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Court Upholds Evacuation of Jews in E. Jerusalem Neighborhood

A Jerusalem court has rejected an appeal by Jewish families to allow them to continue living in an eastern Jerusalem building.

The Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday decided not to overturn an order to seal off the Beit Yonatan building in Silwan, a predominately Palestinian neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem.

Eight families live in the building, which was built without a permit in 2004 by the right-wing group Ateret Cohanim.

Local building codes mandate that buildings can be no more than four stories. The building had been ordered evacuated due to building code violations.

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.

Municipal officials measured the building last month in order to carry out the evacuation order.

The evacuation and sealing off of the building will likely take place in the coming days, according to reports.

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