An Israeli ministerial committee has decided to hand over Hebron's old vegetable market to the Hebron Settlement Council. The decision has been condemned by the Palestinian-run Hebron Rehabilitation Committee which warned of the repercussions on geographic, demographic, political and economic levels.
The committee issued a press release pointing out that the decision comes in the context of the Israeli settler scheme to Judaise the old city of Hebron, reinforce the Jewish settlers' presence therein, and evict indigenous inhabitants after seizing their properties illegally. It warned that the decision aims at the complete elimination of any political or legal possibility of reopening the wholesale vegetable market, which is considered to be the main commercial centre in Hebron, and restoring the properties to their Palestinian owners.
"This sinister decision bypasses prior legal decisions obtained by the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee and Israeli Peace Now movement on this issue," a spokesman said. "The Israeli Supreme Court had ruled that settlers should be evacuated from the Aal Al-Ewewy shops in the old vegetable market of Al Hisbah near the Avraham Avinu settlement."
The Ministerial Committee in charge of legalising settlement outposts had decided to hand over the shops in question to the Settlements Council in response to a petition filed at the Supreme Court by Peace Now, in cooperation with the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, demanding the evacuation of settlers from some of the market's shops.