Monday, November 24, 2008

'No Need to Evict Hevron Jews'

Hillel Fendel 'No Need to Evict Hevron Jews'

A former Supreme Court justice says that the media misled the public and Defense Minister Ehud Barak into thinking that the Supreme Court has ordered the evacuation of Jews from Peace House in Hevron.

Yaakov Turkel, who served as a Supreme Court Justice for ten years until 2005, says that the ruling in question does not order the State to evict the Jews, but rather allows them to do so. He spoke with Arutz-7's Shimon Cohen and Uzi Baruc he ruling in question was issued a week ago, and gave the Jews living in Peace House – a four-story structure along the road leading from Kiryat Arba into Hevron – three days to leave the building. After that period, the ruling states, “it will be possible to act in accordance with Squatters’ Evacuation Law.”

Turkel emphasizes that, unlike the media reports and announcements by Defense Minister Barak and other public officials, “the ruling does not obligate the State to act to evacuate the Jews, but rather gives them the freedom to decide whether to do so or not.”

The ruling, and the manner in which it was understood by the media and the public, aroused great opposition to the Supreme Court among the nationalist public, as well as great tensions in Hevron in anticipation of an Amona-like clash in the building.

The 20 families that live there, plus many more people who have arrived over the last few days - and especially for this past Sabbath, when the Torah portion of Patriarch Abraham's purchase of Hevron land is read aloud - began making preparations to try and rebuff security forces that may try to evict them.

Ruling States: Jews 'May' - not 'Must' - be Evicted

The Court ruled that the Jewish occupants “may” be removed, despite the fact that they had produced written, audio and video proof that the Arab owner had sold it to them.

“When the Defense Minister said he would abide by the Supreme Court ruling ordering the Jews’ eviction,” Turkel said, “this was very much not to my liking, since there was no such order… This misunderstanding has caused the great rift in the religious and right-wing’s trust in the Supreme Court.”

In light of Turkel's statements, it appears that Public Security Minister Avi Dichter of Kadima did not read the ruling. "The ruling is not a recommendation, and we will implement it exactly as written," he said last week, promising that within 30 days, no Jews would be living in the disputed building. "We have no intention of straying from the Supreme Court ruling, which is the law," he said.

Turkel: It Belongs in a Lower Court

Asked how he would have ruled if he had been on the judicial panel, Justice Turkel said, “I would have passed the matter down to the District Court, in light of the complexity of the case and the mutual claims of forgery. The District Court would then review the evidence and decide if an evacuation order should be issued before a final ruling.”

This is in keeping with long-standing practice that the Supreme Court does not rule on matters pertaining to civil disputes between individuals.

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