Sunday, October 25, 2020

Palestinian Bedouin village rejects Israeli construction on Muslim cemetery

By Patty Diphusa - August 27, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Bedouin]

Residents of a Bedouin Palestinian village of Hashem Zana in southern Israel have filed a case to the Israeli Supreme Court to prevent the construction of a water storage tank on a Muslim cemetery. 

The construction plan, which was first announced in 2017 is run by the Mekorot national water company as reported by the Middle East Monitor.

The Middle East Monitor reported after the announcement of the Merokot plan, the area was fenced and that the population of Hashem Zana were notified in June that the construction work was going to be enforced. 

Inhabitants of Hashem Zana, one of the many Bedouin villages lacking 'official recognition’, rejected the project to move the graves and presented a petition to the Supreme Court to prevent Merokot to continue with its plans.

According to Haaretz, the construction project was stopped “shortly after its inception when a concrete structure identified as a grave was discovered at the site, alongside several piles of stones”.

Residents also told Haaretz that the cemetery was in use prior to the Nakba in 1948 when the State of Israel was created until the 1990s when locals “began burying their relatives in an alternative graveyard”.

Haaretz also reported that Israeli authorities knew about the existence of the graves since "it was included in an objection to the general outline for the region submitted to the National Planning and Building Council in 2007 by Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, an Israeli NGO”. 

In an interview with Haaretz, Salam al-Ethman, whose grandfather is buried in the cemetery, stated that “the residents do not object to building a water tank, but ask that it be built on a nearby hill, which professionals say is just as suitable as the designated site”. 

“Just leave the graves alone,” he added.

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