Netanyahu: Settlers can return to Hebron homes once paperwork in order

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will allow the settlers removed from two houses in Hebron to return once their paperwork is in order, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“As soon as the procedures regarding the purchase are approved, we will allow the two homes in Hebron to be populated, as indeed occurred in similar instances in the past. The process of checking is starting today; we will do it as quickly as possible,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu said that if the process of checking the two houses in Hebron in the West Bank is not completed within a week he will make sure that the Cabinet receives a status report.

Israeli troops on Friday morning removed several dozen settlers from the adjacent Hebron buildings, which the settlers had entered the previous day, saying they had bought them from Palestinians. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, who authorized the removal, said the settlers had not received IDF authorization to enter the buildings and were there illegally.

“The government supports settlement at any time, especially now when it is under terrorist assault and is taking a courageous and determined stand in the face of terrorist attacks,” Netanyahu said.

He added: “With the same breath, we are a nation of law and we must respect the law.”

The Hebron evacuation came on the heels of Israel confirming its controversial plan to seize land near Jericho, also in the West Bank, despite opposition to the move by the United Nations and the United States.

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