Palestinians call on UNESCO to protect historic Jerusalem cemetery 16Feb11 February 17, 2011

WAFA Palestine News and Info Agency -  16 February 2011

JERUSALEM, February 16, 2011 (WAFA) – Descendants of the dead buried in Mammilla cemetery Wednesday called in a petition to UNESCO for immediate action to protect the ancient Islamic cemetery located in West Jerusalem.

The initiative came on Tuesday during a civil campaign after the Israeli High court has given the West Jerusalem municipality permission to dig and demolish 200 graves in the Muslim cemetery.

Israel wants to build the Tolerance museum on the grounds of the cemetery, where Muslim figures are buried.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the civil campaign to protect the cemetery filed a petition with UNESCO on behalf of 60 descendants of those buried in the cemetery.

The descendants called on UNESCO in January 2011 to perform its duties according to its mandate.

They clarified in the petition that the Israeli authorities have demolished thousands of graves and transferred many others to unknown places to build on their place a museum.

UNESCO responded to the first petition in 2010 by saying that it has no mandate outside the borders of the Old City in East Jerusalem.

However, the petition clarified that UNESCO‘s responsibility should not be limited to the Old City, but it should also intervene to protect this ancient site, the descendants added.

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