Video: Expulsion from Beit HaMachpela
Video of Wednesday's expulsion of 15 families from Beit Hamachpela ("House of the Patriarchs") shows several busloads of border police were employed.
"They took our home before Passover!" one little girl who was expelled can be seen crying in the video.
The expulsion violated an agreement between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Ministers Benny Begin and Moshe Yaalon to delay action on the issue until April 26 – after the Passover holiday.
Netanyahu had previously said the expulsion was on hold until the legal facts of the case could be established.
An unconfirmed report in the Hebrew-language Maariv indicated Netanyahu consented to the Defense Minister's face-heel turn late Tuesday evening after Barak told him it was "necessary for security reasons."
However, Barak subsequently told reporters on Wednesday that he refused to delay and allow the residents to "create facts on the ground."
His comments lead credence to charges from Likud lawmakers that Barak – whose independence party has yet to poll well enough to be seated in the Knesset should elections be held – is seeking to use the eviction as an electoral ploy.
The sudden and unexpected expulsion created a furor in the Likud-ruled coalition and has raised calls for Netanyahu to remove all authority over Judea and Samaria from Barak.
Minister of Strategic Affairs, Moshe Yaalon, who was a party to the now-broken deal by Barak, said “The Defense Minister is confrontational with the government and the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria."
He added, "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."