The occupation of a house in the Palestinian neighborhood in the city of Hebron by residents of Hebron's Jewish settlement is a provocation that could destabilize security in the city, sources in the Israel Defense Forces said on Thursday.

Dozens of residents from the Jewish settlement in Hebron occupied a three story house in a Palestinian neighborhood in the city overnight Wednesday, about one hundred meters south of the Cave of the Patriarchs.

The group, which entered the house around 1 A.M. on Thursday, includes entire families, women and children. Representatives of the group claim that the house was purchased nearly four months ago after lengthy negotiations with its previous Palestinian owner. The group states that it holds documents validating its claim on the building.

The IDF stressed that the house is located in an area which is controlled by the IDF, and that such an event can lead to the deterioration of the security situation.
"For us this was a provocation, at this time this is problematic," a military source said, adding that if, as was claimed, the property was purchased legally then it is not clear why the group go occupied the house overnight, in the presence of a large group of people.

Following the group’s move into the house, a large contingent of Israel Defense Forces soldiers, responsible for the security of the Jewish settlement in Hebron, arrived on the scene. For now, they decided to maintain the status quo and allow the group to stay. Currently, entry to the building is permitted only to members of the initial group, with no additional persons allowed to enter.

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