Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israel’s High Court says a water company can extend a waste line through a historic Islamic cemetery at the entrance of Ramla.

The decision rejected a petition filed by the Al-Aqsa Foundation, according to its lawyers.

The foundation had argued that the line’s construction should stop long enough for an alternative route to be agreed upon, insisting that workers stop digging in the cemetery until new plans could be arranged.

But the court dismissed the motion, saying the Israeli company had taken the necessary precautions. Al-Aqsa disputed the decision, saying the court should have taken the potential for error into account.

“This decision is a dangerous incident that opens the door for more violations at Islamic cemeteries,” Al-Aqsa said in a statement. “We reject this decision.”
The court approved the water line after the Israeli company offered to extend lines inside the cemetery, claiming that the decision will cause “less harm” to the historic religious site.

The foundation says it submitted an alternative proposal to reroute the waste line outside of the cemetery, but noted the cost of such a proposal was higher than the Israeli company’s idea. It called on the water company to take part in talks “to implement a proposal for all sides to fulfill their needs.”

According to Al-Aqsa’s director, Zaki Ighbarieyah, the decision “means legitimizing the violation of Islamic cemeteries,” adding, “We cannot accept such a decision.”