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Israeli occupation quells Palestinians trying to protect Yousefiyah Cemetery

Occupied Jerusalem (In Palestine Today)- The Israeli occupation police on Tuesday suppressed Jerusalemite citizens and arrested two of them as they gathered in and near the Muslim cemetery of al-Yusufiya in the Old City of Jerusalem in an attempt to protect it against destruction.

According to local sources, police forces in the morning and later in the afternoon expelled Palestinian young men from the cemetery, prevented others from entering it and fired stun grenades at other citizens as they were trying to stop Jewish settlers — working for the Israeli nature and parks authority — from wreaking havoc on the place and its graves.

Police officers also arrested a Jerusalemite young man identified as Mousa Khalaf during his presence in the cemetery.

Dozens of Palestinian citizens from Jerusalem and 1948 occupied Palestine (Israel) flocked in the morning to the cemetery and its vicinity to prevent and protest its destruction.

Later in the evening, police officers attacked anew Palestinian citizens after they rallied near the cemetery and performed the Maghrib (sunset) prayer on a road leading it.

Local sources said that the police intensified the presence of its forces in and around the cemetery, attacked young protesters with stun grenades and clubs and arrested one of them identified as Laith ash-Shalabi.

Last Monday, the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) resumed the destruction of the historic Muslim cemetery of al-Yusufiya near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Head of the Islamic cemeteries committee Mustafa Abu Zahra said then that an Israeli municipal crew escorted by police forces stormed the cemetery and embarked on carrying out bulldozing and digging works and destroying Palestinian and Arab graves.

He added that several local residents intervened, but police forces expelled them from the yard and prevented from entering it to protect graves of their relatives against destruction.

A few days ago, the Israeli municipality demolished part of the cemetery, exposing human remains buried in a section where Arab soldiers killed during the 1967 war were buried.

The municipality seeks to turn the cemetery into a park and paths as part of its plan to build multiple Talmudic parks and trails for Jewish settlers and tourists around the walls of the Old City.

In December 2020, the municipality demolished a stairway and a fence at the cemetery.

In 2014, it prevented Jerusalemite citizens from burying their relatives in the cemetery’s northern area and removed 20 graves of Jordanian soldiers who were killed in 1967.

Source: The Palestinian Information Center

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