The Israeli state prosecutor demanded on Tuesday an extension to the period given by the Israeli high court of Justice to the army to justify the army decision to close schools and orphanages in the southern west Bank city of Hebron.

On 25 February 2008, the General of Command (GOC) of the Israeli army issued closure, evacuation and confiscation orders on properties and institutions funded by the Islamic Charitable Society based in Hebron city.

Three schools and two orphanages serving 7000 children, 300 of whom are living in the Society buildings, faced an April 1 deadline for the closure.

Last week the Society went to the Israeli high court of Justice, which on April 2 had allotted the Israeli military four days to give the High Court full justification for the closure and evacuation. At the end of the period which ended Monday, the army did not justify the closure order and instead demanded more time on Tuesday.

Abed al-kareem Farrah, the legal advisor of the Islamic Charitable Society, told IMEMC that the army said that the society is supporting the Hamas movement in the city. Farrah added that the Society is a Palestinian charitable organization with no political agenda.

The Islamic Charitable Society, based in Hebron, was founded in 1962, and worked under Jordanian rule until 1967, followed by Israel and now the Palestinian Authority. Farrah said that the organization is monitored regularly by the Palestinian Authority and has all legal documents required by the PA to be able to function legitimately.

If the Israeli army shut down the organization and its projects in the city of Hebron, sources at the Society told IMEMC that 300 orphans will have no place other than street to sleep, and at least 850 employees will end up without jobs.