The Jewish community in Hevron demands that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu transfer to Jewish hands the market in the City of the Fathers and to allow construction on the site.
At the same time, the Palestinian Authority is encouraging Hevron Mayor Taysir Abu Snena to step up construction around the Jewish community and not allow it to grow.
In cooperation with the Arab Hevron Municipality, a "Hevron Development Committee" was established whose stated purpose is massive construction and development, mainly around the Jewish community in Hevron to reduce its development capacity.
The Hevron Development Committee invests huge sums of money in Arab construction in Hevron, as well as rewards Arab families who are ready to live in the area of the Jewish community with water, electricity, and tuition exemptions.
Hevron Jewish Community Spokesman Noam Arnon tells Arutz Sheva that the Palestinian Authority does not work alone, but receives backing and budget from European countries.
"There is tremendous activity here by European countries and foundations, Arab and other foundations, in order to concentrate as many Arabs as possible in a crowded circle around the Jewish community in Hevron. Recently a Swedish-funded school was built here, right in front of our homes. It is a school that is not needed here. There is more and more activity designed to create a tight ring of hostile Arab population presence around the Jewish community in Hevron," Arnon says.
"Here and there they try to stop, without much success, construction by Arabs next to the Jewish houses. The picture is complex. There is uninterrupted Arab activity financed by German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, and other countries as far as possible in promoting and developing the Arab community adjacent to the Jewish community and Avraham Avinu neighborhood."
He adds that there is no oversight on Palestinian construction: "Their activities are unlimited. The government doesn't restrict the Arabs in any way. They build without interruption, without restriction, without a license, while the Jewish side has the most severe restrictions. The last Jewish home was built in Hevron in 2005. Last year it was approved in principle to build another 30 housing units for Jews, but this is a long process. Every Jewish move here has difficulties.
"Purchases conducted by the Harhivi Association also face very great difficulties posed by the Israeli system against the growth, renewal, and strengthening of the Jewish community in Hevron. This is a serious and difficult phenomenon that I point to and we all hope that things will change. There is the Hevron Agreement signed in 1996, in which the Hevron Jewish community is recognized in international agreement as a settlement with natural presence and rights of growth. We expect the Israeli government to stand at the gate and express an opinion and commitments for the practical fulfillment of the clauses in the Hevron agreement that enable the development and promotion of the Jewish community. This exists in the agreement," says Arnon.
Arnon explains why so far the market has not been handed over to the Jewish community, even though it is in its territory: "Apparently there's no problem here. This is Jewish-owned land purchased over 200 years ago by the ancient Jewish community in Hevron and transferred by the community to the new Jewish community in Hevron. Second, the area has been vacant for decades and awaits its redemption. Third, the Jewish community Hevron is in dire need of housing and we need every square meter.
"For all these reasons, it was expected that this place would simply be approved for construction. It is also within our existing Avraham Avinu neighborhood, so there is no additional land grab for anyone who fears it. The jurors found grounds, rather strange, to prevent Jewish construction and the fact that after the riots, when the place was destroyed and destroyed and after the area was occupied by the Jordanians, the Jordanian authorities leased buildings there to the Hevron municipality that leased them to traders who operated the market. The Jordanians haven't been here for a long time, most of these traders aren't alive, but the lawyers found grounds and said the rental was considered a 'protected tenancy'. So even though there is no one, this protected rental remains unproven or justified," Arnon adds.
About a year ago, the Jewish community found a solution: "We've been told that the legal solution is that the stores will remain in place and we'll build above them. This is no problem, even for those who claim to have 'protected tenancy', so the shops will remain in place. All that remains is to give political instruction to implement this solution and we're waiting for it."
Arnon expresses the expectation that the Prime Minister, who will visit Hevron next week and attend the 90th anniversary commemoration of the 1948 riots, will also bring with him news about this issue.
"The Prime Minister isn't promoting it and we expect him to promote it and allow the Jewish Community in Hevron to expand - even if it is minimal. I believe he will here commit to the eternal grip of the Jewish people in Hevron. It has nothing to do with the fact that we expect and hope that an order will be issued by his bureau to implement and promote the solution that the jurists and legal advisor proposed; all that remains is the application," he concludes.