Skip to main content

Who is desecrating Izz ad-Din al-Qassam's Haifa grave?

A building project involving part of a historic Muslim cemetery is making headlines after an apparent attempt to desecrate the grave of Palestinian nationalist Izz ad-Din al-Qassam.

The Muslim cemetery in the suburban Haifa town of Nesher, where Arab nationalist Izz ad-Din al-Qassam (1882-1935) is buried, spreads over 43 dunams (10.6 acres). Part of the cemetery was expropriated by the State of Israel and sold 50 years ago to a private company. In 2015, the company decided to make use of the land and build industrial facilities on it. With that in mind, the firm went to court and demanded, among other things, that several graves be relocated in keeping with an agreement that it claimed was signed in the 1970s between the state and Islamic institutions. A Haifa court is deliberating this sensitive legal issue.

Meanwhile, the Haifa Waqf (custodian of Muslim endowments) invited Arab Knesset members to visit the site to mobilize public opinion against moving the graves. “We are always hearing about local and national projects being stopped and scrapped by the state when Jewish graves are accidentally discovered, but when it comes to Muslim graves, Arab burial sites, everyone thinks it’s quite normal [to desecrate them],” Arab Knesset member Masud Ghnaim of the predominantly Arab unified Joint List told Al-Monitor.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.