Israeli forces this morning demolished parts of the outer wall of a Palestinian cemetery in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources.
Bulldozers escorted by officers of Israel’s Nature And Parks Authority (INPA) demolished the western section of the Al-Shuhada cemetery, which is an extension of the Al-Yusifiya cemetery located at the Lion’s Gate entrance of the Old City, Mustafa Abu Zahra, head of the committee for the preservation of Islamic cemeteries in Jerusalem, told Ma’an.
According to Abu Zahra, after demolishing the outer cemetery wall, bulldozers continued to work in the area before a group of Jerusalemite Palestinians arrived and “coerced the bulldozers to stop levelling the land”.
The demolition, which Israeli officials had attempted to carry out last month, was part of an ongoing campaign by the Israel Land Authority (ILA) to level the lands of the cemetery in order to build a national park in the area.
Fatah official Hatem Abed Al-Qader described the events as an “attack on the cemetery”, saying the demolition was “part of Israeli plans to turn Jerusalem into a Jewish city”.
In addition to the Al-Shuhada cemetery, which houses the graves of people killed by Israeli forces in the 1967 war – after which Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem – the Bab Al-Rahma cemetery has been subject to demolitions after Israeli authorities announced plans to seize parts of the cemetery for a national park trail in 2015.