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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2007, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Hebron settler eviction ordered
Jewish settlers stand at the entrance to a building they occupied
Religious settlers took over the house in Hebron on 19 March
Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz has ordered the eviction of a group of Jewish settlers from a house they occupied in Hebron in the West Bank.

The settlers say they bought the property, but its Palestinian owners deny that and the Israeli authorities rejected the settlers' claim.

Reports from Israel say security officials are meeting to discuss plans for clearing the building.

It is not clear when such an operation will take place.

A number of religious settlers took over the three-storey building on a road linking Hebron to the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba on 19 March.

The defence minister's decision follows a legal assessment by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz that concluded that the building was unlawfully occupied.

Hebron is the only place in the West Bank where a small community of Jewish settlers lives in the heart of a Palestinian city.

The city is a constant source of tension and violence.

Under an Israeli-Palestinian agreement in 1997, Hebron was divided into two sections.

In the one, about 150,000 Palestinians live under Palestinian Authority control. In the other, about 20% of the city, Israel controls an area in which 650 Jewish settlers live among 30,000 Palestinians near Hebron's old city.


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