Following a string of terrorist attacks and political pressure from the Right, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
issued a directive to allow Jews to move into Hebron's Machpelah house.
The move has already been sanctioned
by the Judea and Samaria Military Court which ruled that the house was lawfully purchased last summer.
Earlier on Sunday, ministers Naftali Bennett and Yisrael Katz expressed fierce criticism of the plan to release a second round of terrorists as part of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
"Those who try to uproot us from the city of our fathers will achieve only the opposite. With one hand we will fight terror and with the other we'll strengthen settlement," Netanyahu said.
The decision is subject to the authorization of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
and has been pending for almost three months.
Netanyahu's statement was issued shortly after Economy Minister Naftali Bennett
asked Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alom to authorize the entry of Jews to the Machpelah house. "We know how to build and settle, not kill," he wrote. "This is the appropriate Zionist response. Whoever wants to uproot us from our land should know he is single handedly building another Jewish home. The answer to those who kill is to do what Zionism has always done – to build."
On Saturday, Bennett sent Netanyahu a letter urging a discussion on the release of terrorists following the latest terror attacks. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz also expressed fierce criticism on the matter at a Sukkot event. Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon asked the prime minister to freeze negotiations with the Palestinians until Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
condemns the recent terror attacks.
The Machpelah house first caught public attention last April when settlers moved into it in the middle of the night claiming they legally bought the property.
The Defense Ministry and Civil Administration claimed that the reason behind the eviction were irregularities in the purchase agreement which prevent the provision of permits by the Administration. The settlers then turned to the appeals committee which ruled in their favor.
The court ordered the State to cover the legal costs of the proceedings and criticized the Civil Administration for its handling of the issue remarking that "this conduct is not in line with what is expected of (the Administration.)"
Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
met with Central Command chief Nitzan Alon for a situation assessment following the killing of SSgt. Gal Kobi by a Palestinian sniper in Hebron.
The two will discuss ways of response. Security forces are still searching for the terrorist in Hebron.
Yoav Zitun contributed to this report
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