Maariv newspaper has revealed that the Israeli-run Jerusalem municipality has started to develop plans for tourist hotels and related facilities on parts of the historic Ma’man Allah Cemetery in the holy city. The hotels and buildings are to be built in the south-central section of the cemetery, opposite the so-called Museum of Tolerance, which is also being built in the cemetery.
The newspaper noted that the municipality Finance Committee has allocated around $75,000 for the planning of the project, in cooperation with an Israeli company.
In response, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Religious Endowments and Heritage has issued a warning about the scheme which, it insists, is a flagrant violation of the sanctity of the deceased. “This is also a serious violation of the feelings of Muslims all over the world,” said the foundation, “and a continuation of the crimes of the Israeli establishment in the largest and oldest Muslim cemetery in Palestine.” The Israeli authorities have already dug up hundreds of graves in order to build schools and playgrounds on the site.
The foundation explained that the Israeli Ministry of Justice recently cancelled plans to build new courts on the same site. A local and international campaign has been launched by Al-Aqsa Foundation against Israel’s plans for the cemetery; there are at least 8 new projects planned.