Israelis look to reclaim more of Hebron

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Jewish settlers in Judea are looking to buy two more properties adjacent to a house they recently purchased in Hebron that has become the source of an international controversy.

A settler group says it bought the strategically located "Peace House" from its original Palestinian owners earlier this year via a third party in Jordan, and has provided legal documents to that effect.

The two other houses Ha'aretz reported the settlers are trying to acquire would give them a firm base from which to eventually create continuity between the Jewish neighborhoods of Hebron and the nearby Jewish town of Kiryat Arba.

But Defense Minister Amir Peretz has ordered the IDF to forcibly evict dozens of Jewish youth who have taken up temporary residence in the unfinished Peace House, threatening to foil the settlers' overall plans for the area.

The youths moved into the structure after learning that local Palestinians planned to retake the property.

Subsequently, at least two different Palestinians came forward claiming to be the owners of the house, and denying they had ever sold it to the Jews.

Several days later, the Palestinian Authority arrested a man suspected of being the actual former owner on charges of violating a long-standing law against selling property to Jews. The penalty for breaking that law is death.

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