After a fifteen-year legal battle in the corridors of the Israeli courts of various degrees, the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee obtained a decision to evacuate the settlers from the Al-Bakri building in the Tel Rumeida area in the old city of Hebron.
The case was considered by the court of magistrates, central court, supreme court and military appeal committee. HRC adopted the case through its legal unit and started its legal proceedings to evict the Israeli settlers from the building since 2005.Emad Hamdan, General Director of the HRC, confirmed that the diligent follow-up by the Legal Unit of the case and its continuing challenge to the Israeli occupation policy of taking over Palestinian property led to the success achieved.
Tawfeeq Jahshin, HRC’s Advocate, stated that a special investigator was commissioned to identify the settlers squatting the building. They said that they took over the building and left it since a long time. They also claimed that an Israeli Real Estate Firm purchased the building and used it after they had left.
Since then, the parties to the case changed and therefore the lawfare was submitted in 2006 whereby another case was filed against the Israeli Firm (Tal Firm). It alleged that it purchased the building, and so the Court of Magistrate demanded that the case be filed with competent Central Court the proceedings of which lasted for years. After a long struggle, it was proved that all the deeds presented by the Israeli settlers were fake. In light of that, the Central Court confirmed that Al-Bakri building belongs to Al-Bakri Family, but Israeli settlers appealed the ruling before the Supreme Court which endorsed the decision of the Central Court in 2014.
Before that, Israeli settlers filed a lawsuit with the Court of Magistrates demanding that they be allowed to buy the building, and so the decision of the Supreme Court was put on freeze. The proceedings of the Court of Magistrates lasted for years. Prior to completion of the litigation proceedings, the Israeli settlers filed another lawsuit with the Central Court in which they alleged that part of the land on which the building is erected is Jewish endowment.
This case was dropped since it is not duly filed. The Court of Magistrates proceedings continued and decided to evict and fine them in 45 days while the Supreme Court proceedings were still at the beginning. The Israeli settlers appealed the decision, and Israeli courts kept procrastinating the litigation proceedings to lengthen Israeli settlers’ control of the building and force the HRC to retreat.
After all this legal process that lasted for fifteen years, the Central Court turned over settlers’ appeal and decided eviction of the Israeli settlers in addition to fining them against their stay in the building. It is worth mention that the decision to evict the Israeli settlers gives a ray of hope amidst the bleak conditions facing the Old City of Hebron because the Israeli colonial policies and decisions by the Israeli government to build a settlement outpost in different sites of the Old City, including Al-Hisba and Old Garage lands. The Legal Unit of HRC challenges all the decisions taken by the Israeli government against Hebron and continues to do so in light of the complicated political situation. Director General of HRC, Emad Hamdan, and Advocate Samer Shihada thanked the Legal Unit for its diligence in following up this case and other relevant cases.