Middle East Monitor (MEMO) reported this morning the story of Israel ordering settlers encroaching on a Palestinian home to vacate in the shortest time possible. According to the report, authorities have ordered a group of settlers to evacuate a building in Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank that belongs to the Abu Rajab family, after the settlers forcibly took over the home a month ago amid a year’s-long legal battle over the building.
The Israeli state prosecutor told the Israeli Supreme Court that the 15 settler families have seven days to vacate a three-story building, Israel’s justice ministry announced on Sunday evening.
This order came as the state’s response ‘to an appeal submitted to the court by the Abu Rajab family against the takeover of the house, over which settlers have erroneously attempted to claim ownership for years to establish the so-called Beit Hamachpela settlement.’
According to MEMO, ‘the Israeli prosecutor said that once the families leave the building they can still ask the Israeli Civil Administration’s Registration Committee to temporarily give them rights to hold onto the property during the ongoing legal proceedings to transfer the title to their name.’
Against charges, the registration committee denied the settlers’ request to establish the settlement in 2015 on the grounds that the settlers failed to prove their alleged purchase of the Palestinian house. MEMO further stated that the settlers appealed the decision and had been waiting to reappear before the committee when they decided to move into the house anyway.
Israeli authorities hope to convince the settlers – who have been holding marches under the protection of armed Israeli occupation forces amid a spike in settler attacks in the area – to leave peacefully over the course of the week, before resorting to a forcible evacuation.
One of the owners of the building, Hazin Abu Rajab Al-Tamimi, told the press that the Israeli Supreme Court released a 35-page order on Thursday, but “the order was kept secret” until Sunday night. He said the family’s lawyers were able to obtain a copy of the order, and expressed hopes that the settlers will be evacuated from the building “as soon as possible”.
Correspondent: Ridwan A Olayiwola