A cemetery in Haifa where the body of the martyr Sheikh Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam is buried has been sold to a private construction company, sparking fears of the outbreak of a third Intifada.
Al-Qassam is considered one of the most important icons of Palestinian resistance. He was immortalised when he became the first to lay the foundations for organised revolution against the British Mandate's forces and Zionist settlers in the mid-1930's.
Hamas named its military wing the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades in recognition of the heroic role he played in defence of Palestine.
The construction company noted that, according to their contract with the Israeli government, the area must be examined and the graves must be moved to another area.
Mustafa Bara, the lawyer representing the Palestinians who are strongly opposed to the Israeli government's decision, warned against taking this measure, as it would elicit harsh reactions from the Palestinian masses. The Palestinians consider this measure to be a violation of religious sanctities and hurtful to the feelings of the Palestinians who consider Al-Qassam, of Syrian origin, to be one of their most prominent historical leaders.
Israel Radio quoted as Bara saying that the Zionist government hasn't properly estimated the extent and magnitude of the potential reactions to this step, noting that selling the cemetery may lead to a dangerous decline in relations between the Jewish people and Palestinian Israelis. He also called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be more sensitive to the issue.
The Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam cemetery has previously been attacked and desecrated by Jewish extremist groups. His tombstone was destroyed and anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slogans were also written on it.