Passover 2014: Transfer Policy in Hebron Reinforced by the Israeli Defense Minister
Yuli Novak, Breaking the Silence Executive Director, 0544309810
Yehuda Shaul, Breaking the Silence Foreign Relations Director, 0508266289
13 April 2014 – Forty-six years after the Passover of 1968 when the first settlement was established in Hebron, the Minister of Defense has approved the establishment of a new settlement (known as the “House of Contention” or “Rajabi House”) the day before Passover.
Six hundred and fifty IDF soldiers and border policemen defend the extremist settlements in Hebron today. As soldiers who served in the city, we know a new Hebron settlement will require the deployment of additional troops to conduct missions including closing down roads, shutting down shops, and instilling a sense of being pursued among the local Palestinian inhabitants. The significance of populating the “House of Contention” must be recognized as another submission to extremist groups and an acceleration of the silent transfer of Palestinians from Hebron’s city center.
The settlers of Hebron announced today, April 13th, 2014, that they will celebrate the coming Passover in the new settlement. This occurred in the wake of the Israeli Defense Minister’s approval of the settlers’ entry into the house, as required by military law in the Occupied Territories. About a month ago, after seven years of litigation in various courts, the Israeli Supreme Court held that the rights to the Rajabi House were transferred to the settlers of Hebron. The court also decided that the transfer of possession of the property and the settlers’ entry to it would require the approval of the political echelon, specifically the Minister of Defense.
The significance of establishing a new settlement in Hebron:
- This will be the first new settlement established inside Hebron since the 1980s.
- Populating the house will dramatically increase the number of Israeli settlers living inside the city.
- Similar to what occurred in the vicinity of the other Hebron settlements, the establishment of a settlement will have a direct impact upon the Palestinian population living in the city: restrictions upon freedom of movement, restrictions upon commerce, the closure of roads, and the shutdown of shops.
- As the court explained, the “House of Contention” is located on the route linking Kiryat Arba and Hebron. This means that the erection of a new settlement here strengthens the continuity of settlement between Kiryat Arba and Hebron while creating a new area where some of the most stringent restrictions in the West Bank will be imposed upon Palestinians.