Israeli construction crew members bulldoze their way through a Muslim burial ground, reportedly removing hundreds of gravestones and injuring a protesting Arab.
The team on Monday rampaged through graves in the ancient al-Quds (Jerusalem) Maaman Allah cemetery, carrying on until Tuesday, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.
"The destruction is related to the issue of renovation. The Israeli establishment does not want us to renovate the graves so it is destroying them," said Mahmud Abu Atta of the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, which is responsible for the oversight of Muslim religious sites, AFP reported.
A bulldozer hit and moderately injured Ali Abu Sheikha, a local sheikh, who had stood up to the act of desecration, Ma’an said.
The incident marked the most destructive of its kind since 2009, when 1,500 bodies were exhumed for the construction of the controversial Museum of Tolerance. The planned building is to be built by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a US-based Jewish human rights group.
Alongside vast expanses of other Arab territories, Israel occupied al-Quds during full-fledged military operations in 1948.
In 1967, the regime went on to annex the eastern part of the city, which is hailed as the capital of any potential Palestinian state, and later defied the international community’s condemnation of its act.