The Civil Administration
has placed an ultimatum before settlers who moved into the Machpelah house
in Hebron, and ordered them to leave the premises by 3 pm on Tuesday. The eviction order sites that their stay violates public order.
The settlers denied the claims and said that the Civil Administration has not even examined the legality of the sale of the building. The area has been declared a restricted military zone.
The affair began last week after dozens of settlers moved into the house
adjacent to the tomb of the Patriarchs which they claim they purchased.
Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein (Likud) called on the defense minister to cancel the eviction order.
Visiting the house on Saturday night, he insisted that the purchase of the building was legal. "Issuing an order under the pretense of procedure is unacceptable. The order must be voided immediately and we must wait for the government's decision on the matter," he said.
Rightist MKs called on the prime minister to overturn the "outrageous eviction order." The MKs claim that the fact that public order violations are the only reason the administration found in order to evict the settlers from the building proves that the purchase is legitimate.
On Sunday security forces detained two out of some 30 protesters who barricaded themselves inside an abandoned house near the Shavei Hebron yeshiva in Hebron.
The group, which included some 30 Palestinians and left wing activists, marched toward the Romano house, where the yeshiva is located, in protest of several dozen settlers who barricaded themselves in a Hebron house last week, claiming they purchased it from its Palestinian owner.
"We broke into the house to expose the double standard of the Israeli legal system," said Issa Amar, one of the Palestinian activists who was arrested.
"On Thursday settlers took over a house in Hebron, but no one cleared them out. We weren’t armed – we entered the house legally," Amar noted, adding that the house used to be an IDF post, but is now standing empty.
Earlier on Sunday, the residents of the Machpelah House presented the Civil Administration with the deed of the house, which has to be approved by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Security officials told Ynet the eviction order was issued due to security concerns, claiming the settlers' presence in the house poses a threat to stability in the area. The sources said that even if the house had been purchased legally, the contract still requires the authorization of the defense minister.
One official said the security establishment estimates that clashes will break out should the settlers refuse to leave the premises voluntarily.
"The possibility of clashes between the settlers and soldiers has been taken into account," he said. "We estimate that the eviction will not be peaceful. Therefore, we want to exhaust all the other options before evacuating the settlers by force."
The official said Israelis who wish purchase property from Palestinians must obtain authorization from the Civil Administration, and in some cases from the defense minister. "Even if the purchase was legal, the settlers are not permitted to reside in the house because they were not authorized to do so by the Civil Administration," he said.