Petition to Save Palestinians’ Mamilla Cemetery from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s plans to Build over It

Received from the Mamilla Campaign, which notes:

THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER AND THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL ARE BUILDING A “MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE” ON CENTURIES-OLD MUSLIM GRAVES.

History – Since the Seventh Century, the Ma’man Allah (Mamilla) cemetery has been the most important Moslem burial site in Jerusalem. It contains the remains of leaders of Saladin’s army, Muslim scholars, and important Jerusalem families going back at least one thousand years. It is a well delineated 33 acre site that was in use until 1948 and was fastidiously respected by the Ottoman rulers and the British Mandate. It contains tens of thousands of graves in several layers as well as gravestones, monuments and the two-thousand year old “Mamilla pool.”

and proposes:

PUBLIC PETITION TO STOP DESECRATION OF MAMILLA MUSLIM CEMETERY IN JERUSALEM BY ISRAELI AUTHORITIES AND THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER

(Sign the petition here).

We demand that the competent Israeli authorities act:

1.To immediately halt further construction of the Simon Wiesenthal Center “Museum of Tolerance” on part of the Mamilla Cemetery site in Jerusalem;

2.To declare the entire historic site of the Mamilla Cemetery an antiquity, to be preserved and protected henceforth by its rightful and appropriate custodians, the Muslim Waqf (public endowment) authorities in Jerusalem;

3.To recover and rebury where they were originally found all human remains removed from Mamilla Cemetery, in coordination with the competent Muslim authorities in Jerusalem; and,

4.To document and reveal to families who claim their ancestors are buried in Mamilla, or to their representatives, the whereabouts of human remains and artifacts, as well as archaeological fragments and monuments exhumed in the construction.
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Here is a summary of the Basic Facts regarding Mamilla Cemetery.

THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER AND THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL ARE BUILDING A “MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE” ON CENTURIES-OLD MUSLIM GRAVES.
History – Since the Seventh Century, the Ma’man Allah (Mamilla) cemetery has been the most important Moslem burial site in Jerusalem. It contains the remains of leaders of Saladin’s army, Muslim scholars, and important Jerusalem families going back at least one thousand years. It is a well delineated 33 acre site that was in use until 1948 and was fastidiously respected by the Ottoman rulers and the British Mandate. It contains tens of thousands of graves in several layers as well as gravestones, monuments and the two-thousand year old “Mamilla pool.”

SINCE 1948 – After the 1948 War, the site was expropriated by the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property. The Israeli Religious Affairs Ministry originally recognized the great importance of the site to the Muslim community. However, the traditional caretakers of the cemetery, the Trustees of the Islamic Endowment (the waqf), were not allowed to maintain and protect the cemetery and it was neglected and vandalized. In the 1960’s, half of it was turned into an “Independence Park.” A parking lot was built over another part of the cemetery in 1964. A school, playing field and an underground parking garage were built on it. During the garage excavations, human remains from exposed graves were seen scattered about the construction site. During this time Palestinians protested these desecrations with appeals to the Israeli mayors of Jerusalem, petitions to UNESCO and public demonstrations. At present, only a fraction of the original cemetery is identifiable, with few grave markers remaining visible.

The “Museum of Tolerance” – The Jerusalem Municipality, ignoring public protests, deeded part of the cemetery to the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles and in 2002, approved plans for the construction of the “Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerence” on the site. Digging on the site, which began in 2005, has resulted in the exhumation of hundreds of graves and remains, some dating back to the 12th Century. The Chief Excavator for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Gideon Suleimani, issued a report and has attested in an affidavit to the fact that there are at least 2000 graves under the project site, in four layers, in addition to hundreds already exposed. He further attested to the intense pressure exerted on the IAA by the SWC and Israeli politicians and developers to approve construction on the site.

The Israeli Courts – Public outcry, including opposition to the location of the project at the Mamilla site by the Mayor of Jerusalem and other prominent Israelis, failed to halt the construction activity. Families whose ancestors lie buried at the site, together with others, sued in Israeli courts to stop the excavations. The complainants lost in the Israeli High Court in 2008. In ruling against the families the High Court relied upon the determination of a low level Muslim judge from Jaffa that the cemetery had been “desanctified” because of disuse. The judge, acting at the behest of the Israeli authorities, was convicted of fraud in the same year, and his ruling has since been overruled by the highest Islamic authorities in Israel.

Petition to the United Nations – A Petition For Urgent Action on Human Rights Violations by Israel: Desecration of the Ma’man Allah (Mamilla) Muslim Cemetery in the Holy City of Jerusalem was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights with various United Nations agencies on Feb. 10, 2010, on behalf of sixty individual Palestinians whose ancestors are buried at Mamilla, and numerous Palestinian, Israeli and U.S. NGO’s who oppose the SWC project. The Petition cites numerous violations of International Law and requests the U.N.agencies to investigate and, ultimately, ask Israel and the SWC to stop excavations, recover remains, release remains to Islamic authorities for proper reburial and designate the entire Mamilla cemetery as a protected religious site. For the text of the petition and further information, go to: www.mamillacampaign.org.

A Public Petition – A public petition was drafted on behalf of all persons, regardless of ethnic or religious background or nationality, who are outraged by the desecration of the Mamilla burial site. When signed, it will be publicized and presented to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the U.N., the Israeli authorities, and the U.S. government, demanding the same relief requested in the formal petition to the U.N. bodies.

Thank you for all of your help

Sign the petition here.

End/ (Not Continued)

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Responses | Print |

8 Responses

  1. I am reminded of the story (perhaps apocryphal) that a proselyte approached the great Rabbi, Ashmai, and asked that he teach him the whole of the Torah while standing on one foot. Ashmai dismissed him. The proselyte then approached the great Rabbi, Hillel, and posed the same challenge. Hillel replied, "What you don't like, don't do to others. That is the Law, and the whole Law. The rest is mere commentary."

  2. One more reason to renounce my Israeli dual citizenship (before Mossad kills someone using my passport). Israel was meant to be where Jews would be safe; turns oput, that means safe to do to Jews what everyone else used to do to Jews.

  3. Lawsuits, petitions, special pleadings, etc. are a waste of time and effort. Thirty three acres in Jerusalem are too valuable to waste on a Muslim ossuary. Haven't the great rabbis opined that G-d is able to resurrect the dead from even microscopic bone fragments? So Muslims need not worry about the souls of their ancestors.

  4. Love the "Museum of Tolerance (and Bulldozers)" bit.

    johnf

  5. Anonymous, good point. Let's explain to the muslims that rabbi's said it's okay. I'm sure it's that simple.

  6. The abuse of Palestinians by Israelis and supporters has become completely impossible, completely immoral, completely shameful.

  7. Simply read:

    link to nytimes.com

    March 9, 2010

    As Biden Visits, Israel Unveils Plan for New Settlements
    By ETHAN BRONNER

    The plan to build 1,600 new homes in Jerusalem is likely to complicate relations with the U.S. as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. tours the region.

    March 9, 2010

    Biden Calls Ties Between U.S. and Israel ‘Unshakable’
    By ETHAN BRONNER

    [The Israeli government and supporters are only bent on destroying all Palestinian rights.]

  8. the irony of this is so incredible that any value the museum is supposed to have is already lost

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