The Magistrate Court issues an order obliging the Jerusalem municipality to stop all works on the land of the Yusufiya Cemetery and the Martyrs' Memorial in Jerusalem
December 24, 2020

Last Thursday, the Magistrate Court issued a precautionary order preventing the "Jerusalem Municipality" and "Moria Company" from carrying out any demolition and intrusion into the land adjacent to the Yusufiya cemetery on which the memorial to the martyrs of the 1967 battle is erected.

 The court agreed with the allegations of the lawyers Mohannad Jbara and Hamza Qutteineh, claiming that the discussion is about illegal actions carried out by the Jerusalem municipality, including the demolition of the stairs and the wall leading to the Yusufiya cemetery, Lions Gate and Al-Aqsa Mosque. It has been proven conclusively that the plot of land is the land of an Islamic cemetery. The cemeteries committee of the Islamic Endowments Department is responsible for it, and that the Jerusalem municipality operates in the place without any right and without any plan, and any approved license.

The two attorneys filed a petition against the "Jerusalem Municipality" and "Moria Company", in the name of the Committee for the Protection of Muslim Cemeteries in Jerusalem, claiming that "the municipality has no right to demolish the stairs leading to the Yusufiya cemetery and Lions Gate, and in any case has no right to demolish and break into the wall leading to the land adjacent to the Yusufiya cemetery, which is an integral part of the cemetery, as there are Muslim graves in it and the memorial to the martyrs of the 1967 war.

Lawyer Mohannad Jbara explained that during the session that took place to discuss the precautionary request against the Jerusalem municipality, which lasted over 4 hours, and after the witness was questioned by the Jerusalem municipality, it was categorically proven before the court that the land is a cemetery and an Islamic endowment and that the Jerusalem municipality does not own it and has no right to use it, after the Jerusalem municipality claimed, in passing and unclear, that it is the owner of the land without providing any evidence in this regard.

Lawyer Mohannad Jbara explained through his pleading before the court that the discussion is about an Islamic land that was designated as an Islamic cemetery since the days of the Jerusalem Municipality in the Jordanian era, and the clear documents confirming that this land was confiscated from its owners by the Jerusalem Municipality for the purpose of allocating it as a cemetery to expand the Yusufiyacemetery, as the Jerusalem Municipality handed over this land to the Islamic Endowment Department, which in turn preserved it as an Islamic endowment land for the purpose of establishing a cemetery, but after the 1967 war, Israel transformed the organization in the area so that this land was classified as green land, like hundreds of acres in East Jerusalem, whereconstruction is prohibitedand burying the dead is also not allowed.

Lawyer Hamzeh Qutteineh explained that the Israeli court clearly witnessed that the lawyers had more than reasonable claims regarding ownership of the land and regarding the classification of the land as a cemetery, unlike the Jerusalem municipality, which did not succeed in presenting any document confirming its ownership of the land, as it only claimed that it is registered in the records of the Property Tax Department, which in any case, has no legal value.

The two lawyers, Jbara and Qutteineh, bemoaned the behavior of the Jerusalem municipality and explained that even the Muslim cemeteries were not spared from the oppression of the Jerusalem municipality. Recently, a main road connecting from Sultan Suleiman Street to the area of ​​the cemeteries and Al-Aqsa Mosque was closed, and the demolition of the steps and wall of the cemetery is a method of brutality and bullying followed by an authority claiming to be working according to the law. The Jerusalem municipality only likes to establish parks and gardens over Muslim graves and remains, as to what happened in the two cemeteries "Bab al-Rahma and Ma'man Allah". There are Jewish cemeteries on Mount of Olives that extend to large areas and they never thought of converting even a part of it to public facilities.

The lawyers affirmed that the court’s decision to halt work is an important achievement at this stage, but the confrontation has not ended yet, as it became clear during the court session that the Jerusalem municipality is secretly trying to present a project of confiscation for this land and other neighboring lands without announcing it to the public, and that the filing of the petition revealed this hidden scheme that the municipality is working for, and that the legal team will confront all these measures and violations that target this Islamic cemetery.