A solution was found to a 35-year court battle over a Muslim cemetery in Jaffa Thursday. According to the plan, yet to be approved by the Israeli Land Administration (ILA), the entrepreneur who owns the land on which the cemetery is situated will receive rights to an adjacent plot, leaving the cemetery untouched.
The entrepreneur purchased the land 35 years ago in a transaction approved by the Board of Trustees, the organization responsible for Muslim property in Jaffa.
Since then, every attempt to build on the legally purchased land has been prevented by the Muslim Council, which waged lengthy court battles against the construction. Recently, Muslim residents of the city led a public campaign against the cemetery's destruction.
Now the Tel Aviv Jaffa Municipality has offered a possible solution to the stalemate, according to which the entrepreneur will receive the rights to a plot of land adjacent to the cemetery, which belongs to the ILA. Thus the cemetery will remain untouched, the entrepreneur will be able to build, and the ILA will retain its property rights.
The sides are currently waiting for the ILA's approval, after which the plan will be transferred to the government to receive the final green light.
"The issue of the cemetery has been troubling the Arab community in Jaffa for many years now," said Gilad Peled, of the municipality. "The Muslim Council appealed to the municipality for help, through the recognition of the importance of maintaining the Arab holy sites in Jaffa."
Muslim Council spokesman Khaled Sawalahi commended the plan. "After an exhausting and agonizing journey that lasted over 30 years, we have finally succeeded to arrive at an agreement with the help of the Muslim Council and the Tel Aviv Municipality, which provides a solution for the contracting company and the cemetery," he said.