November 17, 2010
Israeli attorney general orders E. Jerusalem building sealed
Israel’s attorney general has ordered Jerusalem officials to seal off a seven-story Jewish building in eastern Jerusalem.
Eight Jewish families live in Beit Yonatan, located in the predominately Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. The building was expanded in 2004 by the right-wing group Ateret Cohanim.
Several courts have ordered the building to be evacuated and sealed in recent years, but the orders have not been enforced.
Local building codes mandate that buildings can be no more than four stories.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has delayed carrying out the evacuation order, and had been working on a plan to deal with illegal construction in Silwan that included grandfathering in Beit Yonatan and at least 70 illegally built Palestinian homes. Barkat had threatened to raze the Palestinian homes if he was required to carry out the evacuation of Beit Yonatan.
Barkat relented earlier this year and said he would uphold the court order.