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      Court Rejects Motion to Save Beit Yehonatan

      District Court judge turned down motion by Jewish residents of the home in eastern Jerusalem to allow them to live in it.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 5/25/2010, 4:54 PM

      Flash 90

      The Jerusalem District Court for Administrative Matters rejected Tuesday a motion filed by the residents of Beit Yehonatan against the plan to evict them and seal the building. The residents have filed an appeal against the decision.

      Beit Yehonatan is a five story structure in the overwhelmingly Arab Shiloach (Silwan) neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem. The structure, in which eight Jewish families dwell, was built illegally, like most of the structures surrounding it. However, while the state takes no action against the hundreds of illicitly built homes inhabited by Arabs – it has insisted upon sealing Beit Yehonatan.

      The petitioners claimed that the authority to decide when to carry out demolition and sealing orders rests with the elected officials who serve in the Local Committee for Planning and Construction. The committee is the one that should decide upon its policy, they added, and the policy should be applied to all of the property in the area. They noted that the Jerusalem Municipality does not want to carry out the order to seal the building, because enforcing it only against Jews would be unegalitarian.

      District Judge Nava Ben-Or wrote in her verdict that she “did not find that the petitioners had a legitimate and defensible interest in delaying the execution of the [eviction and sealing] orders.”

      "The eviction and sealing order in this matter was issued in February 2007, that is – about three years ago,” she wrote, “and appeals filed in the matter were rejected by the District and Supreme Courts, and the order became final 1.5 years ago... This is, therefore, a grave instance of a continuous disregard for court orders, and this state of affairs cannot go on.”

      Nava Ben Or is considered to be a protege of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch.