woensdag 12 maart 2014
Israeli Supreme Court rules that settlers are rightful owners of Al-Rajabi building in Hebron
The Al-Rajabi building, a particularly contentious building in Hebron. The picture was taken in November 2013 (Foto AFP/Hazem Bader, )
The Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Jewish settlers were the lawful owners of a long-disputed building in the heart of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. The ruling brings an end to a legal dispute lasting nearly seven years, after the Palestinian Rajabi family said its four-story building had been taken over by Israeli settlers.
The building is near the Ibrahimi Mosque (known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs) in a part of Hebron here many streets are off-limits to Palestinian cars.
The settlers were evacuated in 2008, and the court verdict said they would not be allowed to move back in until they get defense ministry approval. The structure was sold in 2004 by its Palestinian owners to settlers through a "non-Jewish straw man," according to court documents. When settlers moved into the structure in 2007 the Palestinians charged they had been tricked and said the purchase was invalid, lodging complaints with the police and petitioning the court.
The case was debated in the Jerusalem district court, which in 2012 ruled in favor of the Jewish organization behind the purchase. Neria Arnon, a spokeswoman for the Hebron settlers, told AFP the decision proved the purchase was legitimate and legal. "We're happy the court confirmed this, and are waiting for the final approval of the defense minister, to do what is necessary to enable us to settle the building," she said.
Hebron is home to nearly 200,000 Palestinians and about 700 Jews who live under Israeli army protection.
The newspaper Haaretz confirmed on Monday that settlers in the ''illegal outpost'' Sde Boaz near Al Khadr (near Bethlehem) made a secret deal with minister Moshe Ya'alon of Defense to move their mobile homes a few hundred meters to e new location in order to avoid them being destroyed. The Palestinian inhabitant of Al-Khadr reported on 2 March that after a lenghty juridical procedure four mobile homes had finally been removed from his private land. But two of the mobile homes were only moved a few hundred meters to be placed on the rpivate land of a fellow inhabitant of Al-Khadr. Haartez now reveals that this was part of a deal between the ''illegal'' settlers and minister Ya'alon.