Following the recent murder of two Israeli soldiers in two separate incidents, and pressure from right-wing politicians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a directive Sunday night allowing Jews to move into Machpelah House near the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
“Those who try to uproot us from the City of the Patriarchs will achieve the opposite. We will continue to fight terrorism and strike at terrorists on the one hand and strengthen settlement with the other,” the prime minister said.
The Machpelah house first came to the public’s attention last year when settlers inhabited it overnight claiming they legally bought the property.
Several days later they were evicted from the house, with authorities claiming irregularities in the purchase agreement. However, earlier this year a military court appeals committee ruled that the house was lawfully purchased.
Netanyahu’s statement was issued shortly after Economic Minister Naftali Bennett asked Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to authorize the entry of Jews to the Machpelah house. “We know how to build and settle, not kill,” he wrote. “This is the appropriate Zionist response. Whoever wants to uproot us from our land should know he is single handedly building another Jewish home. The answer to those who kill is to do what Zionism has always done – to build.”