The government told the High Court Monday morning it will expel two Jewish families from Beit Ezra in Hevron by April 24, as demanded by Peace Now.
The order comes less than five weeks before tthe January 22 elections, andgovernment attorneys told the court they are postponing issuing an opinion on the future use of the building, which was owned by Jews until they were chased out during the War of Independence in 1947.
The agreement by government lawyers to agree with the Peace Now demand to expel the families could cause the Likud-Israel Beyteinu party trouble during the election campaign.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu several times has taken an ostensibly strong nationalist stand on such issues as the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and the Migron community. Residents in both areas were expelled after government lawyers advised against allowing them to remain, despite no proof in court that their houses were on Palestinian Authority-owned land.
The court did not accept proof that Jews had bought the properties involved.
The non-committal stance of the government on the future of Beit Ezra will likely worry nationalist supporters of the Likud, who had hoped for at least a statement that the building could be used for public purposes.
Beit Ezra fell into the hands of the Jordanians during Jordan\’s occupation of Hevron and then was restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.
The IDF had allowed Arab squatters to operate shops in Beit Ezra until it decided they presented a security risk during the war of terror, also known as the Second Intifada or the Oslo War, which began raging in 2000.
Peace Now went to bat for the Arabs after a court ruled in favor of Jewish families living there, and deputy attorney general Michael Blass has overruled military approval of Jews living in Beit Ezra, accepting the left-wing organization’s demands for eviction.