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An IDF appeals committee Monday ruled in favor of Jews who were expelled last year from a Hevron building called Beit HaMachpelah, named for its proximity to the Patriarchs’ Cave, because of questions over the legality of their purchase from Palestinian Authority Arabs.

The committee turned down Defense Ministry and Civil Administration arguments that the sale of the property was legal. As usual with property sales by Arabs to Jews, a third party was used to save the real owners from the death penalty, set by law under the Jordanian occupation and under the Palestinian Authority.

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The Defense Ministry at the time of the expulsion was headed by Ehud Barak, who was a consistent thorn in the side of nationalists and who continued a de facto building freeze on building for Jews in Judea and Samaria. Technically, no Jew can move into a building in Judea and Samaria without the signature of the Defense Ministry.

The current minister is Moshe Ya’alon of the Likud party and whose views are much closer to nationalists. However, his decision on whether or not to authorize Jews to return to Beit HaMachpelah will be tinged by estimations of  Arab violence that might result.

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