As peace talks teeter, three families move into what will be the first new settlement in Hebron since the 1980s – with the full support and blessing of the army.
Three Israeli settler families moved into a contested home in the West Bank Palestinian city of Hebron, following a years-long legal battle and culminating on Sunday with the authorization of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. The new, fortress-like building signifies the first new settlement in Hebron since the 1980s.
The building in question, which is strategically placed between the Old City of Hebron and the major Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, can house some 20 families.
Palestinians claim that the property was purchased using forged documents, but Israel’s Supreme Court rejected that claim. Settlers buy Palestinian land through straw companies, the most famous of which is named Al Wattan (homeland in Arabic). (Read more about fraudulent settler land purchase tactics here.)
The army on Sunday was present for the settlers’ move-in to the building, which Palestinians call the Rajbi building and settlers call the “Peace House” and “House of Contention.” The move was to designed to allow the settlers to move in on time to hold a Passover seder on Monday night, although the timing in relation to the peace process should not be written off entirely.
The move-in was not only protected by the Israeli army; soldiers even helped connect the building to a water supply, an act of compassion and free labor that thousands of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley and south Hebron Hills could only dream of.
Along with being one of the ugliest examples of military occupation, and one of its only urban instances, Hebron is often times portrayed as “complicated” because it was a...Read More