A discussion in the Attorney General’s office Thursday night on the eviction of the Jewish owners of Machpela House in Hebron ended without an agreement. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defense and the Military Advocate General’s Office.
The Army’s legal counsel who was present at the hearing held that there was no legal basis for the settlers to remain in their building before the registration process in the Civil Administration is completed. But representatives of the defense establishment and the Ministry of Justice believe that there exists a legal foundation to let the settlers stay while the registration process is being completed.
The debate ended without a ruling by the Attorney General, but a decision is expected soon, because next week the State must deliver its initial response to a petition filed by ten members of the Abu Rajab family of Hebron demanding that the house be vacated.
Machpela House, a three-story residential building near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, was purchased about five years ago, but so far the settlers have not been able to register their building in their name with the IDF Civil Administration, which wants them barred from entering their property.
In the past, a registration committee determined that the settlers had not been able to prove the legality of their purchase of the building, but an appeals committee recently determined that the registration committee had erred in its decision, and ruled that the same registration committee must hold another hearing on the Jewish owners’ request to register their property.
On July 25, 15 Jewish families entered Machpela House with several government ministers expressing their support for the move and the Prime Minister ordering the Defense Minister not to evacuate them “until further notice.”
The Hebron Brigade Commander declared the area a “closed military zone” in order to prevent the entry of additional tenants.
Attorney Doron Nir Zvi, who represented the families throughout the purchase process, said, “I hope Attorney General Mandelblit will stand by his word and allow the families of Machpela House to remain in their homes.”