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Israelis Turn Asqalan Muslim Cemetery into Parking Lot

19:23 Apr 10 2012 Asqalan (Ashkelon), Israel

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JERUSALEM, April 9, 2012 (WAFA) – Israelis in the southern city of Asqalan turned the local Muslim cemetery into a makeshift parking lot in a move that is expected to stir anger among the Muslim community, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Monday.

It said the municipality recently set up a market adjacent to the cemetery, which resulted in shopkeepers and customers parking their cars in the cemetery in complete disregard to the Muslim sacred place.

The newspaper said municipality park employees planted trees around the cemetery perimeter to prevent market attendants from parking in the cemetery, but no avail.

A city resident warned that the current situation can trigger all kinds of extremist Islamic groups, adding that the situation will not change unless Arabs demonstrate against it.

Arab Knesset member Ahmad Tibi condemned the conversion of the cemetery into a parking lot and wondered what would have happened if the same has happened to a Jewish cemetery in France or Poland.

An Israeli official in Asqalan municipality told Maariv that the city honors the holy sites of all religions, but that the current situation is temporary due to the construction of the new market and the pressure of the Jewish Passover holiday.

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