August 14, 2010

Israel Bulldozes Ancient Cemetery in Jerusalem (VIDEO)

Al Jazeera - Israeli authorities continued bulldozing dozens of graves in the historic Islamic Ma'man Allah cemetery, and have bulldozed dozens of graves on Wednesday, while preventing journalists and photographers from filming the bulldozing and demolition, and assaulting some of them.

Under protection of the Israeli occupation forces, Israeli municipality workers bulldozed dozens of graves dating back hundreds of years in the cemetery - which came under Israeli occupation in 1948 - amid attacks on the journalists and any of the Palestinians who try to defend what remains of the cemetery.

Israel deliberately carries out the demolitions at night to avoid encountering journalists and Palestinians. Graves that were still standing were marked to complete their demolition on the following night.

According to press reports, the Israeli Government plans to build a so-called 'museum of tolerance' on the ancient Muslim cemetery.

Israeli municipality workers use a bulldozer to destroy graves at the Muslim cemetery "Ma'man Allah", which was recently renovated, in Jerusalem on August 10. (AFP)

The cemetery - which lies between east and west Jerusalem - contains the remains of more than 70 thousand, including notable historical and sacred religious figures buried more than 1400 years ago.

Family members of those buried in the Ma'man Allah cemetery say that when they have attempted to repair headstones and gravesites over the years, the repairs have been destroyed and removed by Israeli authorities, thus keeping the site in continual disrepair

Under Israel's "absentee property" law the cemetery was taken over by the Custodian of Absentee Property after Israel occupied the western part of Jerusalem in 1948.

Israel has dug up about 95% of the graves so far, and the estimated remaining area of the cemetery is 19000 square meters out of 700000 square meters.

It is worth noting that removing or desecrating the grave of someone is considered a severe offense according to Islamic tradition.

Another Christian ancient site was razed by Israel in Jerusalem earlier this month.


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