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Israeli court rules to evict settlers from Palestinian-owned home

April 22, 2019 4:19 P.M. (Updated: April 30, 2019 12:51 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- An Israeli court ordered the eviction of Israeli settlers from a Palestinian-owned home that they held illegally since 2005 in Hebron City, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, on Monday.

Hebrew-language news outlets reported that the Jerusalem Magistrate Court rejected claims by Israeli settlers, stating that given their "long occupation" of the property and their investments to improve it, the home should remain theirs.

The court rejected the claims and ordered the Israeli settlers to pay the Palestinian family 580,000 shekels ($161,000) as compensation for the years it was held illegally by the settlers.

The legal owners, the Bakri family, were represented by attorney, Samer Shehadeh, who confirmed that the Israeli settlers were appealing the court ruling.

The home is located in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, in the center of Hebron City, and sits on 0.75 acres of land.

Palestinian residents in Hebron said that Tal Construction & Investments LTD., the company which bought the home based on forged documents, is registered as a Jordanian company, however, is operated by Israeli settlers who aim to promote illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank.

Tal Construction bought the Hebron home in 2005 from Hani al-Batash, who claimed to have legal rights over the property, for $300,000 and handed it over to Israeli families.

Nevertheless, Israeli police launched an investigation into the issue and determined that the documents used during the transaction were forged and that al-Batash was not the legal owner of the property.

The area of Tel Rumeida has long been a flash-point for tensions between Palestinians and Israeli settlers and military, as it is located near illegal Israeli settlements whose residents are notoriously aggressive toward Palestinians.

Tel Rumeida is located within the area of the city designated as H2, an area taking over the bulk of Hebron's Old City that is under full Israeli military control, and the site of five illegal Israeli settlements which continually expand into surrounding Palestinian neighborhoods.

The Israeli-controlled H2 area is home to 30,000 Palestinians and around 800 Israeli settlers who live under the protection of Israeli forces.

Some 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers now live under the protection of the Israeli military in the Old City of Hebron, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

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