Settlers occupying a house in Hebron will receive eviction orders today, Defense Minister Amir Peretz decided.
Anticipating the move, which has been in the works for more than two weeks, the settlers have prepared a response. Attorney Nadav Haetzni, representing the Hebron settlers, argues in a document presented to the civil administration head that the decisions on the disputed home lack authority. He is referring to the Defense Ministry's decision not to grant "approval to the deal" for the home acquisition, and the decision to serve the settlers, for the first time, an order accusing them of obstructive use.
Haetzni begins the document by pointing to government decisions made in 1980 and 1998, which determined that Jews would be permitted to live in Hebron, and that the timing and location would be decided by the government, not the defense minister.
"The defense minister's orders were not preceded by a cabinet discussion, and his decision does not reflect the government's policies regarding the Jewish settlement in Hebron, as this is expressed in the government's guidelines," argues Haetzni.
The Hebron settlers' attorney is also critical of how decisions were made, which he describes as "rushed, unequivocal and public."
Haetzni says Peretz is trying to "score points" before the Labor Party primary scheduled for next month.
Peretz has said that even if the settlers purchased the home and made an agreement with its Palestinian owners, settlements in Hebron need government approval.
For his part, GOC Central Command Yair Naveh has said that the house's location is not considered particularly dangerous and does not pose a new threat.
Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said that the army will carry out any mission it is ordered to do, and that Naveh's view was challenged by Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, who said that the concentration of families in an isolated home endangers them.
Close to the disputed house, Palestinians set up a mosque, which could not be used because of an order against further construction there. However, that warrant expired and now the mosque is in use, even though it has not been completed.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now