AL ZAYYEM, West Bank — They buried Rabi al-Essawy 14 months ago on land his family owns not far from this village, between East Jerusalem and the large Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim. Mr. Essawy, 65, was a member of an important clan, and thousands attended his funeral.
But Mr. Essawy’s grave is in a parcel of land known as E1, a largely empty patch of the West Bank that is among the most sensitive pieces of real estate in an intractable conflict that is fundamentally about the land. The Israelis mean to annex E1 — short for East 1 — and they do not want Muslim graves to complicate future plans to build more settlements here.Israeli authorities have ordered the family to remove Mr. Essawy’s remains and bury him in the village cemetery, just outside E1.The fight over Mr. Essawy’s grave is a tiny skirmish in the long, intensifying battle over this parcel of land, a fight that speaks to the seemingly insurmountable differences, hostility and distrust between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It also stands as a symbol of the failure of negotiations as each side tries to outmaneuver the other with unilateral actions, and the international community is left on the sidelines to do little more than express discontent.
Moving a grave? How dare they!
Besides the fact that the deceased should be buried in cemeteries and not makeshift family plots in one's backyard, wait, isn't moving graves okay?
After all, we know that
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) today (Sunday), 28 August 2005, reached agreement with the bereaved families that had appealed to the High Court of Justice regarding moving the graves of their loved ones from the cemetery in Gush Katif; therefore, the bereaved families have decided to withdraw their appeals, thus canceling the High Court of Justice discussion that had been scheduled for tomorrow (Monday), 29 August 2005.
The process of moving the graves from Gush Katif to alternate burial sites will be carried out in full coordination with the families; this includes funeral times and arrangements, logistical services and burial sites. To these ends, PMO representatives have been in contact with representatives of the bereaved families. Moreover, the SELA Disengagement Authority has allocated social welfare personnel to assist the bereaved families throughout the process and afterwards.
So, if Jews can (be forced to) do it, what's all this schmaltz?