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Army warns Hebron settlers to evacuate market willingly
Military Advocate General’s office says Jewish families residing in West Bank city’s market will be held financially responsible should IDF be instructed to forcefully evacuate them from the site

The Military Advocate General’s office on Monday warned Jewish families residing in Hebron’s old market that should the IDF be instructed to forcefully evacuate them from the site, they would be held financially responsible.

 

“The deadline for a voluntary evacuation (from the market) has passed, and the authorities in the area plan to work toward removing you from the property with the use of reasonable force,” the office said in a letter addressed to the families.

 

The council of the Jewish settlement in Hebron said, “The chutzpah and obstinacy have reached a new high. The IDF should be ashamed for arbitrarily annulling the agreement regarding the market and refrain from issuing threats aimed at preventing the settlers from exercising their legitimate right to protest.”

 

'Prevent a violent confrontation'

A few months ago two families settled in the West Bank city’s market without authorization. Israel Police and the IDF defined the act as “squatting” and ordered the families to clear the area. The families’ appeal was rejected, and the deadline for their voluntary evacuation expired last Friday.

 

The settlers claimed the market was built on Jewish land, adding that a year-and-a-half ago families that settled there willingly evacuated the site after reaching an agreement with the IDF and after the State told the High Court that it would take all the necessary legal measures to allow Jews to settle there.

 

However, the settler leaders claimed, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz reneged on the agreement in what was they called a “scandalous, one-sided and politically-motivated move”.

 

“Attorney Yaakov Neeman, who represents the settlers, informed the prime minister (Ehud Olmert) and the defense minister (Ehud Barak) that there was a legal way to return the Jews to the market,” said Noam Arnon, a member of the Jewish settlement’s council.

 

Several faction heads in the Knesset have also turned to Barak and asked that he work toward resolving the issue and preventing a violent confrontation with the settlers. 

 

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