Machpela House, at the heart of the city of Hebron, has been standing empty since the rapid evacuation of its legal owners in April. The Jewish residents entered the house back then, claiming they purchased it from its Palestinian owner. But since the territories to the right of the 1949 armistice line, also known as the “green line,” are not subject to Israeli civil law but rather to military law, each real estate acquisition in Judea and Samaria must be approved by the Civil Administration, which is under the auspices of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Not a friend of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, Barak ordered the swift evacuation of those Jewish families, pending a review and an approval of the purchase documents.
As of Thursday morning, it appears that these Jewish families will not return to their home any time soon. In recent days, they received a detailed document from the Civil Administration, arguing that that there were defects in the acquisition transaction. Among other things, the document stated that the Jewish purchasers presented only proof of ownership over a portion of the property, which allegedly belongs to several owners. Citing this confusion, the Authority claims that it is not clear which the structure exactly is covered in the acquisition agreement.
Orit Struck (pronounced “strook”), representing the Jewish community of Hebron, rejected those claims, saying that the military and the government are looking for excuses to block the deal.
“The document was clearly written based on a directive from above,” she told The Jewish Press. “Someone told them to look for flaws in the transaction, so they searched and found minimal defects.”
“The house was purchased legally from the person who inherited it legally and sold it to us legally, but now they’re finding all sorts of nonsense and excuses.”
Struck blames the entire miscarriage of justice on the fact that the Netanyahu government is yet to adopt the recommendations of the Levy committee, which called for applying Israeli law in all the areas of Jewish residence in Judea and Samaria.
Struck told The Jewish Press that the Jewish residence will be applying to an appeals committee which is staffed by uniformed jurists. But even if they manage to overcome the hurdle of convincing a military committee, appointed with the approval of the Ministry of Defense – the local commander may still refuse to carry out the committee’s ruling without having to give cause.
Struck argued that these abuses will continue until the government—which is founded on a largely right wing coalition whose MKs support Jewish settlement—will adopt the Levy recommendations.