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Israel police expel settlers who ignored high court order to quit West Bank house

[JURIST] Israeli police Thursday forcibly removed 250 settlers who had barricaded themselves inside the four-story so-called House of Peace (Beit HaShalom) [Hebron Jewish Community backgrounder; advocacy materials] on the West Bank [CIA backgrounder] that the Israeli Supreme Court [official website] last month ordered cleared [JURIST report] pending judicial resolution of a dispute over land ownership. The raid lasted an hour [Haaretz report], with resistance by the settlers, and there were reports that five settlers were injured as well as two police officers. The police took the settlers by surprise, arriving at the house in the mid-afternoon rather than at dawn when they were expected. Further violence occurred in surrounding areas with shootings and violent confrontations between Jewish West bank Settlers, Israeli military and police forces, and Palestinians late into Thursday night, despite increased police and military presence.

Ownership of the house is disputed by Israeli settlers and the original purchaser of the house, New York-based businessman Morris Abraham, and the original Palestinian owner of the house who denies the sale. The transaction was never approved by Israel's minister of defense, a necessary component of a lawful transaction. On Friday, Riyad al-Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister appealed to foreign diplomats [AP report] and requesting international intervention. Hebron is in close proximity to one of the holiest places of worship in the Jewish faith, the Cave of the Patriarchs.

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