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Israel orders settlers to evacuate Palestinian home in Hebron

The Palestinian family were forced out of their homes and were physically attacked by settlers

August 29, 2017 at 9:39 am

Israeli authorities have ordered a group of settlers to evacuate a building in Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank that belongs to the Abu Rajab family, after the settlers forcibly took over the home a month ago amid a year’s-long legal battle over the building.

Meanwhile, a member of the Palestinian family reported continued physical attacks at the hands of the settlers.

The Israeli state prosecutor told the Israeli Supreme Court that the 15 settler families have seven days to vacate a three-story building, Israel’s justice ministry announced on Sunday evening.

The state was responding to an appeal submitted to the court by the Abu Rajab family against the takeover of the house, over which settlers have erroneously attempted to claim ownership for years to establish the so-called Beit Hamachpela settlement.

The Israeli prosecutor said that once the families leave the building they can still ask the Israeli Civil Administration’s Registration Committee to temporarily give them rights to hold onto the property during the ongoing legal proceedings to transfer the title to their name. If that right is granted, then they could move back into the structure, the prosecutor said.

Read: Settlers setup illegal outpost on Palestinian land near Bethlehem

The registration committee denied the settlers’ request to establish the settlement in 2015 on the grounds that the settlers failed to prove their alleged purchase of the Palestinian house. The settlers appealed the decision and had been waiting to reappear before the committee when they decided to move into the house anyway.

Israeli authorities hope to convince the settlers – who have been holding marches under the protection of armed Israeli occupation forces amid a spike in settler attacks in the area – to leave peacefully over the course of the week, before resorting to a forcible evacuation.

One of the owners of the building, Hazin Abu Rajab Al-Tamimi, told Ma’an that the Israeli Supreme Court released a 35-page order on Thursday, but “the order was kept secret” until Sunday night.


He said the family’s lawyers were able to obtain a copy of the order, and expressed hopes that the settlers will be evacuated from the building “as soon as possible”.

The settlers had taken over the second and third floors of the building, in addition to conducting raids into the first floor, where the Palestinian family lives.

After the evacuation order was issued, Israeli settlers assaulted 55-year-old Umm Murad Abu Rajab causing her bruises, Al-Tamimi said.

For three weeks, settlers have been trying to evacuate us from the building after they occupied the first floor, but we will never leave it.

When the settlers moved in last month they reportedly claimed they had permission from the Israeli army to do so, and also received verbal support from a number of Israeli politicians including Knesset member David Bitan of the ruling Likud party.

Read: 3,455 settlements units built on private Palestinian land

Israeli settlers first stormed the home in 2012 after they claimed to have purchased the building from the Abu Rajab family. The Palestinians responded by submitting six complaints to Israeli courts and accused the settlers of forging the sale documents.

A ruling was later reached to evacuate the settlers from the premises due to lack of adequate proof of ownership.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intention to encourage the establishment of the settlement in 2013.