Deputy Prime Minister Ya’acov Ya’alon on Wednesday accused Defense Minister Ehud Barak of “starting up fires” after Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet had decided that the newly settled Machpela House, at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, would be evacuated by the end of the month only if it is proven that it had been purchased illegally. According to Ya’alon, Barak is purposefully “sticking up the process, not only in Hebron, but all across the Jewish communities.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu and his senior ministers have agreed to evacuate the residents of the disputed house in Hebron on April 26, “if it can be proven that it has been purchased illegally,” but despite the agreement, the battle between Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Likud members of Netanyahu’s government is raging.
Deputy Prime Minister Moshe (Boogie) Ya’alon is demanding that the entire affair in Hebron, as well as all issues concerning the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, be taken out of Barak’s jurisdiction.
In discussions Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Ya’alon said that Barak is only “starting fires in Judea and Samaria,” and that the mandate over these territories must be taken away from Barak and given to a team of cabinet ministers.
Ya’alon, who also holds the Strategic Issues portfolio, accused Barak of failing to solve problems. In Ya’alon’s opinion, the crucial issue in Hebron is the validity of the purchase documents in the possession of the new dwellers in Machpela House. He argued that “it is our duty to check the documents in Hebron,” and only if their validity is confirmed can we approve of their entry. He also commented that there is no security or policy issue regarding this matter, and that while the investigation is in process, “we will deposit the house’s security in the hands of the Army.”
“I have no idea why the Defense Minister says such an examination will take weeks, when it can all be finished in a few days,” Ya’alon said. “The Defense Minister prefers to stick up the proceedings… He is acting against government policy and hurts us and our ability to solve problems.”