Quoted from Haaretz Latest update 17.11.05 New life for an old treasure "The preparations for the building of the Palace Hotel started in 1925 and at the time the endeavor was defined as the Muslim Council's largest building project. Haj Amin and his people initiated the building of shops, office buildings and public institutions on Waqf lands. The aim was both economic and political: A modern development project, like the ones the Jews and the Christians had in the land, would bring political prestige to the Muslims. The architect of the building was the Turk Nahes Bey and the tender for the construction was won by Arab contractor Sami Awad and his Jewish partners Baruch Katinka and Tuvia Donya. The site that was selected for erecting the building was adjacent to the large and ancient Mamilla cemetery in the middle of the new city of Jerusalem. Waqf researcher Dr. Yitzhak Reiter says Haj Amin knew that at the site there were remnants of an ancient cemetery called Jabalya. Kroyanker, however, writes that the ancient graves there were discovered by Arab laborers, who found them during the first week of the work of excavating the foundations. In a book of memoirs that Katinka wrote, he describes how, upon the discovery of the graves, he hastened to Haj Amin's house and told him about the discovery. The mufti asked him to keep this a secret for fear that his rival, mayor Rajeb al-Nashashibi, would hear of it and order the work stopped. In the meantime Katinka was ordered to see to the collection of the bones and their secret transfer to a special grave. He did this immediately. Muslim religious law allows for the transfer of graves in special and necessary cases with the approval of a qadi (Muslim judge). Al-Husseini considered himself entitled to issue such an authorization. However, his rivals, Nashashibi's people, did not see it this way when they found out about the transfer of the graves. They filed a suit against Al-Husseini at the Muslim court. They argued that he had desecrated ancient graves not only during the construction of the hotel, but also in work that was being carried out at the time near Herod's Gate."
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