Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz has visited a building in Hebron where Jewish settlers were given a last minute reprieve from eviction.
After a dispute over whether the settlers had bought the building from a Palestinian, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barack ordered the new occupants to leave.
However, he was overruled by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the settlers are allowed to stay in Hebron – a city mainly occupied by Palestinians.
The Palestinian Head of the Committee to Rebuild Hebron, Imad Hammad, is unhappy with the situation: “We were viewing the decision by the Defence Minister to evacuate the settlers with all seriousness, but unfortunately there was the decision, or the interference, by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay this evacuation. This aims to create a tense situation for some 400 settlers living in the midst of 40,000 Palestinians residing in that area.”
Hebron is a city where violence often breaks out between the Israeli settlers and the mainly Palestinian population.
In the past, the Israeli army has carried out operations to evict unlawful Jewish settlers and the UN deems all settlements in the region illegal.