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