Beit Yehonatan in Silwan
Photo: AP
Barkat. Will he be rescued by Americans?
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Distribution of Beit Yehonatan evacuation orders called off

Municipality inspectors meant to arrive at building in east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan to give Jewish residents seven-day warning before actual evacuation called off, say operating under police instructions

Beit Yehonatan – the end? The handing out of evacuation and sealing orders to the Jewish residents of a building in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan has been called off. The Jerusalem Municipality said that it was operating according to police instructions.


Inspectors were meant to arrive in the neighborhood on Monday to issue the orders to the residents of Beit Yehonatan, and the residents were meant to receive a seven-day warning before the actual evacuation.


Jerusalem Police said in response to the municipality's statement: "Contrary to reports, there was no coordination Monday between the Jerusalem Municipality and the district police regarding distribution of evacuation orders in Silwan."  It was also stated that "any activity of this sort must be coordinated. This activity was not coordinated with any police official."


Ynet has learned that the District Planning and Construction Committee is working to approve the building as part of the city planning program, which may eventually turn the structure into a legal building.


Beit Yehonatan is a seven-story structure which was built without a permit in 2004. It is inhabited by Jewish residents affiliated with the Ateret Cohanim association. Despite a large number of appeals, different courts have ruled that the evacuation and sealing orders issued against the building must be implemented.


Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat declared last week that he would work to implement the sealing order, but would also evacuate hundreds of Arab homes built in the area illegally.


A source close to the buildings tenants told Ynet on Sunday evening that "many people will come to protest in a non-aggressive manner and support the residents. They are going to sing, dance and express what is on their mind."


"It looks like a PR stunt," said Attorney Yechiel Gutman, who represents the tenants. "As far as I know, the legal proceedings have yet to be completed, and I have seen Mayor Barkat's commitment. He turned to the attorney general and the state prosecutor, demanding that the evacuation be implemented only after all other demolition orders issued for Silwan are implemented, so it appears that the danger is not immediate and practical."


The tenants' representative added that Beit Yehonatan and the illegal construction of Arabs in the neighborhood must be "treated equally".


If this option fails, Barkat – who strongly opposes the implementation of evacuation and sealing order – will have to rely, ironically, on the United States and the rest of the world to thwart the move. Sources in the Jerusalem municipality say that the link made by the mayor between the Jewish house's fate and that of hundreds of illegal Arab buildings will lead to the annulment of the entire move due to the sensitive political reality in the capital.


Efrat Weiss contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 02.08.10, 00:49
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