Israel excavates 200 more graves in historical J’lem cemetery
|Wednesday, August 11,2010 14:57|
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, -- 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.