The cemetery after concrete tombstones were put there
Photo: Jaffa 48
Jaffa residents protest clearing of ancient Muslim cemetery
Cemetery was uncovered three weeks ago during construction works at the corner of Elisabeth Bergner and Nahum Goldmann streets; local residents demonstrate against removal of tombstones, calling out 'Allahu Akbar,' one detained for disturbing the peace.
Tel Aviv municipality employees, aided by a large police force, evacuated on Wednesday an ancient Muslim cemetery uncovered three weeks ago during construction works done at the corner of Elisabeth Bergner and Nahum Goldmann streets in Jaffa.
Jaffa residents arrived at the scene as employees were removing the tombstones from the burial plot to protest the move, calling out "Allahu Akbar."
One protester was detained for questioning for disturbing the peace.
Muslim cemetery uncovered in Jaffa (צילום: מוטי קמחי)
The ancient Muslim cemetery was uncovered last month by power shovels digging at the construction site. The workers began gathering the bones into cardboard boxes and buckets, intending to continue the works, but local residents led by the Islamic Movement in Israel began demonstrating against the move.
A representative of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality who arrived at the site, accompanied by police forces, ordered the immediate halt of works, which satisfied the protesters.
After works were halted, several residents came to the scene, spray-painting the fence of the construction site with "Sacred place - digging is forbidden."
On Friday, Jaffa residents, including representatives of the Islamic Movement in Israel, arrived at the ancient cemetery and set up signs around it saying "Cemetery - sacred grounds." They also poured concrete over the graves, creating tombstones.
The municipality considered the move an invasion of land it owns and ordered the removal of the concrete tombstones before facts-on-the-ground could be set.
According to construction plans, a three-floor structure is supposed to be erected at the site, which will house a homeless shelter, offices and a commercial complex.