The settlers who were evicted from the Machpelah house
in Hebron pitched a tent near the property on Thursday and expressed intention to remain there until they are permitted to reenter the home.
"Defense Minister (Ehud Barak)
promised us that the investigation will end within a month, and we intend to sit here until he fulfills that promise," one of the settlers said. The group intends to hold a Passover
seder and other activities at the tent in order to step up pressure on Barak.
The Machpelah house became a site of contention after dozens of settlers entered the home last week, claiming they bought it from a Palestinian man. The Palestinians, on their part, claim that no such deal took place. The defense establishment prohibited the group to continue inhabiting the property, and the site was declared a closed military zone.
Contested property on Thursday (Photo: Ohad Zweigenberg)
The Civil Administration ordered the settlers to leave the home by Wednesday at 3:00 pm, claiming that their presence there is unauthorized and disturbs public order.
"A delicate status quo is maintained between the Israeli and Palestinian populations in Hebron, preventing friction between the populations which might hurt residents," the agency said.
The settlers rejected the warrant, saying that the Civil Administration never examined the legality of the purchase.
On Wednesday afternoon, the police's special patrol forces entered the home and evicted its inhabitants, most of whom left quietly. The few who refused to leave were removed forcefully.