Israeli security forces evacuate settlers from Hebron house

IDF says that the evacuation of the settlers, who resided in the house for more than two weeks, was completed ‘without any unusual events.’

Israeli security forces on Wednesday evacuated Israeli settlers from a house in a Palestinian neighborhood in Hebron, an affair that sparked controversy across Israel and created a rift in the government.

Border Patrol - Hebron

Border Patrol Police outside of the house in Hebron - Photo by: Emil Salman

The IDF said that the evacuation of the settlers, who resided in the house for more than two weeks, was completed “without any unusual events.”

Earlier on Wednesday, defense officials said that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and a ministerial committee agreed that the house will be evacuated by April 26.

Disagreements whether to evacuate the settlers caused a fiery debate inside the government.

Ya’alon, who participated in the special ministerial meeting on Tuesday night, criticized Barak’s decision and said that authority over issues regarding Judea and Samaria settlements must be taken away from Barak, and given to a committee of ministers. “Barak is not solving any problems or signing any urban building plans.”

“Ehud Barak is acting against the government and against the settlements in Judea and Samaria, all that he is doing is fanning the flames,” Ya’alon said Wednesday during a closed discussion.

“It is imperative to check that the settler’s documents of sale are not counterfeit. If it turns out that they are in order, the purchase must be approved and the settlers allowed entry. This is not a national, or a defense issues, the property rights need to be checked. Why does the defense minister claim that such a check will take weeks when it can be done in a few days?”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak fired back at Ya’alon on Wednesday, claiming that the deputy prime minister is making comments against him out of political considerations.

“Unfortunately, Minister Ya’alon is combining cheap political concerns with defense decisions, harming the government’s ability to protect democracy and law and order,” officials close to Barak said.

A senior defense official with knowledge of the details of the meeting explained that a decision was reached to evacuate the house if in fact it has been occupied illegally, considering the fact that settlers entered the house without the proper permits from the Civil Administration.

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By Amos Harel