In the heart of Jerusalem, dozens of new tombs are being added to an ancient cemetery, but no one is buried beneath them. Jewish observers and sources in the Jerusalem Municipality say the pretend-graves are simply a Muslim project for grabbing land.
The Mamilla Cemetery is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem's Independence Park (Gan HaAtzmaut), between Agron and Hillel Streets. It is an ancient Muslim cemetery containing several dozen graves, which has been in a state of severe disrepair for more than a century, despite being under the supervision of the Muslim Waqf.
In recent days, however, there has been much hustle and bustle in the cemetery, and its seems to be growing from day to day, cutting into land that is a part of Independence Park. Trucks, tractors and other heavy machines come and go, dumping building materials, which workers then shape into Muslim-style tombstones with no one buried beneath them. Dozens of these faux-graves are being created on the eastern end of the park, in row after row, where only bare earth and grassy areas existed until now.
Some of the fake tombs have been completed and others are in the process of being built.
Arutz Sheva's Chezki Ezra visited the site following a tip from a local resident and was surprised to see many dozens of new "tombs." He estimated their number as approaching 100.
Funding from the Gulf?
“They are trying to take over this territory,” a municipality gardener said. The Arab workers who dumped stones at the site did not answer Arutz Sheva's questions and made haste to leave instead. Other municipality employees who were at the site confirmed that the construction is a Muslim land grab. Several tombstones were dug up, revealing no ancient graves or even remnants of graves underneath them, they said, adding that the municipality “is aware of the activity” and that it has initiated legal moves against the “tomb planters.”
Another worker at the site said that the “tomb planting” project was being financed by a rich Muslim from one of the Gulf states. Yet another employee said that the police “instructed the Muslims to stop their activity immediately” but that they are ignoring that instruction.
Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem David Hadari heard about the matter from Arutz Sheva and was dumbstruck by the news. “I am in a state of total shock,” he said. “Arutz Sheva has discovered the naked truth, and I intend to immediately turn to the Municipality Director to make use of all of the municipal enforcement arms so that while honoring the Muslim's deceased, we will not honor Muslim fictions that are simply intended to capture more land in eastern Jerusalem.”
MK Nisim Ze'ev (Shas) said the matter was a very serious one. “The Jerusalem Municipality is allowing complete abandonment of territory and assets," he said. "The Arabs are trying to conquer the Land of Israel in every possible way. If we do not wake up to their conniving ways we will find ourselves before a gaping chasm. We need to plow the area and take down all of the fictitious tombs.”
The apparent impotence of Jerusalem authorities in the face of brazen Arab land-grabs is also apparent in the matter of a huge wall that has been built around a Turkish cemetery.
The Muslims may be taking advantage of Israeli reluctance to act assertively regarding its land, in the face of pressure from the Obama administration over Jewish construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the razing of illegal Arab structures there.
In response to Arutz Sheva's query, the Jerusalem Municipality said: “The Jerusalem Municipality located the illegal activity at the site yesterday. The Municipality has contacted the Israel lands Authority as the owner of the land to return things to their former state. The Municipality will not allow extremist elements to act illegally to change the status quo.”
Photos: materials for new tombs after being dumped at the site, and after being shaped into 'tombs'.