By Michael Zeff/TPS
Hebron (TPS) – Dozens of members of the Hebron Jewish community returned on Sunday, January 31 to the site of the buildings dubbed “The House of Rachel” and “The House of Leah.”
The gathering quickly escalated into a spontaneous demonstration as IDF soldiers barred their entry to the apartment buildings located on King David Street, adjacent to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
The two apartment buildings were purchased by Hebron’s Jewish residents through the Harchivi Mekom Ohalech organization several years ago, and residents began inhabiting the buildings on Thursday, January 21.
Palestinians rioted violently in protest of the Jewish purchase of property in Hebron shortly after the Jewish residents moved into the apartments .
The riots propelled Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to issue an order to evict the residents of the apartments and to bar the entry of Jews to the buildings “pending a thorough inspection of the purchase documents as well as an inspection of the political and security aspects of the matter.”
“The prime minister himself said last week that it would take a week to finish the inspection of our purchase documents,” a Harchivi Mekom Ohalech representative told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) during the demonstration today.
“It has been over a week and we have handed over all the documents and other materials requested by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT]. We had hoped that the COGAT officials would be true to their word yet here we stand today outside our houses,” he said.
According to the legal system in Judea and Samaria, any real estate deal in those territories must first be submitted to COGAT and receive the defense minister’s approval.
“In the case of the Hebron houses, the law was broken plain and simple. In order to legally enter a house in Hebron, one must first go through several legal procedures. That did not happen in this case and therefore these squatters were evicted,” stated the defense minister.
Minister Yaalon added that the transaction was never presented to his office for approval despite the fact that the houses were purchased legally.
“At the end of the day, Arabs make hundreds if not thousands of transactions in Judea and Samaria and no one bothers submitting them for approval. However, when Jews purchase property, we are subjected to selective enforcement, and it smacks of racism,” the Harchivi Mekom Ohalech representative told TPS.