A Palestinian human rights group has condemned Israel's policy of destroying Muslim graves in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel itself. The aim, claims Al-Tadamun Human Rights Organisation, is part of an attempt to change the Islamic history and identity of Palestine.
Researcher Ahmed Tobasi said that his organisation has so far counted six acts of violations against Muslim graves in the West Bank and the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 (Israel). According to Tobasi, the Israeli occupation forces bulldozed dozens of tombs in the Majdal Sadeq village cemetery. In January, he said, a group of Israeli settlers destroyed tombs and headstones in the cemetery in the town of Beesan; in March, another group of settlers destroyed two headstones in the cemetery adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
When the Ashkelon Municipality needed land for a new car park, it simply destroyed a complete Muslim cemetery. And in a new kind of escalations against Islamic cemeteries, Mr Tobasi alleged, Israeli bulldozers destroyed the tomb of the martyr Izzedin Al-Qassam in Haifa.
Research carried out by Al-Aqsa Organisation for Islamic Endowments and Heritage earlier this month, noted Tobasi, discovered that the Israeli company Solel Bonei is preparing to build halls of residence and commercial malls to serve Tel Aviv University students in the Shiekh Mo'nes cemetery in Jaffa.
Condemning all of these and similar violations, lawyer Tobasi said that they are breaches of international conventions, as well as being against the teachings of all revealed religions. "This is aggression against the dead," he exclaimed, "as well as against the feelings of the Muslim community."
He called on the international community to stop these violations which aim to change the identity and appearance of historic Palestinian locations. "These Islamic cemeteries are part and parcel of Palestine's Islamic heritage and they should not be destroyed," he added.