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August 16, 2010

Postmortem of a (Faulty) Cemeteries Comparison

Ha'aretz's Nir Hasson labors hard to draw a tortured comparison between two cemeteries -- the Jewish cemetery of Mount of Olives in eastern Jerusalem and the Muslim cemetery in Mamilla, western Jerusalem. The false comparison that really gets under our skin is:

Until the Six-Day War, both cemeteries were neglected, the Jewish cemetery by Jordan and the Arab cemetery by Israel.

The Jordanians neglected the Mount of Olives cemetery? Neglect, as in failing to make repairs, pick up trash, and generally maintaining the site? In fact, the fate of the Mount of Olives cemetery under Jordanian control from 1948-1967 is well known, and the desecration way surpasses anything akin to passive disrepair or the accumulation of trash. In fact, Jordanians ransacked the Jewish burial site, in use for more than 2,500 years, desecrating the graves, smashing thousands of tombstones and using them as building material, paving stones or for latrines in Arab Legion army camps. The Intercontinental Hotel was built on top of the cemetery and graves were demolished to make way for a highway to the hotel.

As for neglecting the 300-400 year-old Muslim cemetery at Mamilla, Muslims were the first to do so. In 1946, two years before Israel's founding, no less than the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem proposed the building of a Muslim university on the site. The Supreme Muslim Council, for its part, had plans back in 1945 for a large commercial center to be built over the Muslim burial site.

Posted by TS at August 16, 2010 06:02 AM

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