Fake Israeli Cemeteries In Al-Aqsa Mosque: Palestinian Committee

Israeli occupation authorities have been accused of constructing fake cemeteries around Al-Aqsa Mosque, Quds Press has reported. According to the head of The Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ahmad Abu Halabiyeh MP, this is an attempt to create evidence to prove a historic Jewish presence in the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic holy city.

“Recently, the Israeli occupation has built hundreds of tombs to prove that the Jewish existence dates back hundreds of years,” Abu Halabiyeh said.

Around 300 fake tombs have been built in Jabal Al-Zaytoun, east of Al-Aqsa Mosque, he has said, and 200 others in Wadi Al Hilwa in Silwan, south of the mosque, in addition to hundreds more in different areas across occupied Jerusalem, mainly in the Old City.

The MP has pointed out that these tombs were built over the past two years, and one area has been designated as the “Jewish Cemetery”.

A long history of building fake tombs

Although the Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council have recently denounced the creation of fake graveyards, writer Ashraf AboArafe from Aldiplomasy recalls that it was in 1978 that the occupation began by planting scattered fake graves in the Saludha area and the middle quarter in Silwan in East Jerusalem. 

Then this extended to include the Wadi al-Rababa neighborhood, meters away from the residential houses all the way to the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood, claiming that they were “cemeteries for Jews.”

It is believed that since the 80s, the Israeli occupation has planted about 12,800 fake graves in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, 32% of them in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, including 935 in Wadi Al-Rababa neighborhood in Silwan, of which more than 50 graves were newly placed in the neighborhood’s lands, picks up AboArafe.

The planning and implementation of the tomb planting are supervised by the occupation municipality, the so-called Ministry of “Jerusalem Affairs and Religions,” the “Antiquities Authority,” the “Elad” settlement association, and Jewish burial associations and companies.

All and all, these fake cemeteries are a distortion of history that reinforces settlement projects and serves the occupation’s interests to seize more lands that are from Palestinian ownership. In the case of building cemeteries in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, it represents another Israeli aggression against and within the Mosque.

Attacks on the Mosque and prayers are constant. For example, it is common for Israeli settlers to storm the mosque and perform Jewish prayers which infuriate Palestinians. The confrontations usually end up in a violent police crackdown on Palestinians.

Back in May, these tensions lead to Bentzi Gopstein, the founder and leader of Lehava, an Israeli far-right group, calling for the demolition of the Dome of the Rock Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. In a post online, he called on Israeli settlers to unite on “Jerusalem Day” on 29 May to break into Al-Aqsa and start dismantling the revered Muslim landmark.

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