The Israeli Occupation Continues to Exhume Graves of Dead Palestinians

Clashes erupted between the IOF and Palestinian youths on Sunday evening, near the Yusufiya cemetery, next to Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, where Palestinian youths threw a container of the occupation out of the cemetery, following the bulldozing and exhuming the graves of Muslims.

Videos documented the IOF firing sound and gas bombs at young men and attacking activists, Mohamed Abul Homs and Jawad Siam, and beating them with batons and pushed people and journalists in the place, to empty the vicinity of Martyrs’ Memorial cemetery.

Palestinians protest against the bulldozing and exhumation of Muslim graves in preparation for turning them into a biblical garden.

The Tel Aviv municipality has exhumed and removed the graves of Palestinians in the “Esaf” cemetery in the city of Jaffa, which dates back to the 18th century, in order to establish a center to shelter the homeless, even though it is the largest city in Israel in terms of land and real estate. For more than two years, the people of Jaffa have been engaged in legal and political battles to protect the graves of their fathers and grandfathers in this cemetery, which is one of the city’s landmarks and identity. Residents succeeded in freezing the municipality project temporarily, but the Israeli judiciary decided, in the end, to give Israelis the green light to resume construction.

The “Islamic Commission in Jaffa” filed a lawsuit to the Central Court, and then to the High Court of Justice, which in turn returned the case to the Central Court, however, the court rejected the appeal of the Commission, which the municipality considered a green light to resume the work of exhuming graves and began the excavations again, while security forces prevented the Palestinian citizens from approaching the site.

As for the Ma’man Allah cemetery, since the year of the Nakba until today, it has been bulldozed, desecrated, and the establishment of tourism projects and Jewish religious ceremonies continued, in addition to a huge project to launch the “Museum of Tolerance”, on an area of 25 KM of its land.

This is not an ordinary cemetery. It is adjacent to Bab Al-Khalil, and it dates back to the beginnings of the Islamic conquest of the city in the year 636 AD. It contains many tombs and the remains of historical figures for the Muslims. Attacks on the cemetery have been repeatedly brought before the UN Security Council; whose members, as usual, stood silent despite the flagrant violations of the IOF.

After the Nakba, Israel took control of the individual, collective and public properties of the Palestinians in Jaffa and other Palestinian cities and villages, and worked, in particular, to remove hundreds of cemeteries and mosques, and remove its identity.

History professor Dr. Sami Abu Shehadeh, from Jaffa, said that “the Israeli authorities seized the property of the people of Jaffa and Arab cities, after expelling the vast majority of them, using the Absentee Property Law, including public property, including the property of the Islamic Endowment, with its mosques, cemeteries, etc.

Historical references confirm that the vast majority of the land of Palestine, which was under the British Mandate before 1948, was the private property of the Palestinians, or public, or Islamic and Christian endowments, and that the ownership of Jews did not exceed 7%.

The Israeli authorities turned the ownership of the public lands and the lands of the displaced Palestinians to a special fund for Jews, called Keren Kemet- the Jewish National Fund- which was established in the year 1901 in order to collect donations for the purchase of land in Palestine, for the Zionist movement.

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