Daily Israel Report

Govt. Accused of Stalling on Arab Burial near Temple Mount

Jerusalem activist appeals to the Supreme Court, saying government officials tricked him with false promises regarding Arab burial.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/18/2012, 10:57 AM

Aryeh King
Aryeh King
Flash 90

Jerusalem activist and city counselor Aryeh King (National Union-Ichud Leumi) has filed suit to the Supreme Court, asking to cancel an extension in the matter of Arab burial near the Temple Mount.

King has accused government officials of leading him on with false promises, while Arab funerals at a national park site near the Temple Mount continue unchecked.

The story began in 2004, when a resident of Jerusalem’s Old City told King that local Arabs were burying their dead just outside the Temple Mount, even though burial at the site was forbidden. The Old City police commander at the time, Niso Shacham, attempted to dismiss the story as fiction, but the Supreme Court accepted a plea from King and the city began to uphold the law in the area.

For years the funerals stopped, and the park was protected, King told Arutz Sheva. Then Niso Shacham was named regional police head, he said, and the park was neglected once more, and Arab burials resumed.

Local Arabs have put up a fence and gate at the site, giving it the appearance of a cemetery.

King appealed to the Supreme Court again. During the process, he was summoned to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, where officials promised that the issue would be dealt with by Ramadan. King agreed to push off his appeal accordingly.

Now, he said, with Ramadan three days away, “I see that they tricked me, and the Supreme Court.”

In his appeal, he noted, he cited the verdict in the Ulpana case, in which Supreme Court President Asher Gronis ruled that the state must expel residents of the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El from their homes before building new homes for them, in order to fulfill its obligations quickly. Also here, King argued, the state must be required to act immediately.