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Israel’s Interior Minister: Legalize E. Jerusalem’s Beit Yonatan

Israel’s interior minister has asked a Jerusalem municipal committee to consider legalizing a Jewish building in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood.

Eli Yishai authorized the Jerusalem District Building and Planning Committee to vote on the status of Beit Yonatan, a seven-story building in Silwan built without a permit five years ago by the right-wing group Ateret Cohanim. Yishai is head of the Shas Party.

After the authorization from Yishai, the committee planned to vote on the building at its scheduled meeting next week.If the committee grants retroactive approval, the first four floors of the building would be legal and the top three floors would be sealed off or removed, Ynet reported.

The Jerusalem District Court rejected an appeal by the residents to set aside the evacuation order, so that they can win approval for a new building plan.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said last week that he would enforce an order to seal off the home in the Arab neighborhood, but said he also would demolish up to 200 illegally built Palestinian structures in the area.

The Jerusalem municipality on Monday canceled the distribution for the eviction notice for Beit Yonatan at the direction of the police, Haaretz reported. The police said such an action requires coordination with local police, according to reports.

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