House raided by settlers
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Not deterred by chilling cold
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Staying in house
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Settlers who raided Hebron house will not be evicted

IDF, Civil Administration and police looking into ownership documents of house occupied Monday evening. Meanwhile, they say, settlers will not be evacuated. Last year, Palestinians documented two cases of settlers taking over Palestinian houses

Police have no plans to evacuate the settlers who occupied a house in Hebron Monday evening, a senior police official told Ynet on Tuesday morning.


"We have no legal basis to evacuate them," he explained.


Israel Defense Forces soldiers have been guarding the house since Monday night and will continue to guard it until the legal examination of its ownership documents is completed.


The settlers, on their part, promised to reinforce their presence in the area.


Knesset Member Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) called on Defense Minister Amir Peretz to immediately work to evacuate the settlers who raided the Hebron house, until a decision is made on its rightful owners.


"It's time for the defense minister to start working and stop making statements which mean nothing. The State of Israel is a state of law, which should apply to everyone," Pines-Paz said.


Hundred of settlers from Kiryat Arba and Hebron in the West Bank, with the back-up of dozens more youths from across Israel, chose to spend the night in the empty Palestinian home which they occupied earlier Monday evening.


Equipped with documents they claimed proved their legal ownership over the building, 200–300 Yeshiva students and youths entered the four-story building outside of Hebron Monday evening.


Not deterred by the chilling cold permeating the unfinished four-story structure, the youths declared that they had no intention of leaving and unrolled blankets and sleeping bags to sleep the night. 


The IDF, the Civil Administration and the police were looking into documents handed over by the settlers, who claimed to be the rightful owners of the building, as well as documents presented by a Palestinian man claiming to be the owner.


A senior police official told Ynet, "At this stage there are no unusual incidents in the area. The settlers are starting to settle in and to prepare the house for residence. I want to make it clear that we are not preparing for evacuation. The issue should still be examined by legal experts in order to decide who the rightful owner is. In the meantime, the settlers will be able to stay."


Military officials told Ynet that they had known that the settlers plan to buy the house, "But we did not know about their grand entrance last night. At this stage, we do nor expect any unusual clashes with the Palestinians."


‘Not an unusual occurrence’

The Palestinians claimed that the settlers takeover of the house in Hebron was not a unusual occurrence.


In 2006, the Palestinian committee for the protection of homes and land in Hebron documented at least two takeovers of Palestinians homes, six incidents of invasion into homes by settlers who were eventually removed, and 18 failed attempts.


Palestinians also reported an incident of a Palestinian home being burned down, 430 incidents of homes being stoned, and violence against Palestinian tenants.


Private home owners were not the only ones to suffer the violence of the settlers; private business owners also had to deal with their Jewish neighbors.


Also in 2006, there were 39 reported incidents of violence, attempted takeovers, and arson in Hebron, in addition to the takeover of thousands of dunams of land, and the uprooting and burning of 1,480 trees.


The report’s editor, Abed al-Hadi Chankash, told Ynet that the settlers actions in Hebron were a daily reality, and that “the Israeli government was lying to itself and its people in the face of the actions of the settlers and the IDF in the territories, and particularly in Hebron”.


According to Chankash, the Israelis, including the Israeli media, speak of rule of law and peace, but reality contradicts their claims.


“There isn’t a single leader in Israel brave enough to admit to the crimes committed in Hebron and the Palestinian territories, and to fight the settlers,” Chankash said.


Ali Waked contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 03.20.07, 10:47
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