Al-Quds (Jerusalem), 11 Rabiul Awwal 1434/23 January 2013 (MINA) – The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage reported that Israeli bulldozers removed and bulldozed large areas of the lands of the Mananullah historic Islamic graveyard, in occupied Jerusalem, as part of Israel’s plan to build the so-called “Museum Of Tolerance”.
The foundation said that the bulldozer dug the land as deep as 15 meters (49.21 feet) in preparation for the construction of the museum, a coffee shop and a warehouse on 25 Dunams (6.17 Acres), according to a report published in www.imemc.org received by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Wednesday.
In a press release, the foundation said that the work is being conducted by the Israeli government and an American organization called the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The foundation added that several Israeli companies are part of the work that also includes building a coffee shop on another section of the graveyard.
A section of the graveyard is now being used as a warehouse for storing construction materials and tools. Several graves and gravestones have been already destroyed and removed.
Engineer Zakki Ighbariyya, head of the Al-Aqsa Foundation, called on the international community to act and stop the Israeli violation, especially since Israel is destroying the ancient historic Islamic site in order to build the “Museum of Tolerance”.
Several historic Islamic figures, Muslim residents of Jerusalem and mullahs have been buried in the Mamanullah graveyard starting around 1400 years ago.
The Al-Aqsa foundation said that the Israeli destruction of the historic graveyard is part of ongoing serious Israeli violations, and crimes, against the Palestinians, their history and heritage in the land of Palestine.
The violations against the graveyard started after Israel was established in the historic land of Palestine in 1948, the foundation added.
It is worth mentioning that Israel has already destroyed most of the ancient graves, and that the original size of the graveyard used to be around 200 Dunams.
The graves have been replaced with coffee shops, a public yard, and Israel also installed sewage pipelines, electricity and water systems, and roads.
On June 25 2012, Israeli bulldozers removed and destroyed several graves in the cemetery as part of the Israeli plan to build the Museum.
On July 13 2012, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that Israel approved the building on top of a Muslim burial site. The plan was the subject of a lengthy legal battle brought by Palestinians, some of whom have family buried in the proposed site.
The Israeli Interior Ministry has given the go ahead for construction of “Museum Of Tolerance” on the site of the ancient Muslim burial ground.
The path to starting the construction had been cleared following a 2008 Israeli court decision that the site was: “No longer a burial ground.” (T/R-022/R-006)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)