Photo Credit: Jamal Awad/Flash90
People work at a construction site for a new public park, near the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, October 25, 2021. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90

The court today rejected a request made by the Muslim Waqf to stop the construction of a public park near the Yosefia cemetery in the eastern part of Jerusalem. The work is now being resumed.

A few weeks ago, human bones were discovered at the site and clerics in the east of the city came out against work being carried out by the Jerusalem municipality.

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This has been cited as a cause of a wave of riots in the Nablus Gate and in the area of Jerusalem’s Old City.

A source who was involved in plans to evacuate the cemetery, as well as the contacts between Israel and Jordan for the evacuation of garbage dumps and graves near Old City’s Lions Gate, told TPS that in the 1950s the government of Jordan worked to remove several individual graves found in that location.

The Jordanians planned to pave a road that would honor worshipers ascending to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Until the Six Day War, there was no cemetery at the site, but there were a few graves of a few Jordanian soldiers killed in the war. Neither Jordanian, nor Israeli authorities ever approved the establishment of a cemetery at the site.

However, in recent years, some residents of the Old City have been known to bury their dead sometimes in the Yosefia compound, which has become an illegal cemetery.

The area was also once home to a cattle market, which lasted until the early 2000s. The market caused a great deal of garbage to pile up there.

Jordan and Israel have negotiated over the years for a resolution to the problems with the trash dumps at this location. But various obstacles have prevented a final agreement from being reached.

However, in recent years talks have progressed and even initial engineering plans have been approved in coordination with the Jerusalem Municipality.

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.