On Thursday, Israeli troops and police evicted nine Jewish families from the Jewish-owned “Peace House” in Hebron, after a week of protests against preparations of the Israeli government to do just that.

In March 2007, an American businessman, Maurice Abram of Brooklyn, invested more than a million dollars in the purchase and refurbishing of a four-story home in the old Jewish quarter of Hebron. Nine families with children moved into “Peace House” in Hebron.

However, the Peace Now movement, funded by the Norwegian, Finnish and British governments, in addition to donations from the Washington-based New Israel Fund, sued in the Israel High Court of Justice to evict the Jewish families from “Peace House” in Hebron, claiming that the purchase of “Peace House” was not valid.

The Israeli government supported the Peace Now position in court.

Despite the fact that Mr. Abram and his Jewish Hebron clients presented documentation and audio recordings of the “Peace House” purchase agreement, the Israel High Court ruled that the Israeli government had the option to evict the Jewish families from “Peace House,” while the ownership had yet to be resolved by the Jerusalem District Court.

After the Israel High Court ruling, Israeli government radio and Israeli government TV misleadingly reported that the Israel High Court of Justice had ordered that the Jewish families of “Peace House” must be evicted. That false news report was repeated every day for the past two weeks on almost all Israel government newsreels.

On Thursday morning, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak met leaders from the “Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria,” including the Jewish community of Hebron.

The Council of Jewish Communities asked Mr. Barak to delay the eviction, pending a hearing in the Jerusalem district court evaluation of the ownership of “Peace House.”

However, Mr. Barak rejected the request for a court hearing and dispatched several hundred troops to evict the nine Jewish families and their children who lived in “Peace House.” along with several hundred Jewish teenagers who had arrived to express their support for a permanent Jewish presence in “Peace House.”

David Bedein can be reached at Bedein@thebulletin.us


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.