Report: Arab Mayor Convicted of Murder to Petition Israeli High Court Against Chevron Construction

Me’aras Hamachpelah.

Leaders of the Jewish community in Chevron demanded that the government prepare now for the likelihood that a plan to build dozens of new homes for Jews in the town will be challenged by Arabs in the High Court. “The mayor of Arab Chevron is an evil murderer,” a spokesperson for the Jewish community said. “He has the blood of six Jews on his hands, and he used the facts of his murders to get elected in his campaign. We expect the government of Israel to prevent this murderer from attempting to halt construction of homes for Jews by using the institutions of the state he is fighting to destroy.”

Tayseer Abu Sneinah was elected mayor of Chevron this year as representative of the Fatah list. He is one of four terrorists who was convicted for murdering six yeshivah students and wounding 16 others in 1980, Hy”d. The four, including Abu Sneinah, were sentenced to life in prison, but were eventually released in various deals and “gestures” by the Israeli government. The victims included Tzvi Glatt (an American citizen), Eli HaZe’ev, Shmuel Marmelstein, Hanan Krauthhammer, Gershon Klein and Ya’akov Zimmerman.

Some 20,000 Jews visited Chevron on Monday for a simchas beis hasho’evah, with the entire Me’aras Hamachpelah available for Jews to daven in, including the usually off-limits Ulam Yitzchak. The event came hours after government officials confirmed a report that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had given the green light for the construction of thousands of new homes in Yehudah and Shomron – many of them in “isolated” settlements, as well as in Chevron.

The decision comes after Netanyahu came to an agreement on the construction with American officials. The official construction process will begin next week, at a meeting of the Civil Administration’s Executive Planning Council, which is responsible for building plans in Yehudah and Shomron. Among the projects to be approved: Construction of 129 homes in Avnei Chefetz, in northern Shomron; 300 homes in Beit El, north of Yerushalayim; 158 in Kfar Etzion; 102 in towns in the southern Chevron Hills; 206 in Tekoa, at the eastern end of Gush Etzion; 97 in Rechalim, near the central Shomron city of Ariel; and 48 in Maale Michmash, north of Yerushalayim. In addition, after allowing construction of four buildings in the past 20 years in the Jewish area of Hevron, the planning board next week will authorize construction of 30 new apartments.

Reports in the Arab media Tuesday said that the Chevron municipality would appeal to the High Court to prevent the construction. According to the reports, the municipality has already contacted attorneys and is preparing a petition that will seek an injunction against the plan. Such injunctions have been issued against previous attempts by Israel to build in Chevron, with the court often delaying construction for years. Over the past 20 years, no more than four new buildings have been constructed in the Jewish area of Chevron, adjacent to Me’aras Hamchpelah.

Deputy Defense Minister, who attended events in Hevron on Monday, said that “Hashem willing the government will next week present a plan that will authorize construction of dozens of new homes in Hevron. The Jewish community will develop and grow, and our connection and attachment to Hevron will ensure that we can retain the heartland of Israel in Judea, Binyamin, and Samaria.”