State Control Committee to Monitor Illegal Arab Structures From E. J'lem Settler Stronghold

Committee to visit Beit Yonatan in Silwan and discuss illegal building in East Jerusalem.

The Knesset's State Control Committee is planning to use a home which was illegally built by nationalist Jews in East Jerusalem as a monitoring station of illegal construction in the Arab sector.

Beit Yonatan-  Daniel Bar-On- Feb. 8, 2010
Daniel Bar-On

Beit Yonatan, a seven-story residence of Jewish families in the heart of Silwan, has been a flashpoint in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

The plan sparked outrage in the Knesset, and several MKs said the Knesset is disgracing the judicial system with the move.

Israeli Arab MK Talab al-Sana said that "the state control committee is operating contrary to its role of ensuring proper public conduct."

Kadima MK Yoel Hasson, chairman of the committee, rejected al-Sana's claims on Monday.

According to Hasson, the committee plans to use the controversial building as an observation point and will not hold a meeting there.

"The objective of this tour is to examine different aspects of building and planning in East Jerusalem and the enforcement policy in that area. The visit to Beit Yonatan is by no means a political statement," said Hasson.

Beit Yonatan was built illegally in the heart of the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood by the nationalist association Ateret Cohanim. The court already issued an evacuation order for the building in July 2009.

In January the attorney general instructed the police commissioner to take immediate action to evacuate the Beit Yonatan.

"This is a grave ongoing case of flouting court orders and cannot be allowed to continue," Attorney General Menachem Mazuz wrote.