994 following riots in the city when Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Muslim worshipers in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs. Wilder said that while the courts failed to uphold the community's claim to the marketplace, he believed it would recognize the legitimacy of its right to the building next to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood because the claim was easier to prove. The two properties are very different, he said. Jews first moved into the Avraham Avinu neighborhood in 1540. They left after the 1929 riots and returned again to Hebron in 1979.