Earlier this month, Israeli police forces dressed in civilian clothes broke into the Palestinian al-Mujahidin cemetery and destroyed the tombstones of seven Palestinians killed by Israel.
Located just outside the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, al-Mujahidin cemetery is the final resting place of several Palestinian “martyrs” who were killed by Israeli forces in the so-called Jerusalem Intifada that began in 2015.
Many of the slain Palestinians who are buried in the cemetery were deemed by the Israeli state as “terrorists” after some carried out attacks on Israelis. Several of the Palestinians’ bodies were held for hundreds of days by the Israeli state before being returned to their families for burial.
Prior to the release of their bodies, however, the Israeli police stipulated that any Palestinian from East Jerusalem accused of terrorism be buried in the al-Mujahidin cemetery, as opposed to the cemeteries in their respective towns.
Due to the fact that many slain Palestinians were buried in al-Mujahidin cemetery, it became a place where Palestinians from Jerusalem, and those visiting from the West Bank and elsewhere, would visit to pay their respects.
The tombstones of the slain Palestinians were engraved about a year-and-a-half ago with a verse from the Quran and the sentence “graves of heroic martyrs of the Intifada of Jerusalem.” Israeli authorities objected to the use of the word “hero,” and demanded the cemetery administration removed the new addition.
After the administration refused, the Israeli officers broke in in the middle of the night and destroyed the tombstones with hammers and other hand tools.