Lador repeats: Beit Yehonatan must be evacuated, sealed

Eli Yishai waiting for District Building and Planning Committee vote on retroactive approval of building’s status.

February 15, 2010 04:50
2 minute read.
An Israeli flag is seen running down the facade of

beit yehonatan 311. (photo credit: AP)


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State Attorney Moshe Lador cautioned Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Sunday not to legalize the Jewish-owned Beit Yehonatan building in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, and repeated his demands that the seven-story structure be evacuated and sealed as required by a pending court order.

In a letter sent to Barkat, Lador praised the mayor’s previous statements that he would implement a court order issued over a year ago against Beit Yehonatan. The structure was built in the predominately Arab neighborhood, just south of the Old City, without a permit five years ago by the Ateret Cohanim organization.

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At the beginning of the month, Barkat had announced that he would enforce the order to seal the building, but that he was doing so under protest, and would continue with the demolition of some 200 illegally built Arab structures in the area as well.

While that number was called into question by City Attorney Yossi Havilio in a letter he sent to Lador last week, city officials have made it clear that there are hundreds of illegally built structures in Silwan alone, that would have to be dealt with if a larger plan was not worked out to deal with illegal building in east Jerusalem.

Last week The Jerusalem Post learned that Barkat had ordered his staff to coordinate with police in preparation for the demolition of dozens of illegal buildings in Silwan, due to opposition from both Lador and Havilio to plans the mayor had drawn up for the redevelopment and rezoning of the area.

Nonetheless, Lador on Sunday wrote that he was certain the municipality would implement the court order issued against Beit Yehonatan, and then determine how to deal with the other structures in Jerusalem that were built illegally.

“In the end,” Lador wrote to Barkat, “despite differences of opinion, the City of Jerusalem will act under your leadership in a manner that honors the law and the court’s orders.”

While Barkat had hoped to see Beit Yehonatan legalized as part of his larger plan for Silwan, Interior Minister Eli Yishai last week entered into the fray as well, authorizing the District Building and Planning Committee to vote on the possibility of retroactively approving Beit Yehonatan’s status.

Yishai said he had been assured of a majority vote in favor of Beit Yehonatan becoming legal, when the matter is taken up by the committee, which is expected to take place as early as this week.

A spokesman for Yishai on Sunday told the Post that “while the interior minister respects the letter sent by Lador, he remains steadfast in his decision to take the matter to the [District Building and Planning Committee]. And what the committee decides, Yishai, too, will honor.”

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