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Showdown in Hebron: Netanyahu steps in to protect illegal settlers facing military eviction orders

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 A Palestinian boy and an armed Jewish settler last Thursday outside the guarded building that settlers occupied in the divided West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Abed Hashlamoun / EPA.

A closed military zone has been put in place around a three story building in Hebron taken over and illegally occupied by 100 settlers in an overnight raid last Thursday. Initially the military ordered them to evacuate by 3 pm today, but Netanyahu stepped in and requested a delay. The situation is now on hold. The settlers are still occupying the property, only now they are being protected by the very same military who previously ordered them to evacuate.


Ehud Barak had ordered the settlers out of the house in the West Bank city on Tuesday because they had not received the military’s approval to purchase it.

The settlers say they bought the house from its Palestinian owners legally.

But local Palestinian police disputed the validity of the deal, saying the building had more than 50 owners, only one of whom sold his share.

On Monday, the Israeli military told the settlers they had until 15:00 (12:00 GMT) on Tuesday to leave the house or prove it was theirs, after which the authorities would “act to restore the building to its previous state”.

“After examining all the evidence that was handed over and after considering all the circumstances of the incident, it was decided to return to the situation which existed before,” the military order said.

The settlers did not obtain military approval to buy the house and their takeover constituted a provocation, it added.

But overnight, Mr Netanyahu “asked the defence minister to allow the settlers in the building to have time to make their legal case”, officials in the prime minister’s office said.

Thus far the paperwork has not been verified, the settlers have ignored the deadline to evacuate and the Israeli government has remained silent and has not moved to evict them.

From the AP:

Dozens of Jewish settlers on Tuesday ignored a deadline to evacuate an illegally occupied West Bank house, as the government remained silent on whether they would be allowed to stay.

The passing of the deadline and lack of action from authorities compounded doubts about the willingness of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to take on settlers who have tried to cement the Jewish presence on lands claimed by the Palestinians for a future state. Both Netanyahu, who has sided with the settlers in the already volatile city of Hebron, and the defense minister, who wants them to leave, were silent.

“Settlers say they bought the house from a Palestinian property owner, but the military said it had not yet ascertained whether the purchase was legitimate. That process could take days or weeks, military spokesman Maj. Guy Inbar said. The mayor of Hebron, Khaled Osaily, told Army Radio that the purchase documents were fraudulent, and that the seller was not acting on behalf of the building’s owner.”

LATimes (my bold)

As of Tuesday evening, the settlers remained inside the property and the military had not moved to evict them.

“This is a very delicate zone and their staying can harm the stability of the area or might bring Palestinians into the streets,” said Guy Inbar, a spokesman for the military’s civil administration. “That’s what we are trying to avoid.”

He said the military has not determined whether the settlers’ purchase contract is legal, but even if it is, he said they did not receive military authorization needed for West Bank transactions of this type.

“It is a fact that they are staying there illegally,” he said.

If settlers are permitted to stay, it would mark the first new foothold by Jewish settlers in Hebron in years.


The Palestinian family that previously owned the property said some relatives had sold their interest to a Palestinian security official. It is being investigated whether that man, who is reportedly under arrest by the Palestinian Authority, subsequently sold the property to representatives of the settlers.

Hebron’s Palestinian mayor accused the settlers of forging the documents.

This eviction is getting lots of coverage today albeit there are wide discrepancies regarding the number of settlers, as reports roll in the numbers appear to grow.  There is an understanding the eviction order could touch off a show down between the Israeli military and a militant, fanatical settler community. Thus far the ‘showdown’ is taking place between Israeli politicians, between Barak and Netanyahu….supposedly.

The Israeli military has no qualms about violently evicting Palestinian activists . Juxtaposition noted.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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37 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    Kathleen on April 3, 2012, 1:29 pm

    there have been many showdowns in Hebron over the years. Decades

    Art Gish spent many winters in Hebron with Palestinians trying to protect their homes and land
    Gish lived up to the CPT’s slogan “Getting in the way” when he faced up to an Israeli tank in 2003 to try to prevent it from destroying a market in Hebron’s Old City.

  2. Kathleen
    Kathleen on April 3, 2012, 1:35 pm

    The illegal settlers are “crazies” Most of Israel’s Prime Minsters have allowed them to do the dirty illegal work to expand ” Greater” Israel. In persistent violation of UN resolutions and International laws. Nothing has changed on the ground. In fact many who have been going to the area for decades think things are much worse

    • annie
      annie on April 3, 2012, 1:48 pm

      this is how they do it kathleen. the make a big news story out of the pretense of an eviction order and blather it all over the msm (this is being covered by everyone and their brother) yet low and behold they are allowed to stay..for awhile…which then morphs into another ‘for awhile’ and then it becomes ‘disputed’ for years and years, and meanwhile the military protection zone creates yet another area smack dab in the middle of a palestinian neighborhood where palestinians have to deal with this horrendous hostility.

      it’s so transparently ugly.

      Imad Hamdan, the general director of the Rehabilitation Committee of the Old City in Hebron, told CNN that if the eviction order was not carried out, Palestinians would pursue legal action to force the settlers out of the home.

      “This is a Palestinian area, and it should be a pure Palestinian area,” he said “Those people who are trying to occupy certain spots in the old city, and we recommend for them to leave this area for Palestinians and seek another places.”

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen on April 3, 2012, 1:54 pm

        interesting that they have that much control. Which evictions the MSM are covering and the majority of evictions, bulldozing etc that the MSM has never covered. Making it look as if there is due justice and a legal process being followed

      • Fredblogs
        Fredblogs on April 3, 2012, 9:01 pm

        “This is a Jewish area, and it should be a pure Jewish area.” “we recommend for them to leave this area for Jews and seek another places.”Anyone here have a problem with those statement? So how come no one has a problem with “This is a Palestinian area, and it should be a pure Palestinian area.”and “we recommend for them to leave this area for Palestinians and seek another places.”

      • annie
        annie on April 3, 2012, 9:08 pm

        given the fact israel supplies an army to accompany their expansion, under the circumstances, i tend to agree fanatical settlers should not be allowed there.

      • AlGhorear
        AlGhorear on April 3, 2012, 10:02 pm

        When I traveled through the West Bank in 2003, never was the racism as blatant and cruel as in Al Khalil (Hebron). I drank tea in the home of a man whose young child who had been scalded with something that left huge scars on his arms and legs. I couldn’t believe that the violent settlers were allowed, no enabled, by Israeli soldiers to plant themselves smack dab in the middle of the Old City and essentially close it down.

        I was with the ISM then and we met with the CPT at the technical uni that had been raided and looted by the IDF. The students had only recently returned to the school’s grounds and our “job” was to act as human shields for the Palestinian student activists if the IDF returned. At the end of the day, the students decided it was too dangerous to stay on university grounds so we took our tour with them of the Old City. Small children were following us and would smile as we walked by and then throw pebbles at our backs. We walked along the pathway next to the settlement that had been covered with something like chicken coop wire to keep Palestinians walking below from being pelted with stones. That didn’t stop the settlers from throwing things like urine, feces, and rotten food that could seep through the wire on the pathway. It was truly disgusting and if I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. During the night, the IDF stormed a home and murdered one of the students.

        The idea that now the settlers are being allowed (enabled!) to take over another Palestinian home to “settle” in is truly horrific. The trampling on human rights and genocide of the Palestinian people continues with the full support of Barack Obama and the US government.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on April 4, 2012, 12:43 pm

        I have never been to a city where the hatred is so open.

        Hebron is like the logical end point of Zionism. You take your religious fervour and your military superiority and your money and your American political cover and you attempt to “redeem the land”(whatever that means ) and in the process you turn your back on the moral basis of your belief system, the religion that is supposedly driving the process. And what was the point again ?

  3. Kathleen
    Kathleen on April 3, 2012, 1:41 pm

    Annie sure hope Mondoweiss gets rid of that “show content” feature which certainly takes away from the flow of the conversation. What is the point?

    Terri Gross has an interview with Peter Beinart today. You can be sure she will take this opportunity to repeat her endlessly repeated false mantras about Iran during the this interview. Have never heard Gross have a Palestinian on her program. She persistently uses her program to promote her “people” and her views about the I/P conflict. Someone like Fair could do a study focused on Gross and her biases.

    Also former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer has an important piece up about US middle east policies at “Non Intervention”

    • annie
      annie on April 3, 2012, 1:49 pm

      kathleen, can’t you locate that ‘show all comments’ link to the left underneath the tweet/share features? just click on it.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen on April 3, 2012, 1:51 pm

        Thanks. But why do this? Does this save more bandwidth or something? What is the reason for this change?

      • annie
        annie on April 3, 2012, 3:02 pm

        i have no idea kathleen, i believe there are several threads where the topic is being discussed or you could just write phil and adam or ask alex. there’s only so much i have to say about something i know nothing about. just thought i would assist you in directing you to that link.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen on April 3, 2012, 3:14 pm

        thought I would ask. Know you asked yesterday for the show all comments potential.

        Ted Turner “Israel has nukes” US being unfair with Iran. Look at the feature right next to the you tube video. Stop Iran

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen on April 3, 2012, 3:57 pm

        Ted Turner’s heroes: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King. Would like to see the ‘world at peace” Get rid of nukes
        Damn hippie

  4. piotr
    piotr on April 3, 2012, 1:51 pm

    This is indeed Apartheid. If I recall, Arabic part of Hebron is in Area A, where Israeli’s are not allowed without a permit. A leftist Jew apprehended in Hebron can be captured by Palestinian police and I have read an account. After being politely sited in a police station the author of the account was plied with beverages and then transported to a point where he was handed to IDF, and received scolding.

    Palestinian police has full authority and should evict them in any way they deem proper. But of course the law is different for leftist Jews and for the settlers. One of the aspects of the Jewish State is that you are treated according to the quality of your Jewishness. Settlers are obviously ueber Juden and the leftist, unter Juden.

    On another matter: “Show comments” is easy to locate one can use browser search feature to search for “Show”.

    If one mucks with comment display, one can borrow the idea from DailyKos, personal filter where you can write user names whose comments you do not want to see (without extra clicks).

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen on April 3, 2012, 2:37 pm

      Area A,B,C. What a way to try to make apartheid sound innocuous. Like your headed for another area of an airport.

    • Charon
      Charon on April 3, 2012, 7:17 pm

      Hebron’s in Area A but it has a special agreement because of the settlers, so it’s split in to two. H1 and H2. H1 is under PA control like Area A. H2 is where the settlers live along with some Palestinians. They are subject to restrictions on movement due to potential ‘terror’ attacks.

      And yet the majority of terrorism has come from the Jewish settlers. There are only 80 or so families living there and they are all of the insanity variety of extremist. If Israel decided to disengage Hebron, the settlers would attack the IDF troops and declared independence. They are nuts.

      Netanyahu must not be very intelligent for stepping in. On one hand, Benny Begin and other revisionist Zionists would criticize him if he didn’t. On the other hand, this is viewed as a bad move by everybody else and the international community. Evicting them would be the right thing to do. Protecting them was a bad move. It’s almost like they are deliberately sinking their own ship.

      • annie
        annie on April 3, 2012, 7:56 pm

        it appears they are trying to expand the settler area charon, and then likely connect them. why else create a protected military zone around them?

  5. Kathleen
    Kathleen on April 3, 2012, 2:44 pm
    Saturday, April 24, 2010
    Soldiers Attack Nonviolent Protest In Hebron, Kidnap Four
    Israeli soldiers used excessive force against a nonviolent protest in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and kidnapped Four residents. The protest was organized against the ongoing closure of the Al Shuhada Street in Hebron.
    Approximately 100 protestors, including a number of Israeli and international peace activists, gathered near illegal settlement outposts installed by Jewish settlers….

    The protestors chanted for freedom, and demanded Israel to reopen the road so that the residents can move freely. They also demanded the evacuation of Jewish settlements and illegal outposts….

    • annie
      annie on April 3, 2012, 2:59 pm

      thanks kathleen, i believe that is recorded on the front page of MW right now in the video (check my very last link in this article/re ‘juxtaposition’).

  6. Mayhem
    Mayhem on April 3, 2012, 8:11 pm

    Sorry to disappoint the perennial Israel bashers, but late-night cabinet meeting decided to evacuate controversial Hebron house and settlement in the Beit El neighborhood as well.

  7. Fredblogs
    Fredblogs on April 3, 2012, 9:08 pm

    I think they should evict them now. If they need military permission to buy and they didn’t get it, go arrest ’em. Giving them 30 days is stupid, if they moved in with their stuff with a reasonable belief that it was their house that would be one thing, but even if they thought they had bought it from the legitimate owner instead of from a part owner, then they still had no reason to think they had the military’s permission. Let them sue the part owner if he misrepresented that he was the full owner. Assuming the part owner doesn’t get executed for selling to Jews of course.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on April 3, 2012, 10:37 pm

    HAARETZ: Israeli cabinet decides to evacuate controversial Hebron house; Eviction slated to take place by April 25.
    LINK –

  9. FreddyV
    FreddyV on April 4, 2012, 2:49 am

    A civilian talking on a phone with a machine gun strapped to him and a Palestinian kid 5 feet from him.

    Pretty disturbing image.

  10. annie
    annie on April 4, 2012, 11:38 am

    i’m shocked (really)
    Hebron settlers evicted from house

    • seafoid
      seafoid on April 4, 2012, 12:34 pm

      Jewish settlers don’t look good on TV. Especially the Hebron Jews.
      Israel has a PR challenge. Zionism is harder to sell than a yeast infection and it needs the brownie points.

    • Fredblogs
      Fredblogs on April 4, 2012, 1:46 pm

      Israel apparently follows the rule of law. I think the fact that you are shocked (if you aren’t kidding) says more about you than it does about them.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on April 4, 2012, 4:56 pm

        “Israel apparently follows the rule of law”


        You should watch this video. A guy from Coney Island discusses the attitude of Israel to international law on Danish TV .

      • annie
        annie on April 5, 2012, 3:31 am

        thanks for the video seafoid. slam dunk.

      • piotr
        piotr on April 5, 2012, 4:30 am

        “apparently” is the operative word.

        It came to the attention of Polish press that “local IDF commander is the Law” in those parts, so it stands to reason that whatever he does, is legal. IDF was suppose to investigate if the settlers got all required legal documents. It was leaked to the press that one of the documents was a permit issued by IDF, so the issue boiled down to that: how long should IDF investigate if it did issue that permit or did not?

        Clearly, the proper procedure should be to give settlers some time, say a year, to thoroughly check all their cabinets, sock drawers, attics, basements, dumpsters, Library of Vatican etc. where the mislaid document could be. but someone shortcut the process by making a query in the computer system of IDF if the lost document was ever produced.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on April 5, 2012, 8:48 am

        “It came to the attention of Polish press that “local IDF commander is the Law””

        Of course it is. The word of der Fuehrer is always the law in a fascist state.

      • pjdude
        pjdude on April 5, 2012, 1:58 am

        For once but they routinely allow their own laws to be violated

  11. Winnica
    Winnica on April 4, 2012, 3:36 pm

    Indeed, astonishing. If one subscribes to the standard Mondoweiss narratives. If one doesn’t, not so very astonishing.

    The question is what the author and commentors will now do with the astonishing fact. Will they ask themselves how to fit it into the narrative? Might they ponder if there’s a flaw in the narrative? Or will they simply go silent on this point, and carry on in the future as if this crack never appeared in the wall?

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