israel bulldozes Muslim graveyard
israeli construction crew members bulldoze their way through a Muslim burial ground, reportedly removing hundreds of gravestones and injuring a protesting Arab.
The team on Monday rampaged through graves in the ancient al-Quds (Jerusalem) Maaman Allah cemetery, carrying on until Tuesday, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported.
"The destruction is related to the issue of renovation. The
Israeli establishment does not want us to renovate the graves so it is destroying them," said Mahmud Abu Atta of the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, which is responsible for the oversight of Muslim religious sites, AFP reported.
A bulldozer hit and moderately injured Ali Abu Sheikha, a local sheikh, who had stood up to the act of desecration, Ma'an said.
The incident marked the most destructive of its kind since 2009, when 1,500 bodies were exhumed for the construction of the controversial Museum of Tolerance. The planned building is to be built by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a US-based Jewish human rights group.
Alongside vast expanses of other Arab territories, Israel occupied al-Quds during full-fledged military operations in 1948.
In 1967, the regime went on to annex the eastern part of the city, which is hailed as the capital of any potential Palestinian state, and later defied the international community's condemnation of its act.
MEMO - An Arab member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has called the authorities' destruction of hundreds of graves in the Muslim Ma'aman Allah Cemetery in Jerusalem "a declaration of war against living and dead Palestinians".
Massoud Ghanayem said that this "declaration of war" is Israel's way of "imposing its agenda and trying to erase Palestinian identity and distort the identity of the land". Such action, he added, "proves that Israel is still acting with brutality against icons of Palestinian identity in the drive to confiscate Arabs' and Muslims' rights in the city of Jerusalem".
The United Arab List MK drew attention to the fact that Ma'aman Allah Cemetery is "a cultural legacy and an important part of Jerusalem's history, the loss of which should be of concern to the Israeli government even as it aims to Judaize the Holy City".
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli forces cleared out Monday evening more than 200 graves in the Ma’manullah cemetery in Jerusalem, the Aqsa foundation for endowments and heritage reported, in an ongoing wave of attacks on the historical site.
The burial site of a number of key Islamic figures, Ma’manullah is Jerusalem’s largest and oldest Islamic graveyard in Jerusalem.
The Israeli court denied petitions filed by the Aqsa foundation against the process after the foundation learned of the Israeli decision for immediate demolitions. The hearing ended in assaults and minor injuries against Arab reporters who covered the proceedings.
An Aqsa foundation crew, who held a vigil at the cemetery the night of the incident, said a large fleet of bulldozers and trucks accompanied by Israeli staff under police protection raided the graveyard 12:30 am (local time) from the western entrance. The force proceeded to uproot graves in the west and southeastern areas of the cemetery.
Photographers and journalists gathered at the scene of the crime after the Aqsa foundation immediately informed Arab media outlets of the development. Israeli police attempted to prevent photographers from capturing images of the incident.
Heated conflicts between the Israeli forces and Palestinians evolved after citizens attempted to foil the demolition operation.
The Israeli devices withdrew from the cemetery Tuesday morning, the Aqsa foundation confirmed, adding that Israeli civil servants announced while exiting plans to excavate 150 more graves. 350 graves were recently destroyed in similar operations.
On his part, Aqsa foundation president, Zaki Igbaria, condemned Israel’s excavation act as a “heinous crime” and a “cowardly act”, while hoping for action from Arabs, Palestinians, and Muslims to intervene in future Israeli plans.
“We assure the Zionist regime that all of your unjust crimes and policies will not stop us from continuing to work to defend and preserve the Ma’manllah cemetery and all of our holy sites in Jerusalem and [Palestine],” he said.
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The Israeli army released Tuesday morning the body of Palestinian martyr Mashour Talab al-Arouri to his family after holding him for 35 years in the Arqam (numbers) cemetery, Palestinian sources in Ramallah said.
The body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag and taken to the Ramallah Hospital after it was taken by the Israeli army to the Rantis barrier, where the body was met by a committee made up of members of the Palestinian “national campaign” to retrieve dead bodies, members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the deceased’s family.
The funeral will be held Thursday or Friday in the deceased’s hometown of Aroura with a march of honor.
The body was released after legal efforts led by the national campaign for the release of dead bodies and the Jerusalem Legal Aid Center.
Arouri was reportedly killed May 18, 1976 along with two of his peers while leading a Democratic Front operation in the Jordan Valley. Since the time of their burial in the Arqam cemetery, Arouri’s family was active in demanding the release of his body, a struggle which ended when the Israeli army delivered the body on Tuesday after a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court.
Arouri’s case was a judicial precedent, being the first of 317 missing and dead Palestinians in the Arqam cemetery to be delivered to their families.
Jerusalem legal aid center attorney Haitham al-Khatib said the case required a long time and serious efforts because of delays by the attorney general and Israeli Supreme Court.
Khatib emphasized his conviction for the right of the families of those martyrs held in the Arqam cemetery to retrieve their loved ones.