During the "Return Visit" to the villages of origin on the anniversary of the Nakba (see page 18f) for example, refugees found the mosque in Zakariyya filled with garbage while the mosque in Bayt Jibrin appeared to have been used as a livestock shelter. A joint study by the institute for Palestine studies, the Galilee Center for Social Research, and Birzeit University in the early 1990s , also found some 25 mosques, six of whom had been converted. This included the mosque in Wadi Hunayn, which has been converted into a synagogue.
In the Gaza sub-district, mosques in Hiribya and in Kawfakha are used, respectively, as a warehouse and a stable. The mosque in al- Manshiyya in the Acre sub-district is being used as a private residence, while the mosque in al-Zib has been restored for tourism. In the Haifa subdistrict, the mosque in 'Ain Hawd is used as arestaurant. In Jaffa, the al-Wihda mosque wasconverted into a synagogue, the al-Siksik mosque into a Bulgarian restaurant and nightclub, and the al-Nuzha mosque is abandoned and has been used for prostitution.3 According to Israeli researcher, Meron Benvenisti, some 140 mosques were abandoned in 1948 and 100 completely demolished along with the villages.
Of those remaining, 20 are in decay, 6 being used as living quarters, sheep pens, carpentry shops, sheep pens or storehouses, 6 are being used a museums, bars or tourist sites, 4 are used as synagogues, and 2 renovated for Muslim worship, but use is prohibited or restricted.
4 In addition there are vestiges of some 40 cemeteries from before 1948.5
Some of the cemeteries have been converted into laygrounds and recreational areas. Over the last several years many tombs have been damaged or converted into Jewish holy sites by settler organizations.6 In some cases, cemeteries have been leveled for new residential and commercial development. The Hilton hotel in Tel Aviv, for example, sits on the site of the Abu Nabi cemetery in Jaffa. In other cases, Palestinians have been denied the right to maintain old cemeteries inside Israel.7 The Supreme Court ruling came at a time when it was reported that the old cemetery in the western Jerusalem Palestinian village of 'Ain Karim, that was depopulated in 1948, was being rezoned for residential construction.
1. Khayat, H. "Waqfs in Palestine and Israel - From the Ottoman Reforms to the Present," Ph.D diss., The American University, Washington, DC, 1962., cited in Dumper, p. 28.
2. Michael Dumper, Islam and Israel, Muslim Religious Endowments and the Jewish State, Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1994, p. 35
3. Dumper, p. 55
4. Meron Benvenisti, Sacred Landscape, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000, pp. 288-290
5. Benvenisti, pp. 296-299
6. Haaretz, 11 February 2000)
7. See for example, Haaretz, 1 March 1999