Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria to inform the Hebron municipality of a plan for a new Jewish neighborhood in the historic Jewish market on Sunday.
In accordance with Bennett’s directive, the Civil Administration will forward a letter on the matter to the city hall of Hebron .
The decision is anticipated to end many years of legal and political hurdles regarding the fate of the marketplace. The site has been abandoned for decades even though Jews started returning to Hebron after the 1967 Six-Day War.
The new neighborhood will establish a continuous neighborhood that will connect the Tomb of the Patriarchs to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. The plan is also expected to double the number of Jewish residents in the ancient city.
The market structures will be destroyed as part of the construction project. After that, new stores will be erected in their stead. The rights of Arabs tenants on the ground level will be preserved as they are in their current state.
The decision was made following a series of meetings hosted by Bennett with the Shabak, the Public Service Administration, and the Civil Administration.
Jews originally owned the marketplace before the 1929 Hevron massacre. When that happened, the Jewish community of Hebron was eliminated.
Israel’s detractors were not happy with the decision even threatening to bring the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The anti-Israel group ‘Youth Against Settlements’ released a statement saying: “We call on our people to unite and work to resist the settlement projects and to the immediate leadership direction to the International criminal court.”