The strife over the disputed house in Hebron continues to pick up steam and Fais Rajabi – who claims ownership of the structure – fails to understand how the situation deteriorated so far.
Rajabi claimed he purchased the house some 15 years ago and planned to begin inhabiting it next week with his three wives and 22 children. Rajabi said he bought the house from four brothers who inherited it and he has been renovating it since he made the purchase. It's his life's work, he says.
Settlers claim they bought the disputed house (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Rajabi estimates he has invested over $1 million in the project. "I bought this house with my hard-earned money, no one ever made any claims in the past, but apparently the settlers saw that all I had left to do was finish tiling and they decided that this is the right moment for them to steal the house," he said.
When asked how he felt about loosing his investment Rajabi said: "May Allah help me. Something that you nurture for years, invest enormous funds in, invest so much work and energy into, a dream that was the center of your life – that's robbed from you with empty claims and lies."
Rajabi vehemently rejects the settler's claim that they purchased the house and own the deed to it. There is no chance he was deceived by the original owner, he said, no chance it was also sold to the settlers.
"I cannot believe there is a man who can sell-out his faith like that, his conscious and his religion. The house is mine and mine alone. The documents I showed the police prove my ownership. The documents the settlers have, fake or not, purchased for money or not – that's not of interest to me. I am the sole owner of the house, and I sold nothing to anyone."
Rajabi claims that the settlers have recently begun observing the house. "I never imagined that it was towards stealing it. I will take this to the Israeli High Court – and if justice is not found there then I will go to the highest court in the world. This will not go on in silence. The house is mine, all of it is mine and only mine, and I will never give it up. This house is my entire life," he said.
The IDF, the Civil Administration and the police said they were looking into documents provided by Rajabi and the settlers, who both claim to be the rightful owners of the house.