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Israeli soldiers talk about the occupied territories
  
March 12, 2014

The Supreme Court Ruled: Establishing a New Settlement in Hebron is a Political Decision

Close to seven hundred IDF soldiers and border policemen secure the extremist settlements in Hebron today. As soldiers who served in the city, we know that the establishment of a new settlement there will require more troops dedicated to the blocking of roads, the closing of shops, and the development of a “sense of being pursued” among the local Palestinian inhabitants.

Today, on March 11th, 2014, after seven years of litigation in various courts, the Supreme Court ruled that the rights to Hebron’s Rajabi House (also known as the “brown house” or the “house of contention”) will be given to the settlers. The court also held that the transfer of ownership and permission to enter the property requires approval from the political echelon – specifically, the Minister of Defense.

We call on the Minister of Defense not to surrender to the settlers at our expense, as IDF soldiers.

The significance of the decision is a legal opportunity to establish a new settlement in Hebron:

  • Be the first new settlement established inside Hebron since the 1980s.
  • Involve a huge increase in the number of Israeli settlers living in this volatile area (potentially hundreds of new residents, bearing in mind that the present population of the Hebron settlements is around 850, total).
  • Be the first Israeli settlement in this particular part of Hebron.
  • Have the same impact on the ground as other settlements in the heart of Hebron, including new restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the area, including additional road closures and increased harassment of Palestinian residents by both settlers and IDF soldiers.
  • When tensions rise, it may lead to a total closure of the area to Palestinians (as is the case with Shuhada Street and its peripheries). This would mean the cutting off of neighborhoods from one another, the closing of shops and businesses, and increasing pressure on Palestinians to abandon the area altogether.

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