Europeans for al-Quds condemns bulldozing Yusufiya Cemetery in occupied Jerusalem

Europeans for al-Quds Association strongly condemns the Israeli authorities’ demolishing of parts of the Yusufiya cemetery adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque, preparing for turning it into a public park.

The bulldozing process comes in the context of an unprecedented Israeli escalation aims to change the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque, by trying to impose “silent prayer” for Jews in the mosque, while employing the Israeli judiciary to try to legitimize decisions that affect the rights of Palestinians and the rules of international law, the Association said in a statement.

On Sunday, October 10, 2021, the bulldozers of the Israeli occupation bulldozed parts of the Yusufiya cemetery adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque from the eastern side.

The bulldozing operations destructed one of the graves and the remains of the dead bodies appeared. Later, the Palestinians in Jerusalem were able to restore the grave after suppressing a demonstration and injuring two civilians, one of whom was an ambulance officer, by the Israeli occupation.

The bulldozing operations in the cemetery came after the Israeli courts responded to the request of the occupation municipality in Jerusalem and the Nature Authority to resume the bulldozing work in the cemetery.

The decision also includes allowing the conversion of a plot of land into a public park for Jews in order to prevent Muslims from creating new graves in it, as part of efforts to Judaize Jerusalem and change its history and geography.

This is not the first time that the Yusufiya cemetery has been subjected to bulldozing. In early December 2020, the occupation forces demolished the cemetery’s wall and the stairs at the entrance leading to it, and then continued excavation and bulldozing work in the Martyrs’ Cemetery, which includes the remains of martyrs from the Iraqi and Jordanian armies, in favor of the Biblical Garden path.

In 2014, the Israeli authorities prevented burial in the northern part of the cemetery and removed 20 graves belonging to Jordanian soldiers killed in 1967.

The bulldozing operation that affected the Islamic cemetery came in the context of the great Israeli escalation, which seeks to impose facts on the ground in terms of the Judaization of Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings, including the expulsion of Jerusalemite figures, the last of which was Sheikh Ikrima Sabri on the same day.

Europeans for al-Quds denounce the deportation of the preacher of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, from the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque for a week after an investigation lasted with him for more than six hours in the Al-Maskobiya detention center.

 This was preceded by the decision issued by an Israeli court on October 6, that allows  Jews to perform “silent prayers” in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In its decision, the court claimed that “the presence of Jewish worshipers on the Temple Mount does not constitute a criminal act as long as their prayers remain silent.”

Following the outrage over the unprecedented decision, the Israeli police announced that there would be no change in preventing Jews from praying in Al-Aqsa without an official announcement to cancel the court’s decision, at a time when witnesses spoke of an actual performing of silent prayer by Jews in the courtyards of the mosque.

As Europeans for al-Quds condemns the new Israeli escalation, it reminds that the attack on cemeteries is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates the respect and maintenance of graves. In addition, the First Additional Protocol stressed that the parties must reach agreements to protect and preserve cemeteries on a permanent basis.

The acts of the occupation are characterized by racial discrimination. At a time when it is demolishing Muslim cemeteries and seeking to bulldoze them, it announces that it will establish a biblical garden for the Jews. Also, it allows the Jews to perform silent prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque in an attempt to impose a new fait accompli that denies authentic and historical rights.

Moreover, the decision adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on October 18, 2016 – during a meeting in the French capital, Paris denies the existence of a religious connection for Jews to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Buraq Wall, and stresses that they are a pure Islamic heritage.

The Israeli occupation authorities’ continued violation of the sanctity of religious sanctities in the city of East Jerusalem, the attack on worshipers, the violation of freedom of worship and the prevention of worshipers from reaching the holy places and performing prayers there constitute a flagrant violation of the freedom of worship and the right to practice religious rites guaranteed by the international laws and conventions, especially the International Bill of Human Rights.

Europeans for al-Quds urges the international community to move quickly to stop the attacks of the occupation and protect Palestinian civilians, their sanctities and cemeteries.

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