Despite what city officials have called “clear and indisputable evidence” of
some 300 fraudulent tombstones that were discovered – and subsequently
demolished – inside an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem in recent weeks, a
handful of demonstrators arrived at the burial site on Wednesday morning to
protest what they labeled the city’s “desecration” of the
Nearly two dozen Muslim demonstrators descended on the city’s
Mamilla Cemetery, a centuries-old Islamic burial site in the heart of Jerusalem,
at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday and began chanting slogans about the recent
Last week, the Jerusalem Municipality released
photographs and a clear timeline of what officials described as “one of the
largest deceptions in recent years,” detailing how “Islamic officials” had used
permits obtained for the purpose of cleaning and renovating tombstones at the
site to instead erect hundreds of “fictitious graves” on a neighboring plot of
City officials categorically condemned the move, saying the
officials’ only goal was to “illegally seize state lands,” and began demolishing
the fake headstones and tombs that had been set up in the area.
that work was done in close coordination with the Antiquities Authority, which
assigned experts to the site to first identify and then verify the phony
headstones before they were cleared away.
Nonetheless, the Islamic
Movement has decried the city’s actions, and accused the municipality of razing
ancient graves inside the cemetery.
Wednesday’s protest appeared to be a
continuation of those claims.
Demonstrators who arrived at the site
alleged that the city was “desecrating the holy site” and yelled slogans
denouncing the municipality’s work to clear the fictitious headstones.