Monday, March 12, 2012

360 Afghan Papers; the Ottoman Sultan who refused to sell land in Palestine to Zionists

Afghan Papers; the Ottoman Sultan who refused to sell land in Palestine to Zionists

Cryptome has been publishing articles against Assange by someone calling himself "Wikileaks Insider": http://cryptome.org/0001/wikileaks-dump.htm

I believe that "Wikileaks Insider" is bogus - actually a covert agent working for the US Government. He's attacking Assange "from the inside" - trying to damage his credibility among his supporters and followers.

Even so, the Afghan Papers is low-grade material - hardly a scoop.

(1) Wikileaks Defence
(2) The Guardian's assessment of the Afghan Papers
(3) Does Turkey's realignment reinstate Huntington's Clash of Civilizations?-response Leo
(4) The Ottoman Sultan who refused to sell land in Palestine to Zionists
(5) WWII: Role of the Soviet defeat of Japanese army in Manchuria in Japan's surrender
(6) The Soviet 12-day defeat of Japan's Kwangtung Army in Manchuria
(7) Appeal to UN over Israel's destruction of ancient Muslim burial ground

(1) Wikileaks Defence

From: Ian Henshall <crisisnewsletter@pro-net.co.uk> Date: 22.08.2010 08:44 PM

I agree with Israel Shamir: there is little if any evidence to think Wikileaks is some sort of a Pentagon scam: people's time would be better spent going through the raw data like the New York Times has done. The material simply tells us what people in the intelligence community think - and probably confirms that for the most part they are ill-informed, unaware of the big picture and engaged in a massive game of chinese whispers. I agree that some 9/11 sceptics act as a sect and that includes the self appointed moderates who refuse to look at the story of Flight 77 and question what happened at the Pentagon

However I would add

1. Shamir is wrong to dismiss all 9/11 sceptics as a sect; for once he makes an elementary failure of logic: because some truthers act like a sect anyone who is sceptical of the 9/11 story is part of a sect. This is to confuse individual psychology with political analysis. What the 9/11 sceptic community does demand is that those who have seen through the realities of the US Empire, for instance Chomsky or Shamir, should agree that there should be no presumption in favour of the official 9/11 story. When they fail to do that and at the same time display a profound ignorance of the subject we do get irritated. Maybe we are in the sect that believes in rational fact based discourse above finger-in-the-wind political pontificating.

2. Assange is under a lot of pressure, many would feel that his life is at risk, so I for one do not blame him at this stage for what looks like a stupid comment about 9/11. Are we even sure he was not misquoted?

3. The reason Assanage's alleged comment about 9/11 was stupid, is that you would not expect general hacked intelligence material to give any clue to the truth about 9/11. One thing we can hopefully all agree on is that 9/11 conspirators in the US intelligence community would not be circulating smoking gun admissions of guilt nearly ten years later in general merely top secret intelligence chatter, the material that Assange has managed to hack into.

In my book 911 The New Evidence I have demonstrated that there is a paper trail of suspicion (many would say guilt) over 9/11 in published US documents which leads back to George Tenet and Cofer Black of the CIA and to Mossad. I call on 9/11 sceptics to trawl carefully through Assange's material, not for a smoking gun on 9/11 but for yet more pieces of the jigsaw to add to those we have already. In the end the picture will, I predict, become so compelling that even Assange and Shamir will accept it. It's a pity we will have had to wait ten years for a recognition of what to many people in the Middle East and many students of the Gladio and the CIA (yes I am old enough to remember Phillip Agee too) was a common sense possibility from day one.

(2) The Guardian's assessment of the Afghan Papers
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/25/afghanistan-war-logs-military-leaks

Afghanistan war logs: Massive leak of secret files exposes truth of occupation

• Hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops
• Covert unit hunts leaders for 'kill or capture'
• Steep rise in Taliban bomb attacks on Nato
• Read the Guardian's full war logs investigation

Nick Davies and David Leigh

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 July 2010 22.03 BST

  The war logs reveal civilian killings by coalition forces, secret efforts to eliminate Taliban and al-Qaida leaders, and discuss the involvement of Iran and Pakistan in supporting insurgents. Photograph: Max Whittaker/Corbis

A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.

The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.

Their publication comes amid mounting concern that Barack Obama's "surge" strategy is failing and as coalition troops hunt for two US naval personnel captured by the Taliban south of Kabul on Friday.

The war logs also detail:

• How a secret "black" unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.

• How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.

• How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.

• How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.

In a statement, the White House said the chaotic picture painted by the logs was the result of "under-resourcing" under Obama's predecessor, saying: "It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009."

The White House also criticised the publication of the files by Wikileaks: "We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact the US government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans, our partners, and local populations who co-operate with us."

The logs detail, in sometimes harrowing vignettes, the toll on civilians exacted by coalition forces: events termed "blue on white" in military jargon. The logs reveal 144 such incidents.

Some of these casualties come from the controversial air strikes that have led to Afghan government protests, but a large number of previously unknown incidents also appear to be the result of troops shooting unarmed drivers or motorcyclists out of a determination to protect themselves from suicide bombers.

At least 195 civilians are admitted to have been killed and 174 wounded in total, but this is likely to be an underestimate as many disputed incidents are omitted from the daily snapshots reported by troops on the ground and then collated, sometimes erratically, by military intelligence analysts.

Bloody errors at civilians' expense, as recorded in the logs, include the day French troops strafed a bus full of children in 2008, wounding eight. A US patrol similarly machine-gunned a bus, wounding or killing 15 of its passengers, and in 2007 Polish troops mortared a village, killing a wedding party including a pregnant woman, in an apparent revenge attack.

Questionable shootings of civilians by UK troops also figure. The US compilers detail an unusual cluster of four British shootings in Kabul in the space of barely a month, in October/November 2007, culminating in the death of the son of an Afghan general. Of one shooting, they wrote: "Investigation controlled by the British. We are not able to get [sic] complete story."

A second cluster of similar shootings, all involving Royal Marine commandos in Helmand province, took place in a six-month period at the end of 2008, according to the log entries. Asked by the Guardian about these allegations, the Ministry of Defence said: "We have been unable to corroborate these claims in the short time available and it would be inappropriate to speculate on specific cases without further verification of the alleged actions."

Rachel Reid, who investigates civilian casualty incidents in Afghanistan for Human Rights Watch, said: "These files bring to light what's been a consistent trend by US and Nato forces: the concealment of civilian casualties. Despite numerous tactical directives ordering transparent investigations when civilians are killed, there have been incidents I've investigated in recent months where this is still not happening.

Accountability is not just something you do when you are caught. It should be part of the way the US and Nato do business in Afghanistan every time they kill or harm civilians." The reports, many of which the Guardian is publishing in full online, present an unvarnished and often compelling account of the reality of modern war.

Most of the material, though classified "secret" at the time, is no longer militarily sensitive. A small amount of information has been withheld from publication because it might endanger local informants or give away genuine military secrets. Wikileaks, whose founder, Julian Assange, obtained the material in circumstances he will not discuss, said it would redact harmful material before posting the bulk of the data on its "uncensorable" servers.

Wikileaks published in April this year a previously suppressed classified video of US Apache helicopters killing two Reuters cameramen on the streets of Baghdad, which gained international attention. A 22-year-old intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, was arrested in Iraq and charged with leaking the video, but not with leaking the latest material. The Pentagon's criminal investigations department continues to try to trace the leaks and recently unsuccessfully asked Assange, he says, to meet them outside the US to help them. Assange allowed the Guardian to examine the logs at our request. No fee was involved and Wikileaks was not involved in the preparation of the Guardian's articles.

(3) Does Turkey's realignment reinstate Huntington's Clash of Civilizations?-response Leo
From: leo schmit <leoschmit@yahoo.com> Date: 22.08.2010 11:57 AM

It is not Erdogan who re-instates Huntington, but Mrs Magan, aka Hirsi Ali, who does so on behalf of the neo-con American Enterprise Institute where she found refuge from her 'persecution' in Europe, where in turn she found refuge from her 'persecution' in Germay, and before in Kenia, and before, yes she once was a little girl in Somalia, but changed her name and story as she pleased until she discovered the was on islam as her main vocation.

Obviously, cooking up so many refugee histories and fighting for freedom on the AEI payroll has prevented Mrs Magan from reading real history, because she would have realised that there is 700 year Ottoman history to take into account, during which the fates of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Arab deserts and coasts, yes indeed even the Persian fate in the East and the Balkan fates in the West, Kreta, Cyprus and Greece, were all tied into Turkey's exploits (for good and for worse). The most essential feature of this imperial amalgam was the co-existence of the different faiths of the region, noting that the Jewish and Armenian bankers of the last centuries grossly abused their privileges, to the point that in the end Jews offered the last sultan, Abdulhamid II to finance his government in exchange for land in Palestine. (See Moubayed below in Atimes)

Jews financing governments, where did we herar this before? But never mind, that is now not the main point. According to Moubayed this episode is now being re-evaluated in Turkish public discourse as is aptly narrated in his article in Asia times which I copy below, after being alerted to it this morning by our friend Willem from the Netherlands. Note how Erdogan states his sense of responsibility to the entire realm. Note how Erdogan has repeated his commitment to plural tolerance of the faiths. 

See also a detailed narrative of the Ottoman empire in Cariline Finkel 'Osman's dream, that also documents  the vast cultural and physical heritage of the Ottomans all over the place.

But for Mrs Magan it is all Huntington all over again. It seems that de WoT needs some boosting, going stale after 9 years.

Leo

(4) The Ottoman Sultan who refused to sell land in Palestine to Zionists

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LH21Ak01.html

Last sultan gets a modern makeover

By Sami Moubayed

Aug 21, 2010

DAMASCUS - For the past year, sporadic articles have appeared in the Arabic press debating the life and policies of Sultan Abdulhamid II, the last absolute monarch of the Ottoman Empire, who ruled from 1876 until forced to abdicate in 1909.

For decades after the collapse of the empire, especially when Arab republics were in their infancy, Abdulhamid II was blamed for much of the difficulties that crippled Arab provinces of the empire, especially Ottoman Syria.

In TV soap operas or novels he was always portrayed as an autocratic despot who managed a wide array of corrupt Arab officials and a massive network of spies who reported directly to him behind the high walls of his Yildiz Palace in Istanbul. But a more balanced appraisal of his actions and legacy is emerging as Arab scholars revisit that period of their modern history.

In recent articles, plenty of light has been shed on the sultan's refusal to sell land in Palestine to Zionists, prior to World War II. After turning down the offer, Abdulhamid famously refused to meet Mizray Qrasow, the Jewish banker who had offered to pay off the Empire's debts and build a navy in exchange for the right to buy land in Palestine. Abdulhamid - according to the Arab and Turkish version of events - told one of his aides, "Tell those impolite Jews that I am not going to carry the historical shame of selling holy land to the Jews and betraying the responsibility and trust of my people!"

Once seen as the source of all things evil, Abdulhamid is now revealed as a farsighted ruler who suffered his throne because of his defiance of Zionist ambitions in Palestine. The passing of time has enabled scholars to quietly take a long hard look at their history away from emotional bolts of Arab nationalism. The warming of Arab ties under Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a man who very clearly is proud of his Ottoman past, has also contributed to this revisionist history.

On August 11, a mega-Arab TV drama depicting the life and career of Abdulhamid began airing on Arab satellite networks. Suqut al-Khilafa (Fall of the Caliphate) paints a rosy picture of the sultan and is a far cry from a 1994 epic, Ukhwat al-Turab (Brothers of Soil) which focused on the hardships, famine, torture, and arrests of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

The handwriting for positive treatment has been on the wall for years. Two years ago, popular Turkish soap operas, with handsome men and attractive women, broke into Arabic TV, dubbed into Syrian dialect, bringing down decades of Arab stereotypes against Turks. Now comes Suqut al-Khilafa, an Egyptian work produced by Iraqis starring the popular Syrian actor Abbas al-Nouri as Abdulhamid. The Ottoman sultan is now portrayed as a warm, firm, charming and dedicated Muslim nationalist who had tremendous care for all his subjects, be they Ottoman Turks or Ottoman Arabs.

Meanwhile, Arab and Turkish scholars are debating - at forums and in private discussions - the past 10 years of the Ottoman Empire, reasoning that neither the Ottomans were 100% correct in how they dealt with the Arabs during World War II, and nor were the Arabs.

The warming of political ties between the Arab world and Turkey have indeed begun to reap serious cultural engagement. In addition to boosting trade with the Arab world and coordinating policies vis-a-vis Palestine, Turkey has lifted visa requirements with six Arab countries, being Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunis and Jordan. Erdogan best described it saying that a "regional Schengen" system, similar to the agreement signed between European countries in Luxembourg in 1985, was now in operation.

Effectively, this makes Turkey and Arab countries closer to how they had been under the Ottoman Empire than ever before since its collapse in 1918. Over the past eight years, Erdogan has reminded Arabs that despite a very rough history - during the final decade of the Empire and ever since - Turkish influence, and the Ottoman legacy as a whole, is not as bad as Arab history has labeled it.

Erdogan has said repeatedly that he feels defending Turkish national interests is no different from defending those of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, given their common geography, history, social, religious and cultural proximity. Many of the finest buildings in Damascus and Beirut, after all, were constructed during the Ottoman era, and the Syrian capital's great bazaar, al-Hamidiya, is named after Sultan Abdulhamid's predecessor, Abdulhamid I.

So were many of the codes, laws of commerce and aspects of civil administration, which lasted well into the 20th century. The Ottoman influence on Arab language, heritage, music, and cuisine, cannot be ignored - despite years of attempts to write off any Ottoman influence as destructive to Arab culture.

With one or two exceptions, all those who lived the era of Abdulhamid II have passed on. But due to his commanding personality much is still known. The sultan's son-in-law briefly served as prime minister of Syria in the mid-1920s, while members of his immediate family continued to commute back and forth to Damascus well into the 1960s.

Many family members of the sultan's entourage, the Abids, the Azms, the Yusefs, went on to dominate Syrian politics up to 1963. Seeing the sultan on screen has sparked off a healthy historical debate on where to place Abdulhamid II on the spectrum of Arab and Muslim history. His image reminds both his admirers and critics that, whether they like it or not, Arab countries and Turkey are inseparable.

Sami Moubayed is editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine.

(5) WWII: Role of the Soviet defeat of Japanese army in Manchuria in Japan's surrender

From: IHR News <news@ihr.org> Date: 23.08.2010 08:00 AM

http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=385&sid=2027596

Historians rethink key Soviet role in Japan defeat

August 14, 2010 - 1:27pm

{caption} FILE - In this Tuesday, July 17,1945 file picture, President Harry Truman, center, talks with Soviet leader Josef Stalin, left, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, at the Potsdam Conference in Potsdam, Germany, near Berlin. Historians declare the conference was the start of the Cold War, the division of Germany and Europe into opposing camps. In recent years some historians have argued that a Soviet surprise attack on the Japanese army occupying eastern Asia served as effectively as _ or possibly more than _ the atomic bombs in ending the war. (AP Photo/File) {end}

By SLOBODAN LEKIC
Associated Press Writer

(AP) - As the United States dropped its atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, 1.6 million Soviet troops launched a surprise attack on the Japanese army occupying eastern Asia. Within days, Emperor Hirohito's million-man army in the region had collapsed.

It was a momentous turn on the Pacific battleground of World War II, yet one that would be largely eclipsed in the history books by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the same week 65 years ago. But in recent years some historians have argued that the Soviet action served as effectively as - or possibly more than - the A-bombs in ending the war.

Now a new history by a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara seeks to reinforce that view, arguing that fear of Soviet invasion persuaded the Japanese to opt for surrender to the Americans, who they believed would treat them more generously than the Soviets.

Japan's forces in northeast Asia first tangled with the Russians in 1939 when the Japanese army tried to invade Mongolia. Their crushing defeat at the battle of Khalkin Gol induced Tokyo to sign a neutrality pact that kept the USSR out of the Pacific war.

Tokyo turned its focus to confronting U.S., British and Dutch forces instead, which led to the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

But following the German surrender on May 8, 1945, and having suffered a string of defeats in the Philippines, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, Japan turned to Moscow to mediate an end to the Pacific war.

However, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had already secretly promised Washington and London that he would attack Japan within three months of Germany's defeat. He thus ignored Tokyo's plea, and mobilized more than a million troops along Manchuria's border.

Operation August Storm was launched Aug. 9, 1945, as the Nagasaki bomb was dropped, and would claim the lives of 84,000 Japanese and 12,000 Soviet soldiers in two weeks of fighting. The Soviets ended up just 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Japan's main northern island, Hokkaido.

"The Soviet entry into the war played a much greater role than the atomic bombs in inducing Japan to surrender because it dashed any hope that Japan could terminate the war through Moscow's mediation," said Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, whose recently published "Racing the Enemy" examines the conclusion of the Pacific war and is based on recently declassified Soviet archives as well as U.S. and Japanese documents.

"The emperor and the peace party (within the government) hastened to end the war expecting that the Americans would deal with Japan more generously than the Soviets," Hasegawa, a Russian-speaking American scholar, said in an interview.

Despite the death toll from the atomic bombings _ 140,000 in Hiroshima, 80,000 in Nagasaki the Imperial Military Command believed it could hold out against an Allied invasion if it retained control of Manchuria and Korea, which provided Japan with the resources for war, according to Hasegawa and Terry Charman, a historian of World War II at London's Imperial War Museum.

"The Soviet attack changed all that," Charman said. "The leadership in Tokyo realized they had no hope now, and in that sense August Storm did have a greater effect on the Japanese decision to surrender than the dropping of the A-bombs."

In the U.S., the bombings are still widely seen as a decision of last resort against an enemy that appeared determined to fight to the death. President Harry S. Truman and U.S. military leaders believed an invasion of Japan would cost hundreds of thousands of American lives.

American historian Richard B. Frank has argued that as terrible as the atomic bombs were, they saved hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and millions of Japanese troops and civilians who would have perished if the conflict had gone on until 1946.

"In the famous words of Secretary of War Henry Stimson, (the bombs) were the 'least abhorrent choice' of a dreadful array of option facing American leaders," he said in an interview. "Alternatives to the atomic bombs carried no guarantee as to when they would end the war and carried a far higher price in human death and suffering."

Frank, who is writing a three-volume history of the Pacific war, said he continued to disagree with Hasegawa on the relative importance of the Soviet intervention and the A-bombs in forcing the surrender decision.

But he said they agreed that ultimate responsibility for what happened lay with Japan's government and Hirohito, who had decided in June to draft almost the entire population, men and most women, to fight to the death.

(6) The Soviet 12-day defeat of Japan's Kwangtung Army in Manchuria

Soviet invasion of Manchuria (1945)

The Soviet invasion of Manchuria or, as the Soviets named it, the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation , began on August 9, 1945, with the Soviet invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo and was the largest campaign of the 1945 Soviet-Japanese War.

The Soviets conquered Manchukuo, Mengjiang (inner Mongolia), northern Korea, southern Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands. The rapid defeat of Japan's Kwantung Army was a significant factor in the Japanese surrender and the termination of World War II.[1][2][5][6]

Summary

As agreed with the Allies at the Tehran Conference (November 1943) and the Yalta Conference (February 1945), the Soviet Union entered World War II's Pacific Theater within three months of the end of the war in Europe. The invasion began on August 9, 1945, precisely three months after the German surrender on May 8 (May 9, 0:43 Moscow time).

Although the commencement of the invasion fell between the atomic bombings of Hiroshima, on August 6, and Nagasaki, on August 9, the timing of the invasion had been planned well in advance and was determined by the timing of the agreements at Tehran and Yalta, the long term buildup of Soviet forces in the Far East since Tehran, and the date of the German surrender; on August 3, Marshal Vasilevsky reported to Stalin that, if necessary, he could attack on the morning of August 5.

At 11pm Trans-Baikal time on 8 August 1945, Soviet foreign minister Molotov informed Japanese ambassador Sato that the Soviet Union had declared war on the Empire of Japan, and that from August 9 the Soviet Government would consider itself to be at war with Japan.[7] At one minute past midnight Trans-Baikal time on 9 August 1945, the Soviets commenced their invasion simultaneously on three fronts to the east, west and north of Manchuria ...

the speed of Soviet advances far outpaced any sort of fighting withdrawal the Japanese could conduct, which formed a crucial element of the entire Japanese strategy for defending the Manchurian heartland.

After a week of fighting, during which Soviet forces had penetrated deep into Manchukuo, Japan's Emperor Hirohito recorded the Gyokuon-h?s? which was broadcast on radio to the Japanese nation on August 15, 1945. The idea of surrender was incomprehensible to the Japanese people, and combined with Hirohito's use of formal and archaic language, the fact that he did not use the actual word "surrender", the poor quality of the broadcast, and poor lines of communication, there was some confusion amongst the Japanese about what the announcement actually meant.

The Imperial Japanese Army Headquarters did not immediately communicate the cease-fire order to the Kwantung Army, and many elements of the army either did not understand it, or ignored it. Hence, pockets of fierce resistance from the Kwantung Army continued, and the Soviets continued their advance, largely avoiding the pockets of resistance, reaching Mukden, Changchun and Qiqihar by August 20.

On the Soviet right flank, the Soviet-Mongolian Cavalry-Mechanized Group had entered Inner Mongolia and quickly took Dolon Nur and Kalgan. The Emperor of Manchukuo (and former Emperor of China), Puyi, was captured by the Soviet Red Army. The cease-fire order was eventually communicated to the Kwantung Army, but not before the Soviets had made most of their territorial gains.

This page was last modified on 3 August 2010 at 14:10.

(7) Appeal to UN over Israel's destruction of ancient Muslim burial ground

From: Sami Joseph <sajoseph2005@yahoo.com> Date: 22.08.2010 04:43 PM

http://www.ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/descendents-appeal-un-over-latest-mamilla-cemetery-demolitions

Descendents appeal to UN over latest Mamilla Cemetery demolitions

CONTACT: Press@ccrjustice.org

August 18, 2010, Jerusalem and New York– Yesterday, parties defending a 12th century Muslim burial ground in Jerusalem from disinterment and desecration provided new information on the latest demolitions by Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality to the United Nations and other international officials whom they initially petitioned on the matter in February 2010. The letter was sent by U.S. academic Rashid I. Khalidi on behalf of the Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery and Maria LaHood of the Center for Constitutional Rights to U.N. Human Rights Special Rapporteurs, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UNESCO Director General, and the Swiss Government.

 The appeal details the destruction of at least 150 recently-renovated tombs and grave markers in the Ma'man Allah (Mamilla) Muslim cemetery by Municipality staff beginning on 4 August, and reports of further demolitions carried out at night without prior notice. The renovations had been carried out over recent months under the supervision of the Israeli Shari’a court-appointed caretaker of the cemetery, Mr. Mustafa Abu Zahra and with the acquiescence of the Municipality. “It is a matter of grave concern that Israeli authorities are continuing to treat the Islamic religious sites and cultural heritage in the Holy City of Jerusalem in a manner that amounts to further desecration,” the letter read.

The Mamilla Cemetery is an ancient Muslim burial ground and holy site believed to date back even further to the 7th century, when companions of the Prophet Muhammad were reputedly buried there, as well as Sufi saints and thousands of other officials, scholars, notables and Jerusalem families.

The latest wave of demolitions follows the disinterment of over 1,500 graves in 2009 to make way for a controversial “Museum of Tolerance”, funded by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which descendants have sought to halt through their Petition to the United Nations and other bodies.

Descendents also address reports that Israeli authorities are pushing ahead with plans to build a judicial complex on the site, which the letter says will “certainly and inevitably cause the desecration of thousands more graves and human remains in the process of infrastructure and construction works in the ancient cemetery.”

The families have been engaged in a lengthy legal and public relations battle in defense of the cemetery. On 10 February 2010, the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York filed a petition for urgent action with the U.N. to protect the cemetery from further desecration, followed by an Addendum filed on 10 June that updated developments in the case.

In light of the most recent developments, yesterday’s letter urges the concerned officials to “continue their investigation of this matter through on-site inspection, to demand that the Israeli Government cease its illegal actions in the cemetery in line with UNHRC resolution A/HRC/13/L.29 of 19 March 2010, and to consider the impact of the sustained desecration of an important historical and religious site in Jerusalem on the Petitioners and other interested individuals and groups.”

The Petition, Addendum and other documents may be consulted at www.mamillacampaign.org.

The Petitioners and the Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery which they initiated, is a wholly civil, volunteer initiative with no political coloring. All 60 individual petitioners are descendants of 15 of Jerusalem’s most prominent and longest established families and have no relation with previous individual or institutional claimants in Israeli courts. In addition, the Petition was supported by 16 human rights non-governmental organizations, based in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

No comments:

Post a Comment