Beit Yonatan residents offer to seal top levels


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jewish residents of a building in eastern Jerusalem have offered to close the top levels of the building rather than vacate.

In a letter to state Prosecutor Moshe Lador, residents of Beit Yonatan in the Arab village of Silwan said they would seal off or remove the top three floors of the seven-story building in order to be permitted to remain in their home. The building is home to eight Jewish families.

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

The residents expressed concern about recent violence in the area.

"The events surrounding Beit Yonatan have gone beyond the legal realm and have become a national and international issue which raises fears of an uncontrollable flare-up," the letter said.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat last month told Lador that he would evacuate the building and also raze 70 illegally built Palestinian structures in Silwan in the interest of enforcing the rule of law uniformly, even though the municipality was in the process of creating a plan to deal with illegal construction in Silwan that included grandfathering in Beit Yonatan and the Palestinian homes.

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