Israeli Authorities Seize Large Tract of Ancient Muslim Cemetery

JERUSALEM, September 2, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities Wednesday morning seized a large section of an ancient Muslim cemetery, located along the eastern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound near the Golden Gate.

WAFA correspondent reported that inspectors from the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority installed barbed wire fence around a large tract of Bab Al-Rahma cemetery in order to transform it into a national park. The inspectors were escorted by large Israeli troops.

Local media reported on chief custodian of Islamic cemeteries Mustafa Abu Zahra as saying Israeli occupation authorities seized new and large tracts of the cemetery in order to set new boundaries for the cemetery using fences.

Abu Zahra explained that Bab Al-Rahma cemetery is an Islamic endowment that has been targeted by Israeli occupation authorities for years; they have seized large tracts of the cemetery and banned the burial of Muslims in order to turn it into a national park.

This came about 17 days after Israeli police and Nature Authority inspectors seized and installed barbed wire fence around a large tract of land located along the northeastern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and next to the cemetery. The land reportedly belongs to the al-Husseini and the al-Ansari families.

Over 40 Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan confronted and forced Israeli workers installing the fence to stop work and remove the fence.

Over 1,400 years old, Bab Al-Rahma Muslim cemetery contains a number of graves of the companions of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad and for those who died during the times of Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi.

The cemetery has two plaques indicating that two companions of Islam’s Prophet, namely Shaddad bin Aus and Ubadah Ibn al-Samet, are buried here.