Palestinians inside the Green Line are holding a nonviolent sit-in
throughout Tuesday in protest of the Israeli decision to build a Jewish
museum on the ruins of an Islamic cemetery, Ma'man Allah, in Jerusalem.
Earlier this year the Israeli government began destroying the Palestinian cemetery, exhuming corpses amid widespread protest by the Al Aqsa Foundation to Preserve Muslim Holy Sites. United States and Israel are working together in their bid to build a "Museum of Tolerance" on the desecrated cemetery.
On Tuesday morning the Israeli Supreme Court resumed deliberating the case of whether to continue exhuming bodies from Jerusalem's Ma'man Allah Cemetery and go-ahead with museum construction. The Islamic position is to cancel museum plans and preserve the sanctity of the cemetery.
The Al Aqsa Foundation issued a statement Tuesday saying, "American Jews, clergymen and representatives of the American companies that support building the 'Museum of Tolerance' arrived from America especially to attend sessions of the Israeli Supreme Court regarding the cemetery in an attempt to influence the decision and give the museum heightened significance. Building this museum is absolutely racist."
Head of the Islamic Movement inside the Green Line, Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, sent a call to the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and to the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Mousa, to help save Ma'man Allah. Sheikh Salah outlined Israeli attacks on Islamic holy sites and gave a brief history of the current case.
Museum construction is being sponsored by a Los Angeles, California-based company to link the Jewish people living in Jerusalem to surrounding settlements, the Sheikh explained. The Al Aqsa Foundation appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court in February 2006 to stop desecration of the cemetery. The court appointed a retired Israeli judge as mediator who attempted to convince the Al Aqsa Foundation to transfer the remains of Muslim's to another site. Ma'man Allah Cemetery has been in use in Jerusalem for hundreds of years.
The Al Aqsa Foundation not only rejected such a suggestion, but also indicated that the Israeli and American venture intended to mislead the public by saying they were ready to preserve part of the cemetery.
Also on Tuesday the Israeli Supreme Court heard a case in appeals in which Israeli companies are bidding to build apartments on another Islamic cemetery.