Settlers group moves members into contested eastern Jerusalem building


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A right-wing organization working to settle Jews in eastern Jerusalem took over a building in the Silwan neighborhood.

A group of members from Ateret Kohanim moved into the building overnight Wednesday.

The Palestinian family reportedly living in the building reportedly was not home. A Jerusalem court in recent years has ordered the family to vacate the building.

A former Yemenite synagogue from the early 20th century, the building is adjacent to another Jewish-owned building known as Beit Dvash and near Beit Yonatan, a six-story building put up several years ago by Ateret Kohanim.

The Jerusalem municipality called the incident a civil matter since the building was supposed to be empty and is registered as being owned by Ateret Kohanim, a trustee for the former Yemenite community.

“Jews have the right to live wherever they wish in the world, and certainly in Jerusalem,” read a statement issued by the municipality, according to the Times of Israel. “To the best of our knowledge, this is a case in which Jewish residents are exercising their right to enter a building that is under their ownership and that was vacant.”

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