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Netanyahu’s About-Face on Hevron Expulsion

The Prime Minister had a last minute change of heart regarding the Machpelah House in Hevron, sources close to him explain.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/4/2012, 3:51 PM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the Knesset
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the Knesset
Israel news photo: Flash 90

While it appeared that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had defied Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in expelling Jews from the Machpelah House in Hevron, Netanyahu had in fact agreed to the expulsion. Sources close to the prime minister explained his reasoning Wednesday, speaking to Maariv/nrg.

Between Netanyahu’s declaration Tuesday evening that the eviction would be delayed and the expulsion early Wednesday afternoon, Barak met with Netanyahu and convinced him the expulsion was necessary, they said.

Barak argued that there was an immediate operational need to evict residents. He noted an opinion from Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein, who said the house should be cleared for legal reasons.

As soon as Barak said the eviction was necessary to security, Netanyahu gave his approval.

In the same conversation, the two discussed legalizing several Jewish communities in Binyamin and Samaria: Bruchin, Sansana, Rechalim and the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El.

The prime minister updated his cabinet following the conversation with Barak. During the Cabinet meeting he emphasized, “I am committed to the growth of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria in general, and to the Jewish community of Hevron in particular.”