On Thursday, a group of proud Jews entered a three-story housing complex in Hebron on the main road leading from the Machpelah (Cave of the Patriarchs) to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. The area was the Jewish quarter of the city until the 1929 Arab pogroms that killed 67 Jews and forced the rest to flee. Recently built, the structure stood empty until it was purchased by the Harhivi Makom Ohalech organization from Arabs one year ago. The building has been named Beit HaHerut (the House of Liberty).
The building is adjacent to but outside the security barrier so the residents constructed metal steps to pass the blockade that the IDF placed there years ago. The new purchasers were banned from entering the building until the Israeli Defense Ministry approved the purchase.
It is sadly ironic that the only threat to Arabs posed by the structure is from the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian law that forbids Palestinians from selling their property to Israelis is vigorously enforced.
These laws were first instituted by Jordan in 1948. The law has been reinforced by several Fatwas (religious proclamations), the original issued by Haj al-Amin Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem during the British Mandate. These Fatwas prohibiting the sale of land to Jews have been reiterated by his successors, most recently in 2018 as an expression of rejecting the possibility of compromise in President Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan.
Palestinians who sell land to Israelis can be sentenced to death. Punishments can also include hard labor to life imprisonment for Palestinians who sell, rent or mediate real estate transactions to Jews. Though this is a humanitarian crime, n reality, many of those left-wing NGOs claiming to be humanitarian actually justify and even aid the PA in this matter.
In 2016, Nasser Nawaja, a Palestinian field researcher for the human rights group B’Tselem, and Ezra Nawi, a Jewish resident of Jerusalem and a key figure in the pro-Palestinian, pro-BDS group Ta’ayush, were recorded discussing how they turned these potential Palestinian sellers over to the PA. In the recording, they acknowledged that the people they informed on were frequently killed. Rather than reject Nawaja’s actions and decry the murder of the Palestinian sellers, B’Tselem issued a statement on its Facebook page, saying that while it opposed tortures and executions, reporting Palestinians interested in selling land to Israelis to the PA was “the only legitimate course of action.”
There is no Israeli law preventing the sale of Jewish land to Arabs. Jewish organizations that purchase property from Arabs go to great efforts and expense to protect the Arab sellers.
Yishai Fleisher, the international spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron, tweeted out that the seller of the property was safe.
New Jewish home in Hebron acquired by the Harchvi organization, we’re calling it “House of Liberty” – purchased from Arabs about a year ago.
3 floors, close to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
The seller is safe and all is going good, Baruch Hashem! pic.twitter.com/BUZmlgkBwp
— Yishai Fleisher يشاي ישי פליישר (@YishaiFleisher) July 28, 2022
Member of Knesset Orit Strook praised the purchase and noted it took place during the Three Weeks mourning period leading up to Tisha B’Av. “Even in the days of mourning for the destruction [of the Temple], we hear and also see times of redemption,” she said.
Peace Now, an extreme leftist anti-Israel NGO, protested the purchase in Hebron, saying that Jews have no right to live in Hebron.
“This settlement should be evicted before it is established,” the organization said in a statement. “It doesn’t matter if they bought the house or not, this is an illegal settlement for all intents and purposes.”
Jews are only allowed to enter approximately 20% of the city and they are allowed to live in an even smaller part of that area. The rest is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, though Hamas is heavily embedded in the Arab-controlled area of the city.