State orders evacuation of Hebron home

Settlers vow to petition High Court to overturn order for them to leave disputed building.

Hebron home 224.88 (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Hebron home 224.88
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
The Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria on Tuesday instructed the army and police to evict by the weekend a group of settlers occupying a building located on "Worshipers' Way," the road linking Kiryat Arba and the Cave of the Patriarchs. Attorney Nadav Ha'etzni - who represents the Association for the Renewal of the Old Jewish Community in Hebron and Tal Construction and Investments, which claims to have purchased the building - told The Jerusalem Post he would petition the High Court of Justice within 48 hours to overturn the eviction order. He also said that a military appeals committee, which was hearing an appeal by Ha'etzni's clients against a different government order to evict the settlers from the building, had already issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the authorities from evicting the occupants for the time being. The settlers first took over the empty building on March 29. They claimed that Tal Construction and Investments had purchased it from its Palestinian owners for NIS 700,000 and had allowed the settlers to move in. A Palestinian, Ayub Jaber, claimed that he owned the building and had not sold it to the Jewish company. While the settlers' appeal against the original evacuation order was being heard, another Palestinian who claimed to own the building, Faiz Regbi, filed a petition to the High Court against the defense minister and the army, demanding that they help evacuate the settlers from the building. In its response to the petition, the state asked the court for time to investigate the contradictory claims of the settlers and the Palestinians. On November 16, it submitted a reply to the High Court in which it announced that the March takeover by the settlers was, indeed, a "fresh occupation," which meant that the authorities could evacuate them without having to obtain a court order or go through the appeals court procedure. On Tuesday, it informed the settlers that it intended to carry out the order over the weekend. Meanwhile, Hebron activist Orit Struck sharply criticized the state's reply to the court that the settler takeover constituted a "fresh occupation." Struck charged that the government had not given any reasons to back up its conclusion and had not mentioned finding that the alleged Jewish purchasers had forged documents in order to claim ownership.