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      Arabs Take Over Courtyard of Beit HaMachpela

      Hevron’s Beit HaMachpela apartment building, located at the foot of Cave of the Patriarchs, is once again amid controversy.
      By Kochava Rozenbaum
      First Publish: 9/10/2013, 9:13 AM

      Aerial shot of courtyard in Beit Machpelah
      Aerial shot of courtyard in Beit Machpelah
      Shlomo Levinger

      While the Jewish owners who legally purchased the land of Beit HaMachpela, adjacent to the Cave of Machpela (Patriarchs), were ordered to leave their homes, it appears that the Arab neighbors have illegally taken over the yard next to the building.

      Mayors from Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron) discovered this on Monday during a visit held in the ancient Jewish city of Hevron. 

      A military appeals court legally validated in last July that the Jews who purchased the three story building, known as Beit HaMachpela, in 2012 did so legally. 

      A resident of Hevron, Shlomo Levinger, said that "during the visit, it was discovered that Arabs who live near the property had taken over the yard and made it as their own."

      Malachi Levinger, the Mayor of Kiryat Arba, also took part in the visit to Hevron and stated that the development was a direct result of the government policy that denies property rights of Jewish owners in Hevron, thus backing the Arabs who seek to keep the Jews from their land.

      In August 2012 former Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the removal of the residents who purchased the building, despite a request by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to allow the judicial process to proceed and determine the course of events. 

      In response to the order, Hevron residents urged the Israeli government to "respect the decision of the judges of the Appeals Committee who have just decided on the validity and integrity of the acquisition transaction and immediately approved the Jewish buyers, who paid in full, to go home today."