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Palestinian woman says she will protect her son's grave with her life

Palestinian woman on Monday resisted Israeli police trying to push her from her son’s tombstone located at the al-Yusufiye cemetery in East Jerusalem as she tried to hug it.

The 54-year-old Alaa Nababta reached the graveyard after learning of plans by the Israeli police to exhume the graves.

When the Israeli police tried to push her away, Nababta, threw her body on the ground near her son’s grave.

“Bury me here,” cried Nababta.

“You will only exhume my son over my dead body,” she told the Israeli police who were unable to stop her from reaching her son’s grave.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Nababta said her son died four years ago.

But since then, she was in constant suffering as Israeli forces have been “threatening to bulldoze the grave” which she said has intensified during the past two months.

On Monday, the Israeli municipality crews in Jerusalem and the Israeli Nature Authority, to establish a Jewish national park, renewed razing a part of the al-Yusufiye cemetery, located near the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Dozens of Palestinians whose family members have been buried in the area for centuries arrived in the cemetery, fearing that the graves of their relatives will be razed.

Several graves at the cemetery were demolished earlier this month by the municipality’s engineering vehicles in the Old City.

Al-Yusufiye Cemetery, located next to the wall surrounding the Old City, is one of the oldest Muslim graveyards in occupied Jerusalem.

Nababta said the Israeli authorities are pursuing Palestinians in the city “whether they are alive or dead.”

“Here is our cemetery, where else do we bury them?” asked Nababta.

She added: “Every day we come here fearing that the grave will be bulldozed.”

“As a mother, what do you think my feelings will be when I watch them try to raze my son’s grave? Pain, pain, and heartbreak.”

Mustafa Abu Zahra, the head of the Islamic Cemetery Care Committee in Jerusalem, told Anadolu Agency earlier on Monday that the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem introduced bulldozers to the al-Yusufiye Cemetery and started razing part of its land to turn it into a biblical garden.

The biblical gardens are places that Israel claims were settled by Jews in ancient times.

Last year, the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem and the Israeli Nature Authority initiated measures to establish a biblical garden on a part of the al-Yusufiye cemetery.

The Committee for the Care of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem submitted objections to the Israeli courts to stop the bulldozing, the latest of which was a week ago.

However, according to Abu Zahra, the objections have been rejected as the bulldozing works continue.

Abu Zahra said Muslim “martyrs” are buried in the cemetery and called on the Israeli authorities to respect the sanctity of the dead.

“The cemetery is an Islamic endowment land and the attack on it must stop,” he said.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 — a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

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