Machpela House, Hevron
Machpela House, Hevron Eliran Baruch

Residents living in the Machpela House in Hevron began evacuating the building Thursday, following a court ruling requiring them to leave the building until their ownership claims can be proven.

The evacuation comes after the High Court of Justice ruled earlier this month that the residents must leave until the ownership can be resolved. The house was purchased in 2012 by the Jewish residents who were quickly expelled by security forces after the previous Arab owners claimed the sale was fictitious, touching off an ongoing legal battle.

This past July, over 15 Jewish families had moved back into the Machpela House last July after two police officers were killed in a grisly terror attack on the Temple Mount. "The Machpela House was purchased a few years ago, but the Israeli government disgracefully prevents families from living in homes they have purchased for more than five years without any moral or legal justification," the families had said in a statement.

The residents have accused the Civil Administration of dragging its feet in making a final decision concerning ownership of the building since they were first evicted in 2012, leaving them without access to the property they legally purchased for nearly six years.