A Jerusalem Sheikh who tried to stand in the way of Israeli bulldozers demolishing a Muslim cemetery was injured Tuesday, as the Israeli government continued the desecration of hundreds of graves. This marks the largest cemetery desecration by Israeli forces since 2009, when 1500 graves were bulldozed to make way for a ‘Museum of Tolerance’ sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.The current demolition site is taking place near the construction site of the so-called ‘Museum of Tolerance’, but Israeli officials say the two projects are unrelated.
The cemetery in question was maintained for hundreds of years by the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) of Jerusalem, but since Israel took over control of Jerusalem in 1967, the Islamic Endowment has been refused access to the grounds by Israeli authorities, and the cemetery has fallen into disrepair.
Family members of those buried in the Ma’man Allah cemetery say that when they have attempted to repair headstones and gravesites over the years, the repairs have been destroyed and removed by Israeli authorities, thus keeping the site in continual disrepair.
In the Muslim religion, removing or desecrating the grave of someone who has died is a severe offense, and the Islamic Endowment of Jerusalem has said that the desecration of graves shows a severe lack of respect and tolerance for Islam on the part of the Israeli authorities.
After bulldozers moved in to begin removing graves last Wednesday, Muslims from around Jerusalem have come to the site to try to stop the destruction of the cemetery. Members of the Islamic Endowment of Jerusalem called the media to document the destruction, but reporters who arrived on the scene say they were assaulted and forcibly removed by Israeli police.
Sheikh Ali Abu Sheikha stood in front of Israeli-owned ‘Caterpillar’ brand bulldozers as they continued the destruction of the cemetery on Tuesday. He suffered moderate injuries when the bulldozer ran him down, and he was taken to the hospital for treatment.