Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allowed Israeli squatters to take over a Palestinian house about a hundred metres from the Ibrahimi Mosque in occupied Hebron, Arab48 reported yesterday.
During his visit to the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, Netanyahu claimed that the house is Israeli property, with the Israeli Civil Administration claiming an Israeli settlement group lawfully bought the property in 2015.
The settlers have squatted in the multi-story Palestinian property, which is called the Machpela House, prior to 2012.
In 2012, the Civil Administration ruled that the settlers did not have sufficient evidence proving that they owned the property. The families were subsequently removed from the site, according to the Times of Israel, which has since been declared a closed military zone.
Peace Now settlement watchdog called for the Palestinian house to be evacuated and said: "After their [settlers] claims of ownership had been denied, the settlers have decided to take the law into their own hands and establish an illegal settlement that might ignite the region."
Netanyahu has several times asked the defence ministry to delay or refrain from evacuating settlers from houses they occupy illegally even when the Civil Administration believes they do not have proof of ownership.
As the settlers were entering the Palestinian property, Rabbi Uziyahu Sharbaf said: "This house is an expansion of settlement in the holy city of Hebron, the city of the grandfathers."
He added: "We will expand here and this will be the real response to those who attack us and kill us."