Buildings in Hevron
Buildings in HevronIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Hevron Jews have won a rare court victory that suspends an order to expel Jewish families from a building that an Arab claimed was sold illegally.

Jerusalem District Court Judge Ram Winograd ruled that a decision declaring that the building was sold through forgery does not mean that the residents can be expelled without a hearing.

In the latest case, the Jerusalem court had rejected the Tal Lebniya construction company’s declaration that it legally purchased the building from a third-party Arab.

The court accepted the alleged Arab owner’s claims that the sale of the building in Tel Rumeida may have been forged and that the purchaser was unable to provide enough details to prove its legality.

The building had been deserted in 2001, after the start of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War. The Jewish families moved in four years later after Tal Lebniya, owned by Moshe Zar, said it had purchased the property.

In the decision for a stay of execution of the expulsion order, Judge Winograd accepted the argument that the residents are innocent victims who had moved into their homes with full faith that the building had been legally purchased, as the buyers still claim. He said the expulsion order denies the residents' legal right to a hearing.

Jewish purchasers of homes have charged that Palestinian Authority Arabs have been using a method of deception to sell homes to Jews by using forged papers to show ownership. After the purchase, the Jewish buyers repair the homes and families move in, and then the real owner present documents showing that the structure belongs to them and was illegally sold.

The trick has worked at least twice. In 2006, Jews were kicked out of Beit Shapira. Six years later, the Jerusalem District Court has ordered that Jewish families be expelled from a second home within a month.