State attorneys have told the High Court that the families which currently occupy the Beit Hamachpela building in Chevron have seven days to vacate the premises, according to media reports on Monday.
“The group of Israelis who entered the building in July have to evacuate it,” the prosecutor’s office said. In the interim, the state hopes to persuade the 15 families to leave peacefully.
The families entered the building, located across a parking lot from Me’aras Hamachpelah, after losing patience with five years of litigation to press their claim to have purchased it from Palestinian owners. They were forcibly ejected in 2012 and agreed to keep off the property until they were able to register it with the Civil Administration. Last month they moved in, claiming that the IDF had in effect given them permission and they did not need to wait until completion of the registration proceedings.
The Prime Minister’s Office and the Attorney-General’s Office reportedly held a number of meetings to explore avenues which would allow them to legally remain in the building.
The state has maintained that they will be able to live there once they have completed the registration process, a position the families reject.
“The state’s position is unfounded and has no basis in law,” a spokesperson for the families said. The law does not require registration before possession, the spokesperson said.