Fury on the right as security forces evict settlers from Hebron house (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By YOEL GOLDMAN and TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF 04/04/12)
TIMES OF ISRAEL
TIMES OF ISRAEL Articles-Index-Top
Attorney general ruled the evacuation should go ahead without delay,
after PM had said it would be postponed
Security forces on Wednesday afternoon evacuated 15 settlers from a
disputed house in Hebron, in a surprise move that prompted
indignation on the political right.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had indicated on Tuesday that the
eviction of the settlers had been put on hold, but later backed the
decision to carry it out on Wednesday.
Yehuda Weinstein, the attorney general, advised the prime minister
that the eviction should go ahead without delay. Relating to
assertions that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had circumvented the
government, Weinstein also said there was no need for a government
decision on the matter.
Barak also cited operational considerations in carrying out the
eviction on Wednesday.
Defense Ministry officials said later Wednesday that the settlers
would be allowed to return if it was proved that their purchase of
the house was legal.
The settlers were removed from Beit Hamachpela at around 1 p.m.
without resistance and without disturbances in about 40 minutes,
officials said. Some 150 members of a special police unit surrounded
the building and then proceeded with the eviction. Those inside the
house — four adults and 11 children under 18 — who said they were
making preparations for Passover, claimed that they were treated
roughly. Security officials denied this.
There were no arrests at the scene. A small police contingent
remained to keep the building cordoned off.
Barak, who authorized the eviction, said the government “will not
allow actions that break the law and won’t let citizens create facts
on the ground to undermine the foundations of the rule of law.” He
said settlers’ claims to ownership of the building would continue to
be checked, and that the building would be “preserved” in the interim.
Barak said he hoped there would be no need for future such actions.
Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) accused Barak of “fanning
the flames” of tension with the settlers. Ya’alon and Minister
without Portfolio Benny Begin had suggested allowing the settlers to
leave the house on their own, but Barak decided against it.
Likud Minister Yuli Edelstein said he was “speechless” at the action,
and demanded that Barak be stripped of this aspect of his ministerial
Left-wing Meretz leader MK Zehava Gal-On said, “The security forces
fulfilled their role in upholding the rule of law.”
The settlers, who moved in last week, have claimed that they
purchased the building legally. Military officials said, however,
that their entry had not been approved by the defense minister and
therefore was not authorized in any case.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had said Tuesday night that the
government had mishandled the Hebron affair, saying it could endanger
the government coalition.
“In coalition terms we’re talking about a grave mistake,” he said at
a Yisrael Beiteinu party function.
Eight Likud ministers had declared support for the settlers in Beit
Hamachpela, despite a Civil Administration eviction notice that
officially went into effect on Tuesday afternoon. The prime minister
instructed Barak to hold off on enforcing the eviction pending an
investigation into the settlers’ claim that they had bought the house
The army had been pressing for them to be evacuated from the house,
but Netanyahu had said Tuesday that an order to push them out had
been delayed. (© 2012 THE TIMES OF ISRAEL 04/04/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY