Where can Jews live in the Holy Land?

Monday, April 02, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

One of the often forgotten aspects of the Middle East peace process is that that Palestinian state the international community is trying to create must be completely devoid of Jews. Nowhere else in the world would such a condition be viewed as anything less than racist and anti-Semitic. Israel's antagonists justify this stipulation by alleging that Jews are regularly stealing property from the Palestinian Arabs. But the truth is that Jews cannot even legally purchase property in areas claimed by the Palestinians without causing a global uproar.

Case in point, international newspapers and cable news networks were abuzz last week after a few Jewish families moved into a building they had purchased adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs in the Judean city of Hebron.

Never mind that the Cave of the Patriarchs (burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah) and Hebron itself constitute Judaism's second holiest location on earth. The area is today dominated by a Palestinian Arab population, and therefore is viewed as off-limits to Jews.

The original Arab owner of the property was arrested and brought in for questioning by the Palestinian Authority, which in the past has permitted the extra-judicial execution of Palestinians who sold property to Jews. The Israeli government also stopped additional Jewish families from moving into the building until its current ownership could be clarified, which it later was when lawyers for the buyers met with the Israeli army's Civil Administration.

Despite the fact that the purchase of the property was verified as legal, the local Jewish families still had to await special permission from the political leadership in order to settle in the house. It is a cynical twist of fate that only in the land of their forefathers do Jews today require special political authorization to purchase homes and actually dwell in them. Decades ago such restrictions were condemned when enforced by the nations of Europe. Today they are called "politically correct" in the Land of Israel.

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