Israeli settlers occupy Palestinian building in Hebron

In the early evening of 19 March 2007, TIPH observed approximately one hundred Israeli settlers occupying an empty Palestinian building at Patriarchs' Hill in Hebron, claiming they had bought the house. A Palestinian man also claims he is the owner of the building and that he had to take necessary measures to verify the legal ownership of the property. As long as the ownership is disputed, no one should be allowed to take possession of the house. (Hebron 20.03.2007)

Hebron 20.03.2007: TIPH outside the house in HebronIn the early evening of 19 March 2007, TIPH observed approximately one hundred Israeli settlers occupying an empty Palestinian building at Patriarchs’ Hill in Hebron. The settlers were carrying sleeping bags and furniture into the building in the presence of Police, Border Police and IDF. Additionally, high ranking IDF officers were present.

The IDF informed TIPH that the settlers had bought the building from the Palestinian owner and had a document to prove the ownership. TIPH was denied to verify the alleged contract.

A Palestinian man, who is said to be owner of the property, stated to TIPH that he had not sold the building to anyone and that he had all the documents to prove that he was still the owner. He has already filed a complaint to the Israeli Police.

The building was previously occupied by IDF. Several TIPH reports have been submitted about this matter to the Israeli authorities.

TIPH is closely monitoring the development in this case and is currently inquiring to obtain copies of the documentation regarding ownership, and alleged sale, of the building.

TIPH urges the Israeli authorities on all levels to take necessary measures to verify the legal ownership of the property. As long as the ownership is disputed, no one should be allowed to take possession of the house.

– TIPH urges the IDF to evacuate the settlers from the building to avoid that new facts of the ground are being established, TIPH Head of Mission Karl-Henrik Sjursen says.

– This action of the settlers can be seen by the Palestinians as an unnecessary provocation in an already tense environment. It might have serious consequences for the security situation in the city, TIPH Head of Mission Karl-Henrik Sjursen adds.