AFP has picked up on the story:
Around 300 Muslim gravestones destroyed by Israeli bulldozers in a Jerusalem cemetery earlier this week were "fake" and set up in a bid to snatch government land, the city charged on Thursday.It is remarkable, for AFP, to give coverage to the Israeli side first and then have the other side dispute it. Usually you have to wait for paragraph 8 to read the Israeli side of the story, by which time most readers have already moved on to the sports page.
The allegation was flatly denied by the Islamic Movement which earlier this week accused the municipality of razing recently renovated Muslim graves in a centuries-old cemetery in a large park in mostly Jewish west Jerusalem.
In its first official response to the claims, the Jerusalem city council on Thursday acknowledged it had removed some 300 tombstones, but said they were not erected over any human remains.
"The municipality and the (Israel Lands) Authority destroyed around 300 dummy gravestones which were set up illegally in Independence Park on public land.
"The court approved the removal of all the dummy gravestones which were laid in the last seven months," the municipality said in a written statement sent to AFP.
"This is a fraudulent set up, one of the biggest in recent years, whose aim is to illegally take over state land."
Underneath the tombstones excavators found only "plastic bottles, cigarette packets and parts of a sprinkler system," the statement said. It accused "Islamic elements" of trying to pull off a huge scam.
By the way, this is the same cemetery that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem had moved bodies from when building his hotel on top of it, the same cemetery that the same mufti had redirected sewage towards, and the same cemetery that the Supreme Muslim Council had explicitly allowed building an Arab business park on top of.
In other words, Arab lies about this cemetery have a long pedigree.