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Peace Now Loses Appeal to Expel Hevron Jews

The High Court has rejected a Peace Now appeal to expel Jews from a military base in Hevron, where they have been living for more than 20 years.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 1/17/2010, 5:02 PM / Last Update: 1/17/2010, 5:16 PM

The High Court Sunday rejected a Peace Now petition filed a year and half ago that Jews be expelled from a military base in Hevron. The justices pointed out that the base was established 25 years ago, and that Jewish civilians have been living in part of the compound for 20 years. The government sided with the Jewish residents, arguing that Peace Now’s appeal came 20 years too late.

The court remarked that the situation of civilians living on a military base was known two decades ago and that the anti-nationalist organization was at fault for waiting so long to complain. The judges accepted the government’s view that the Arab leaders of Hevron as well as Arabs who might try to claim ownership of the land, and not Peace Now, are the parties that would logically have filed an appeal.

Peace Now claimed that the IDF established the base in the center of Hevron as an excuse for Jews to live there. The area formerly was designated as the central bus depot of the city, according to the original appeal filed in July 2008.

Their appeal also claimed, “The laws of war set a principle of separation, whereby it is forbidden to mix combatants and civilians. Where this occurs, the settlers' residency in a military base makes them legitimate targets.”

Peace Now attorney Michael Sfard argued that Peace Now has the right to petition the Court “as a part of the Israeli body politic, all of whom are involved in the political debate regarding the settlement in Hevron.” Before the hearing, its attorneys said that the court must “forbid the Israeli government from acting illegally or find a juridical excuse to pass this hot potato.”