Testimonies of Jordanians
Am I My Brother's Keeper?
The questions and answers recorded here
are taken from the testimony gathered by the Inter-Ministerial
Commission for the Examination of the Desecration of the
Burial Grounds on the Mount of Olives and at Hebron, appointed
on July 21, 1967, by the Israel Minister of Religious Affairs
, in conjunction with the Chief Rabbis, the Minister of Justice
and the Director-General of the Foreign Ministry.
Mohammed Sayad, then about 60, of Abu-Tor,
had been the watchman for the "Congregation
of Jerusalem" burial society.
Q: Just how did you perform your duties as
A: What could I do? If I had spoken out against
the government, they would have shot me on
the spot...I was ready to do my job as watchman.
And I want the burial society that hired me
to pay me now what they owe me for all these
years. It's not my fault that the (Jordanian)
Government decided to destroy the cemetery...
Khalil Ibn Sadar Khalil, then 33, is the
son of Sadar Khalil, who had served on behalf
of the Jordanian Government as caretaker of
the Mount of Olives cemetery, At the outbreak
of hostilities in June, 1967, Sadar Khalil
fled to Amman.
Q: What was your father's job?
A: He was supposed to see to it that private
individuals did not take out tombstones or
other stones without a permit from the Government.
There were several merchants who held concessions
that allowed them to trade in stones from
the cemetery. All the rest we would chase
Q: Who paid your father's salary?
A: The City did. Mayor Anwar el-Khatib sent
Q: How were the graves mutilated?
A: Workmen came during the day and pulled
apart the stones and the tombstones and at
night the army lorries came, loaded up the
tombstones and drove off. The rest of the
stones were taken by the merchants.
Ali Mohammed Ali, then 25, part-owner
of a filling station on the Jerusalem-Jericho
highway, widened by the Jordanian authorities
at the expense of the Mount of Olives cemetery.
Q: Did you know about the defacement
and destruction of graves?
A: Everybody know. Anyone who needed building
stones used to go to these merchants and buy
stones from Jewish graves...
Mohammed Ahmed el-Khak, who claimed to
be 111 years old, referred to himself as a
Q: Did you see how they ravaged the graves?
A: Yes I saw. All the people around here knew
about it, but I didn't know it was forbidden.
According to the Koran, a cemetery in which
there haven't been any burials for fifteen
years may be destroyed.
Q: When did they begin with this destruction
A: Oh, a long time ago-maybe in 1949 already...