Israel has approved plans to build a residential neighborhood on the ruins of an ancient Muslim cemetery in West Jerusalem, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Monday.
“The Jerusalem District Committee for Planning and Building last week approved construction of 192 residential units, a 480-room hotel and a shopping mall on the ruins of a historic Muslim cemetery in West Jerusalem,” the newspaper said.
According Israel’s Antiquities Authority, graves and human remains have been found in the cemetery.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, a Palestinian NGO, blasted the project.
“For years, Israel has continued to Judaize Jerusalem’s historic Mamilla Cemetery,” the NGO said in a statement.
The cemetery, it added, “will remain a part of our Islamic heritage despite Israel’s attempts to distort Jerusalem’s Arab and Islamic history."
Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city of Jerusalem in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.
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