Israeli authorities today demolished several graves in occupied East Jerusalem’s historical Bab Al-Rahmeh cemetery east of Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to a Palestinian official. Israel had confiscated parts of this historical cemetery in September 2015.
“Personnel from the so-called ‘Israeli Nature Authority’ – backed by large numbers of Israeli forces – stormed the historical Bab Al-Rahmeh cemetery and knocked down eight graves,” Mustafa Abu Zahra, head of the committee for the preservation of Islamic cemeteries in Jerusalem, told the Anadolu Agency. He added:
Israel wants to transform the cemetery into a national park for Israeli Jews
Bab Al-Rahmeh is a Muslim cemetery that dates back more than 1,400 years. It is considered one of East Jerusalem’s most important Islamic historical sites.
Sheikh Omar Al-Qiswani, Al-Aqsa Mosque’s Palestinian director, denounced ongoing Israeli violations against Muslim sites in East Jerusalem.
“Israel claims the graves are situated on land owned by the Israeli Nature Authority,” Al-Qiswani told Anadolu. “But Israel has no historical – or legal – basis on which to claim any right to the cemetery,” he said. “The site is an Islamic Waqf [endowment] and will remain so.”
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It formally annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its capital – a move never recognised by the international community.