Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hevron Jews Counter-Threaten: Evacuation is Illegal


The destruction of Jewish homes in Hevron by the government of Israel would be a great mistake--not only illegal, but immoral and wrong.

However, that won't stop the government. The rule of law is only good when it enforces the position of the government, otherwise it is ignored, subverted, or changed.

Haven't we already learned this a thousand times?

by Hillel Fendel

( The Hevron Jewish Community's latest acquisition, 4-floor Beit HaShalom, is under evacuation threat - but legal sources say government not permitted to evacuate it.

The Civil Administration, which governs Judea and Samaria on behalf of the State of Israel, informed the Hevron Jewish Community last week that it plans to evacuate the Jews living in Beit HaShalom. The building in question was duly purchased by the Community this past March for the sum of $700,000.

Beit HaShalom - Peace House - is located amongst Arab buildings between the Jewish neighborhood in Hevron and Kiryat Arba. With four floors and room for nearly 20 families, the acquisition gave a great boost to Jewish efforts to settle the Biblically-significant area. Some 500 Jews live in Hevron, and 7,000 in Kiryat Arba; available apartments are sparse in both.

Immediately following the announcement of the purchase, the Defense Ministry under the auspices of left-leaning Labor Chairman Amir Peretz began searching for grounds to expel the new Jewish residents. The police sought, but could not find, evidence of wrongdoing in the sale.

Despite this, just 29 days after the residents moved in - one day before their squatters' rights would have kicked in - the Civil Administration issued eviction orders. The residents then appealed, and a final eviction decision was issued last week.

Atty. Nadav HaEtzni of Kiryat Arba, representing the Jews of Hevron, has sent a letter to the Military Prosecution, warning that a forced eviction of the building at this time would be a breach of a military order and of the law.

HaEtzni states in his letter that eight months ago, the Military Appeals Committee signed a preventative order banning the eviction. "Evicting the residents while this order is in force would be in violation of a judicial order," the letter states.

Furthermore, HaEtzni writes, though it is true that the 30 days' "squatters' rights" were frozen on the 29th day, they were unfrozen on the day the appeal was decided - namely, last Monday. Given that the eviction was not carried out in the ensuing two days, it may not be carried out on the grounds of "fresh infiltration" at all.

The letter was sent on Thursday; no response has yet been received.

Living in Sub-Standard Conditions
Since the famous "29th day," the Jews living in Beit HaShalom have not been permitted to make any changes in the building. This means that the families there were not allowed to plant grass outside (before the onset of the Shemittah year three months ago), nor are they permitted to tar the leaking roof, increase the electricity supply for heating, or even install windows.

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