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Israeli forces evacuate Hebron home turned into military post

Aug. 1, 2017 5:53 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 2, 2017 1:28 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces evacuated a Palestinian house in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday after reportedly using it as a military outpost for a week.

Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC) Director General Imad Hamdan told Ma'an that the group's legal department had submitted a complaint to the Israeli army's legal adviser after Israeli forces took over a home belonging to the Shweiki family in Hebron’s Old City last week.

The two-story, 80-square-meter building in the Qaytoun area of the Old City overlooks Shuhada Street and the old farmers’ market -- which have been almost completely deserted since Israel installed stringent restrictions on Palestinian movement in the area.

Hamdan said that HRC had obtained an evacuation order from the army, leading Israeli forces to vacate the building, which hosts a glass workshop.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they were looking into the reports.

Hebron Mayor Taysir Abu Sneineh applauded HRC for its legal role trying to prevent Israeli forces and settlers from taking over Palestinian homes in the city.

Abu Sneineh went on to say that "the Israeli occupation and its settlers have been reacting violently since the Old City (of Hebron) and the Ibrahimi Mosque have gained international heritage status" -- referring to a recent UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) vote to inscribe the sites on the World Heritage in Danger list.

The evacuation of the temporary military outpost comes as dozens of Israeli settlers have raided and occupied a Palestinian home in the Old City, despite an ongoing legal battle between the Palestinian homeowners and Israelis.

Some 6,500 Palestinians and 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers live in the Old City of Hebron, according to a 2016 report by legal rights NGO BADIL.

Palestinian residents of the Old City face a large Israeli military presence on a daily basis, with at least 32 permanent and partial checkpoints set up at the entrances of many streets.

Additionally, Palestinians are not allowed to drive on al-Shuhada street, have had their homes and shops on the street welded shut, and in some areas of the Old City, are not permitted to walk on certain roads.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers move freely on the street, drive cars, and carry machine guns.

Palestinian activists and rights groups have long accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.
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