“So Ephron’s land in Machpelah, near Mamre—the field with its cave and all the trees anywhere within the confines of that field—passed to Avraham as his possession, in the presence of the Hittites, of all who entered the gate of his town.” Genesis 23:17-18)
In a strange twist, the Israeli Supreme Court kicked Jews out of a house they claim they purchased in Hebron, while the Palestinian Authority (PA) has no doubts: the Arab who sold the house to the Jews is being charged with selling the house to Jews, a crime punishable by death.
The State Attorney’s Office decided on Wednesday night to order the eviction of 15 families, comprising over 100 people, who moved into a building in Hebron last July. The families claim that they are the legal owners of Machpela House, so named because it is in close proximity to the Cave of the Patriarchs. But the Israeli High Court has rejected their claim and told them to vacate the property.
Yishai Fleisher, the international spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hebron, pointed out the glaring proof the purchase was legitimate.
“The previous owner, an officer in the Palestinian security forces, sold the house to the Jews at an exorbitant price,” Fleisher told Breaking Israel News. “He took the money and bought a palace in Ramallah thinking his protexia (influence) would protect him. He was arrested and charged with the crime of selling the property to the Jews.”
The former security officer has been charged and is awaiting sentencing, with the official penalty being the death penalty.
“According to the Palestinian Authority, the sale was a good sale,” Fleisher posits.
“The house is in an area that is legal for Jews to live in,” Fleisher noted. “Because it is across the street from the parking lot for the Machpelah (Cave of the Patriarchs), there are no extra or even extraordinary security requirements.
Shlomo Levinger, one of the owners of the house, agreed with Fleisher, noting that the PA’s testimony was more than implicit.
“When we bought the house, we knew from experience that this kind of thing might happen, so, through proxies, we got the PA’s official stamp on the sale,” Levinger told Breaking Israel News. Levinger was clear on the motivations behind the baseless legal hassle.
“If this was a house being sold anywhere else in the world, it would be legal and the owners would have moved in immediately,” Levinger stated unequivocally. “If this house was being sold to another person who wasn’t Jewish, it wouldn’t be questioned. In Israel, any Arab is believed when he says he owns the land, even if he has no proof at all. Only in Israel are Jews told that they cannot live in certain neighborhoods. It is a racist policy.”
“Can you imagine if this happened in the United States?” he asked rhetorically.
The nongovernmental organization representing the Hebron families, Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent, said it was disturbing that the state had chosen to continue to oppose the families’ residence in the building despite documentation proving the legality of the purchase.
The lawyer for the Abu Rajab family, Samer Shihadih, said he welcomes the state’s decision to evict the Jews, adding that he believed that in the end, “justice would come to light.”