Minister Yishai endorses Barkat's Beit Yonatan battle
Following Ynet report of plan to approve Jewish building in Silwan neighborhood, interior minister instructs filing of construction plan with district committee in effort to legalize site. Should the approval be granted, four out of seven of the building's floors will remain, while three top ones will be removed
The mayor of Jerusalem is receiving support from an unexpected source. Interior Minister Eli Yishai has instructed the Jerusalem district directorate to file Beit Yonatan's construction plan with the district construction and planning committee.
Earlier this week Ynet reported that there is an effort to legalize the structure retroactively. The planning committee is slated to convene next week in order to set a prerequisite condition for the building's approval and hold a vote on the matter.
In the past few months Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has been trying to promote a general legalization plan in east Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, both for the Arab houses and for the Jewish building. According to his plan, which was approved by the local planning and construction committee, structures of up to four floors will be approved.
After being reprimanded by municipal legal advisor Attorney Yossi Havilio, State Prosecutor Moshe Lador and former Attroney General Menachem Mazuz, Barkat linked the fate of Beit Yonatan to the illegal Arab construction in the neighborhood.
The question now arises, should Beit Yonatan receive retroactive approval, what will become of the rest of the Arab houses in Silwan?
Beit Yonatan in the Silwan neighborhood (Photo: AP)
Ynet reported Sunday that there is a plan to retroactively approve the building via the district committee which is slated to convene next week and hold a vote on the matter. Should the approval be granted, three of the building's top floors will be removed, while the first four floors will be rendered legal.
'Solution will be legal'
Jerusalem city councilman Yair Gabai, who led to effort to approve the structure, told Ynet that "the solution to the Beit Yonatan issue will be reached in a legal framework. There is no impediment to approving the plan and I will act for such an approval in the local committee soon."
The lack of coordination between the Jerusalem Municipality and the police prevented the issuing of the eviction order for the building Monday morning.
As a result, many right-wing activists arrived at the site and celebrated the occasion by dancing and holding up signs.
Beit Yonatan is a seven-floor building that was erected without a permit in 2004; it houses Jews who are linked to a religious Zionist yeshiva.
Despite many appeals, courts ruled that the order to evacuate and seal off the site should be implemented. Last month Barkat announced that he will act to revoke the eviction order but will implement the orders issued against the construction of hundreds of illegal Arab houses in the area.