Netanyahu Seeks to Return Evicted Residents to Chevron Houses

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Jewish settlers carry their belongings after they were forcibly removed by Israeli troops from homes, in the West Bank city of Hebron, January 22, 2016. Israeli troops forcibly removed Jewish settlers from homes they said they had purchased from Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Friday, prompting some right-wing Israeli lawmakers to threaten to withhold support for the government. Ministers and members of parliament from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party decried Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon's refusal to sign off on the settlers' occupation of the homes in Hebron, a city of high tension between Israelis and Palestinians. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
Jewish men carrying their belongings after being forcibly removed by IDF troops from homes in Chevron, last Friday. (Reuters/Mussa Qawasma)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday, at the weekly cabinet meeting, that he would allow Jews evicted by the IDF from two houses in Chevron to return – once proper permits were in place.

About 80 people were removed from Chevron on Friday, a day after Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon withheld his required approval of their occupancy in the apartments.

The group said that it had bought the homes from Palestinian owners. But Ya’alon said they had failed to seek permission from Israeli authorities to move in and were thus considered trespassing.

On Friday a Netanyahu aide said that the prime minister supported Ya’alon’s decision to evict the residents, a step that drew criticism from several MKs of the coalition parties and threats to withhold support in parliamentary votes. Yet the aide also noted that the buyers could take up residency again, after completing the necessary paperwork.

In public remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said his government “supports the settlements” in Yehudah and Shomron, and would expedite an examination of the residents’ case.

“The moment that the purchase process is authorized, we will allow the population of the two houses in Chevron,” Netanyahu said, confirming his aide’s remarks.