Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the 15 Jewish families who moved into the Machpela House in Hebron last July (2017) can be expelled from their homes.
The community had submitted documents in 2012 to the Civil Administration to prove their purchase of the building from a citizen of the Palestinian Authority. The documents were initially ruled insufficient and the registration of the building was rejected. Members of the former property owner’s clan challenged the transaction, claiming the residents had forged the documents and insisting no sale had taken place.
Selling property to a Jew in the Palestinian Authority is punishable by death – one reason that so many such sales are carried out by proxy agents while the property owners are abroad – and often the sale is conducted in such a way that the owner can claim that he doesn’t know to whom the property is sold.
The Jews appealed the decision – and years later, they’re still waiting for a decision on the appeal, with the Civil Administration maintaining it is still “reviewing” the case.
The Appeals Committee determined that the Preliminary Registration Committee erred in a series of errors and ostensibly ignored documents submitted to it.
On Monday, Justices Ester Hayot, George Karra, and Yosef Elron ruled that the 15 Jewish families will have to find elsewhere to live until the Civil Administration can make up its mind as to whether the building legally belongs to them, or not.
The Court has rejected the families’ appeal asking to be able to remain in their homes until the end of the never-ending registration process.
Judge Elron, however, was also deeply critical of the fact that for four years the registration committee has not managed to get this process done, and determine the ownership of the building.
Last December, the 15 families residing in Machpela House agreed to evacuate the building on the condition the State would demolish a nearby storehouse built illegally by local Arabs.
The Supreme Court has rejected that “deal” however, and instead authorized the state to expel the residents at its convenience, although it has not compelled the state to do so.