Photo Credit: Mati Amar/TPS
Eviction of Residents from Ofra, Feb. 28, 2017

Andrew Friedman/TPS

Tear-stained residents of the Ofra homes scheduled for demolition Tuesday said they would leave their homes without physical resistance to security forces, but added that the move to demolish their homes would not “break them”.

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Esther Brot, a resident of the neighborhood slated for demolition, said she and her family had moved out of their home a month ago in favor of temporary housing and said the lessons she would take away from the current situation would be to redouble her commitment to the settlement enterprise.

“A month ago, when it became clear that we weren’t going to win the legal battle, we decided to take responsibility for ourselves and our children and we moved. When the security forces come, we will take a stone from this house and use it as the cornerstone for our next home here in Ofra, which will be bigger, nicer and stronger,” Brot told Israel Radio in Hebrew.

Brot, like all the residents, reserved ferocious condemnations for both the judiciary and for right-wing politicians who have overseen multiple settlement demolitions. She accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of “stuttering” about the right of settlers to live and build in Judea and Samaria, and the High Court of Justice of relying on a tacit admission of recognition for Jordanian sovereignty over Judea and Samaria from 1948 to 67 – something that only Great Britan and Pakistan recognized at the time – in order to rule against the residents, instead of accepting legal opinions like former Justice Edmund Levy that present Jewish building in the region as legally sound.

“The injustice we have suffered here is that we never even got our day in court,” Brot added. “My home is going to be demolished without anyone proving that he or she is the rightful owner of the land. Forget about ideology for a moment – our lawyer checked out the issues of land ownership. I was granted building permits by the council. I was allowed to register my ownership of the land. I bought my home like every other person in Israel.”

Asked about the legal case against the community, Brot and others said that left-wing groups that continually fail to win elections are waging a legal war of attrition against the settlement movement. “They turned to the court, and the court ordereed the demolition of my home without asking for any proof of land ownership whatsoever. The court is supposed to do justice – if this land is privately owned, let the [land owners] come forth and and show the documents. Let them prove it.”

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