UNITED NATIONS, April 22 (KUNA) - Acting on behalf of the Arab group,
Kuwait on Thursday complained to the international community about Israel's
desecration of the Ma'man Allah (Mamilla) Cemetery in Jerusalem, called for
urgent action and warned that such action may further inflame tensions and
religious sensitivities in the region.
Kuwaiti Ambassador to the UN Mansour Al Otaibi sent out identical letters
to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Ali Treki and
Security Council President Yukio Takasu of Japan to draw their attention to
that "serious matter" which is of "critical importance" to the group.
"The Arab Group thus calls upon Your Excellency to give this matter urgent
attention. The international community must denounce the desecration of the
Ma'man Allah Cemetery, must undertake all efforts to compel Israel to suspend
completely its illegal and provocative actions in this regard and halt all
construction in the Cemetery, and to undertake efforts to properly, with
utmost sensitivity and conscience, redress the matter in order to preserve and
protect this historic, religious site of great importance to Palestinian Arab
and Muslim heritage," Al-Otaibi said in his letters.
He argued that since the 12th century, that cemetery has been the burial
site for thousands of Palestinian families as well as scholars, religious
figures and officials.
It was even declared a historic site by the Muslim Supreme Council in 1927,
and was pronounced an antiquities site by the British Mandate authorities in
1944, he added.
"Regrettably, today many of the descendants of the families buried there
are now tragically bearing witness to the malevolent uprooting and desecration
of the human remains and graves of their ancestors by the Israeli authorities,
who are bulldozing large areas of the cemetery for the purpose of establishing
a so-called 'Center for Human Dignity - Museum of Tolerance' atop of the
remains of the Muslim men, women and children buried there," he said.
He added that in the past, that cemetery has been subjected to vandalism,
destruction and desecration by radical Israeli settlers.
"These Israeli actions are being taken in total disregard for the
Palestinian heritage in Jerusalem and for the human and religious
sensitivities and concerning burial sites, which are to be preserved and
protected," He argued.
Moreover, he added, "these actions are reflective of a deep and callous
disrespect for the most basic values of tolerance and respect for the
heritage, culture and religion of another people and clearly constitute yet
another attempt by Israel to erase the Palestinian Arab identity, history and
presence in the land and particularly in the City of Jerusalem."
He recalled that the protection of cultural heritage and cultural
property, including religious sites such as cemeteries, is guaranteed by
international human rights instruments such as the UNESCO World Heritage
Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International
Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural
Moreover, he noted, such actions constitute violations of the rights to
manifest religious beliefs, to family and culture, and to freedom from
"These rights and principles have been invoked by thousands of petitioners,
including Muslim, Christian and Jewish personalities from around the world,
who have voiced their outrage and opposition to Israel's immoral, unethical
and illegal actions in the Ma'man Allah Cemetery," he said.
He stressed that the Arab countries "affirm their strong condemnation of
these deplorable Israeli measures in the Ma'man Allah Cemetery in Jerusalem,
an issue which threatens to further inflame tensions and religious
sensitivities in the region and beyond."
Palestinian Ambassador Ryiad Mansour also sent identical letters to Ban and
Takasu in which he enclosed a petition for "Urgent action" on the issue filed
by Palestinian individuals whose ancestors are buried at that cemetery and by
several other non governmental organizations from Palestine, Israel and the
United States who oppose the Israeli plan to build the Centre and the Museum.
"Ironically both the Centre and Museum bear names that do not befit this
act of bigotry and contempt to dignity and worth of the human person. Such
reprehensible actions show that the Israeli Government intends to continue its
adopted unlawful policy of discrimination and contempt towards Palestinian
Muslim and Christian holy places as it has been doing for over 62 years with
impunity," Mansour said.
"If left unchecked," he added, "the continuation of such unlawful policies
and inflammatory provocations will certainly raise the tensions and pose a
threat to peace and security. Therefore we expect that due action will be
taken in this regard to put an end to these violations." (end).
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