Friday, October 06, 2006


rather ironic

One must never forget how easily the authorities moved the fresh Jewish graves from Gush Katif!

Court Orders Renegotiation of Museum of Tolerance Dispute

18:38 Oct 05, '06 / 13 Tishrei 5767
by Gil Zohar

Supreme Court Justices David Heshin, Ayala Procaccia and Edna Arbel Tuesday ordered the parties in the disputed Museum of Tolerance to sit together for 21 more days to try to reach an agreement.

At issue is whether or not build a $200-million facility promoting tolerance on the site of the historic but deconsecrated Ma'man Allah cemetery. The three-acre site adjoins Independence Park on Hillel Street in downtown Jerusalem and is part of an area known as Mamilla.

The judges said two principles are at issue: that bones should be treated with the utmost dignity; and that too many years have gone by since the cemetery was decommissioned, whence the Court cannot turn back the clock.

Islam permits moving graves which are declared mundras (abandoned), said Benny Cohen, spokesman for the museum. There are various "technical solutions" to the relocation of the disturbed graves, he said.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, director of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (pictured above) which is behind the controversial project designed by architect superstar Frank Gehry, was pleased that there was "no suggestion by any of the judges to relocate the site."

A 30-day cease work order was issued in February after lawyers for two Muslim organizations petitioned Israel's High Court of Justice, asserting that thousands of mujahadin (holy warriors) who died during the Crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries were buried at the site where the center is being built – which continued in use as Jerusalem's main Muslim cemetery until the 1930s. Mediation by former Chief Justice Meir Shamgar failed to achieve a compromise. In recent decades the site had served as a parking lot.

The delay has cost "way into seven figures," Rabbi Hier said, adding that $114-million has been raised to date from 17 donors without even beginning the fundraising campaign.

The Al Aqsa Foundation issued a statement Tuesday saying, "American Jews, clergymen and representatives of the American companies that support building the Museum of Tolerance arrived from America especially to attend sessions of the Israeli Supreme Court regarding the cemetery in an attempt to influence the decision and give the museum heightened significance. Building this museum is absolutely racist."

At Tuesday's hearing Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement inside the Green Line, outlined Israel's usage of Islamic holy sites and gave a brief history of the Mamilla area dispute. In letters to the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Mousa, he called upon the international organizations to help save the Ma'man Allah cemetery.

Jerusalem conservationist and architect David Kroyanker views Muslim opposition to building of the Museum of Tolerance as a matter of great hypocrisy and political opportunism.

"The whole matter is political. They're using the graves to show how Israel treats the Palestinians. It's an issue of political and financial haggling."
Kroyanker noted that in 1923 the Supreme Muslim Council, then headed by Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, drew up ambitious plans to build the al-Aqsa University on the cemetery site to counter-balance the newly-established Hebrew University of Jerusalem on remote Mount Scopus.

The project was finally halted by a failure to raise the funds.

My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold

A rainbow in the sky:

So was it when my life began;

So is it now I am a man;

So be it when I shall grow old,

Or let me die!

The Child is father of the Man;

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.

~~~by Age Of Conan gold
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