JERUSALEM (Mar. 13)
Tight security measures taken to protect the renovated Hadassah building in Hebron, soon to be occupied by Jewish settlers, do not constitute harassment of Arab shop-owners there, according to Mai. Gen. Ehud Barak, commander of the central region. Barak submitted a written statement to the Supreme Court in reply to complaints by Arab merchants that they were being harassed by the army.
Ten Arab-owned shops occupy space on the ground floor of the building. The Israel Defense Force in recent weeks erected fences around the shops and soldiers check every customer. The IDF says the precaution is aimed against possible sabotage of the building. The shopkeepers maintained in a petition to the court that their business suffered because customers do not want to undergo security checks. The high court reserved a decision on this matter.