Frivolous Case against Hebron Jews thrown out by Supreme Court

Beit Rachel and Beit Leah will not be forcibly evicted, despite a claim by Palestinian lawyers.

22.7.19, 21:49
The Supreme Court ruled not to use the IDF to evict Israeli residents from two buildings in Hebron. Beit Rachel and Beit Leah are two adjacent buildings located on King David Street / Shuhada Street near the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. They were legally purchased from the Za'atari family, residents of the Palestinian Authority, who later argued they never sold the property.

The petitioners did not prove that they legally possessed the property prior to the Israeli residents entering the buildings, the court ruled. 

Attorney Samar Shehadeh argued on behalf of the family that the fifteen Jewish families should be evicted until extra registration has been approved by the IDF Civil Administration which has jurisdiction over Israelis living in Judea and Samaria.

However the state ruled there was no clear evidence showing the Za’atari family had possession of the property when the Jewish residents moved in and a forced eviction would be one-sided.

After hearing from both sides, the court agreed with the state’s position that the Israeli residents should not be removed at this time, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Jewish residents of Beit Rachel and Beit Leah have already been evicted by the Israeli government in 2016, but allowed to return in 2018. The return took place the same week the state evicted Israeli families from the nearby Beit HaMachpela, another Jewish-owned property in dispute by the Arab lawyers.

In 2008, members of the Za'atari family began transferring rights to the Jewish Land Redemption Fund Association, the Jerusalem Post reported, quoted court records. The monetary transactions took place in 2012 according to Hebron resident Shlomo Levinger, of the Harhivi Makom Ohalech organization. 

Yishai Fleisher, international spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hebron stated, "the Palestinian effort to delegitimize the legal purchase of property in Hebron is nothing compared to the murderous bullying that takes place behind the iron curtain of what decent Arabs have to deal with when and if they sell to Jews." Fleisher added, "it is the law in the Palestinian Authority to put to death anyone who sells property to Jews, and that is the much darker and uglier side of this frivolous case which tried as usual to undermine recorded history. Jews are from Hebron, this purchase was legal and we will continue to grow and thrive in our ancestral city forever."

In the case of Beit HaMachpela, the Palestinian Authority resident who arranged the sale of the property in 2012, Muhammad Abu Shahala, was arrested for the crime of selling land to Jews. He was sentenced to death, but since his arrest, has still been in prison. The Jewish Community of Hebron sent a petition to the United Nations pleading for a stay of execution.

The Beit Rachel and Beit Leah properties, the Civil Administration gave its initial determination that the fund had legally purchased the property before the Jewish families moved in.

The Za’atari family denied the sale and complained to the police, then the Defense Ministry, and finally the Supreme Court.

“The buildings were purchased legally by Jews from Arabs,” Levinger told United With Israel. “After the sale, they complained to the police that they didn’t sell the buildings, because [the sellers] are afraid of the Palestinian Authority. We are happy that three or four times now the court has declared that Jews can live wherever they want in the Land of Israel,” Levinger said.
Elimelech Karzen, of the Jewish Community of Hebron said the complex is several hundred years old and was abandoned for years. After purchasing it from the Arab owners, Karzen said the new Jewish residents installed electricity, plumbing. sewage and other infrastructure to make the buildings inhabitable. He praised the court decision as "a breakthrough."

The two buildings are located in the H2 section of Hebron which is under Israeli jurisdiction. The H1 section, which comprises 80% of the city is under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction and off-limits to Israelis.
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