The Israeli Civil Administration Office in the occupied West Bank decided not to grant a group of settlers a permit to purchase a Palestinian home near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The settlers occupied Al-Rajabi six months ago, and claimed that they purchased it from its owners. The settlers now have the option of contesting the ruling at the Israeli Military Court of Appeals.
Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that the Civil Administration told the settlers that the decision was made due to faults found in the purchase agreement.
Six months ago, a group of settlers broke into the home after claiming that they bought it; several ministers of the extremist government coalition of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, showed support to the settlers, and even visited them in the occupied property.
Back then, Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak of the Labor Party, told Netanyahu that he must remove the settlers, and a few days later, the army evicted the settlers while Netanyahu promised to examine the legality of the claimed purchase within a month.
Haaretz said that, on Wednesday, the Civil Administration announced its decision that came after six months of examinations, and decided that the purchase was illegal.
An Israeli official in charge of the file said that the Civil Administration and the army examined the documents that were presented by the settlers, and found out that the deal has several holes in it, including the fact that the purchase was not approved by all heirs, in addition to the fact that the settlers built additional rooms in the contested property without obtaining a permit.
The claimed purchase deal is also vague when it comes to explaining which part of the house was actually purchased.
Also, as a power of attorney for the sale took place in the Palestinian embassy in Jordan, which is not recognized by Israeli law, in addition to the fact that Israel does not recognize Palestine as a state, therefore, does not recognize its embassies.
On Wednesday, Israeli deputy Prime Minister, Moshe Yaalon, visited the settlers in Hebron after the Civil Administration ruled against the purchase. The visit was seen as a clear message of support to the settlers who are pressuring the Netanyahu government to approve the purchase.
On Thursday, September 13, the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem ruled that the home belongs to the settlers, and ordered the Palestinian owner to pay 50.000 NIS in legal fees.
The court ruling claimed that the settlers gained ownership of the home using legal means, and that the claims of the Palestinian owner, Fayez Al-Rajabi, that he voided the deal before it was concluded have no legal basis.