From the Simon Wiesenthal Center's website - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • David LG
    • 20.05.10 | 06:07 (IDT)

    Important Facts: •The site that was given to the Wiesenthal Center by the government of Israel and the Jerusalem municipality previously served as the City's municipal parking lot for more than 40 years. •During that time, Muslim groups never protested that the parking lot was once part of an ancient burial site. •In 1964, the highest Muslim religious authorities declared that entire area, including adjacent Independence Park, a 'mundras' - an abandoned, ancient cemetery where public facilities may be built. •The Simon Wiesenthal Center initiated a town plan to build a museum on the parcel allocated to it by the Government of Israel and the Municipality of Jerusalem and the City of Jerusalem issued a building permit to construct a museum. For five years during the public planning process, the Center for Human Dignity was the subject of hearings at open City Council meetings, through notices published in both Hebrew and Arabic newspapers, and the architectural model was on public display at City Hall. At no time throughout that entire public process, did a single person or organization come forward to object to the use of the grounds on the premise that the site was a Muslim cemetery. •Of crucial importance is the fact that Muslims themselves, both in the Palestinian territories and throughout the Arab world, have built roads, commercial centers and public buildings on their own cemeteries. It is preposterous to hold the Center for Human Dignity to a higher standard than the Muslims adhere to themselves. •All of Jerusalem is layered in memory and history and it is not unusual for construction work in Jerusalem, a 3,000-year-old city, to encounter archeological artifacts and bones. That is why there is a special department called the Israel Antiquities Authority, charged with the special handling of any archaeological artifacts or remains that are found. Since the commencement of excavation, the project has been under their supervision, and every instruction has been followed. Most important, the Antiquities Authority, which is an independent body, supported the technical solutions that the Simon Wiesenthal Center filed with the Supreme Court. •Given Jerusalem’s history, it is safe to assume that many prestigious academic and civic institutions may, in fact, be built on ancient remains. Human dignity demands that we respect and treat with reverence these remains of ancient civilizations without impeding the right of Jerusalem, or any other city, of building a future. If cities were not allowed to be built on the relics of previous civilizations, there would be no modern-day Rome, Jerusalem, or Cairo.

    from the article: Following Haaretz report: Arabs to resume Museum of Tolerance battle
    First published 04:37 20.05.10 | Last updated 04:37 20.05.10
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