Last month, Haaretz published an extensive and lengthy multi-part special report on the controvery — and fight — over the construction of a Museum of Tolerance on top of part of the ancient Mamilla Cemetary that became part of West Jerusalem and Israel as a result of the 1948 creation of the State of Israel in part of the former British Mandate of Palestine.
The Haaretz series was so exceptionally good that it was recently submitted on behalf of Palestinian families seeking redress for some of the related injustices via the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
But, it has not gotten much attention here in Israel — even the number of comments on the various articles in the Haaretz series is well below the norm.
The various parts of the Haaretz Special Report can now be consulted at one place on the Haaretz website, here.
Today, Nir Hasson reports in Haaretz that a new group, called “The Association for Muslim Affairs”, representing “the heads of various Muslim communities in Israel”, has filed a complaint to Israel’s State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss over the “handling of Muslim graves unearthed at the museum’s Jerusalem construction site”. Haaretz reports that “The complaint was filed by attorney Kais Nasser [who] asked Lindenstrauss to investigate both the way the remains were removed and the way the land was allocated to the Wiesenthal Center – which is building the museum – by the Israel Lands Administration and the Jerusalem municipality. He also asked Lindenstrauss to examine the role played by Ehud Olmert, who was mayor of Jerusalem and then a cabinet minister with responsibility for the ILA during the relevant period. Nasser argued that since Olmert traveled overseas at the Wiesenthal Center’s expense during this time, he may have had a conflict of interests. Nasser charged that the hasty removal of the remains violated a High Court of Justice order to carry out the work in a way that minimized damage to the graves. He also argued that the person in charge of the excavation, Dr. Alon Shavit, has a conflict of interests, as he is both an adviser to the Wiesenthal Center on the project and, as an archaeologist licensed by the Israel Antiquities Authority, a representative of the state”. This new report can be read in full here.