Dozens of settlers who moved into a building in the West Bank city of Hebron over the weekend did so without a permit, an Israeli security official told Haaretz. A Palestinian man from Jerusalem who claims to be the building's rightful owner said he filed a police complaint.
On Friday, a settler group said that 15 families had moved into the building, which sits on the main road between the settlement of Kiryat Arba, on the outskirts of Hebron, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the city.
They brought mattresses and equipment and began renovations of the building, which they have dubbed "Beit Hatekuma," or "Revival House." Israeli troops guard the settlers there.
Mohammed Ja'abari said that he is the registered owner of the building and that he filed a police complaint on Saturday over the entry of the settlers.
The settlers maintain that the building was purchased "according to law." The same group has settled in other buildings in Hebron.
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To purchase a building in the West Bank, a transaction permit is required as the basic first step in registering property. This shows that the Civil Administration recognizes that payment has been made for the structure.
In the case of the building in Hebron, no such permit was issued to the settler group. Even after the permit is granted, a long process of inquiries is required in the Civil Administration's registration committee. The process could take years, and hasn't yet begun in this case.
The settlers were evacuated from the building on Sunday, and the military pledged to maintain a presence at the site until the claim is settled.