Israelis use Muslim cemetery as parking lot in Ashkelon 11Apr12 April 11, 2012

Alternative Information Centre  -  10 April 2012

Shoppers at a market in Israel’s coastal city of Ashkelon are using the nearby Muslim cemetery as a car park. The Ashkelon Municipality knows and is in no hurry to stop this. MK Tibi: This is part of overall Israeli disrespect for Muslim cemeteries.

Israeli shoppers at a temporary market in Israel’s coastal city of Ashkelon are using the nearby Muslim cemetery as a parking lot. According to the Israeli online media source nrg.co.il, the Ashkelon Municipality is aware of this phenomenon and even planted hundreds of trees around the cemetery area several weeks ago in the hope this would dissuade drivers from parking there, but to no avail.

 The Muslim cemetery was built in early 20th century and served residents of the Palestinian village of Majdal, residents of whom were deported by Israel mainly to the Gaza Strip in 1950, almost two years following creation of the Zionist state. Since then the cemetery has been neglected, with no government office taking responsibility for its proper upkeep.

 Member of Knesset Ahmad Tibi (Ra’am-Ta-al) noted that “this is intentional disregard for the feelings of Muslims…this disrespect is part of the disrespect for all Muslim cemeteries in Israel. Imaging if they would act this way in Jewish cemeteries in France or Poland?”

Nissim Swissa, Director of the Ashkelon Municipality’s Department for City Beautification, is quoted in nrg as saying that “the situation today is temporary due to construction of the new market and pressure around the Passover holiday. There is every intention to develop the area around the cemetery, with full respect for the area’s graves and through consultation with Waqf officials. In any event I believe that already in the coming weeks we will succeed in ending the current situation”.


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