Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon slammed Defense Minister Ehud Barak over the issue of the sale of Beit Hamachpela in Hevron, and has called to prevent him from dealing with it.
According to a report in Ma’ariv, Ya’alon made the comments during a meeting in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office on Tuesday night, as well as behind closed doors on Wednesday morning.
“The Defense Minister is confrontational on the government and the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria,” Ya’alon was quoted by Ma’ariv as having said. “All he does is light fires. His mandate for dealing with communities in Judea and Samaria should be revoked and given to ministerial staff. He does not solve problems and does not sign zoning plans.”
During his meeting on Tuesday night with Ya’alon, Barak and Minister Benny Begin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly decided that Beit Hamachpela will be evacuated by April 26.
A source involved in the meeting told Channel 10 that legal experts who attended the meeting announced that, if owners are unable to prove they bought the house legally, it will be evacuated within 30 days from the date of entry, unless they leave on their own initiative.
Ya’alon, who admitted that the legality of the sale should be examined, said that such an examination can be done quickly and accused Barak of deliberately stalling the proceedings.
“I do not know why the Defense Minister says that an examination of the sale will take weeks when it can be done in just a few days,” Ma’ariv quoted Ya’alon as having said. “In the meantime we can let the IDF guard the house. But the Defense Minister prefers to stall the proceedings, not only in Hevron but in other places around Judea and Samaria as well. He acts against government policies and hurts us and our ability to solve problems.”
Ya’alon’s criticism of Barak follows several other Likud lawmakers who have charged the Defense Minister of seeking to use the issue as an electoral ploy – his Independence party continues to poll beneath the requisite threshold to be seated should elections be held.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) visited the home on Tuesday morning and said that he is convinced Jews will continue to live in it.
"Had someone said that the purchase was illegal, that would have been a different situation," he said. "There is no extraordinary security situation here that forces the eviction. As long as everything was done legally, an Israeli government headed by Likud has to encourage settlement."