Thursday, February 11, 2010

Row over plan to build Jewish museum of tolerance on site of Muslim cemetery

• Islamic groups say site contains thousands of graves
• Petition challenges court's decision to back project

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, Wednesday 10 February 2010

"A group of Palestinians descended from 15 of Jerusalem's oldest Arab families lodged a protest with the UN today in a fresh effort to prevent the construction of a "Museum of Tolerance" on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery.

The project, run by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles, has been dogged by controversy since its launch in 2004. Islamic groups and individual Palestinians complained that the site, in west Jerusalem, was the ancient cemetery of Ma'man Allah, also known as Mamilla, which housed thousands of graves dating back hundreds of years and where even today there are still many gravestones and tombs......

The petition contains maps, photographs and other documents to make the case that the museum site is on the grounds of the cemetery, as is the car park. When the car park was built in the early 1960s there were protests, the petition says, but Palestinians in Israel were under military law, which severely curtailed their civil rights, including their ability to challenge the work."

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