A decision of Israel’s Ministry of Defense to allow Israeli families to take over a disputed building in Hebron is an unhelpful step which puts new pressure on the endangered Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Every expansion of an Israeli settlement in the heart of the West Bank like this one only makes reaching an agreement to end the conflict more difficult.
The building, with space for some 20 apartments, is located in the a-Ras neighborhood of Hebron in the West Bank, linked to the major settlement neighborhood of Kiryat Arba and adjacent to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Its strategic location in a city that is a frequent flashpoint could greatly complicate negotiations and the resolution of the conflict.
The fact that settlers used deception to buy the building using a straw man with an Arabic name makes the decision even harder to understand. The decision of the Defense Ministry to allow settlers to take over the building in time to hold a Passover Seder makes a mockery of the holiday’s message of freedom and liberation.