Israel Charges Jordan with Desecration of Mt. Olives Cemetery

A complaint against Jordan’s desecration of the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, with photographs proving vandalism and the stripping of ancient gravestones, was formally presented to the United Nations here today on behalf of the Israel Government by Mordecai Kidron, deputy chief of the Israel delegation.

Mr. Kidron filed his complaint with Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, furnishing the latter with a set of six photographs of the old cemetery site. The pictures had been taken by telescopic lenses from towers on the Israeli side of the Jordan frontier. The photos show overturned gravestones, burial plots plowed up, and other burial plots with stones removed.

According to the Israeli complaint, the vandalism and desecrations have been going on for some time. Jordan has been in control of the Mount of Olives area since 1947, but the desecrations, Israel said, have been going on since 1949. Some of the stones taken from the ancient cemetery–one of the oldest in the Western world–were used in the building of a motion picture theatre in Jericho, other stones were used for construction of other buildings.

“The desecrations,” said the complaint, “is a crime against the memory of the dead, and an offense against all humane feelings.” Mr. Kidron furnished the Secretary-General with 60 sets of the photographs, asking that copies of the complaint and the accompanying pictures be distributed to the delegations of all member states.

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