Israelis contend that Muslims have attempted to expand the cemetery west of the Old City of Jerusalem by adding tombstones over empty plots. From the New York Times:
The latest skirmish in the war for every inch of this coveted city focused this week on the dead. Did Israeli government bulldozers, working in the middle of the night, destroy hundreds of historic Muslim graves? Or were the removed tombstones outrageous fakes placed on parkland in a ruse?
Each side in the dispute — a fiery branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and the right-wing Jerusalem municipality — is accusing the other of shamelessness and indecency. The area in question is in West Jerusalem, a predominantly Jewish area next to a contested site where the Simon Wiesenthal Center is planning a branch devoted to tolerance and human dignity.
“This is a despicable and, frankly, sad publicity stunt,” Stephan Miller, a spokesman for the Jerusalem municipality, said of the tombstones, which he called fictitious. “It is a slap in the face of freedom of religion and the preservation of religious sites that we work day and night to ensure.”
For its part, an Islamic foundation that had been fixing up and installing the headstones said its work was entirely legal and it believed the late-night destruction of the tombs was part of a city effort to take over the cemetery for more mundane needs.
The full story is here.
HT: Joe Lauer