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Jewish settlers evicted from Hebron home

JERUSALEM  (JTA) — Jewish settlers were evicted from a home near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron without incident.

Israeli security forces on Wednesday evacuated the Jewish families from the home they had entered a week ago. The evacuation reportedly took only a few moments.

The evacuation was carried out on the orders of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

"I will continue to act in order to maintain the rule of law and democracy while guaranteeing the authority of the State over its citizens," Barak said in a statement following the evacuation.

"Any request to acquire the relevant buying permit or any other transactions will be dealt with professionally and impartially, as is the practice. However, we cannot allow a situation where unlawful actions are taken to determine or dictate ad-hoc facts to the authorities."

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top government ministers including Barak and Benny Begin had decided that the settlers would be removed from the home by April 26 if they could not prove that they had legally purchased and moved into the house. The Israeli officials’ meeting occurred hours after a mid-afternoon deadline for the settlers to leave the home passed with no consequences.

The eviction order issued Monday afternoon by the Israeli military’s Civil Administration said the settlers’ presence in the home violates public order. The residents of the home also did not request nor receive a required purchase permit from the Civil Administration.

That evening, Netanyahu asked Barak for a delay of the eviction until the settlers had an opportunity to prove in court their ownership of the house. Armed with documents that say they purchased the home from its Arab owner, the Jewish families entered the home in the middle of the night on March 28.

Hebron Mayor Khaled Osaily told Army Radio on Tuesday that the sale papers are forged and that the person who sold the house to the Jewish settlers is not the owner.

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