Coffin being removed from Gush Katif cemetery (August 28, 2005)
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) today (Sunday), 28 August 2005, reached agreement with the bereaved families that had appealed to the High Court of Justice regarding moving the graves of their loved ones from the cemetery in Gush Katif; therefore, the bereaved families have decided to withdraw their appeals, thus canceling the High Court of Justice discussion that had been scheduled for tomorrow (Monday), 29 August 2005.
The process of moving the graves from Gush Katif to alternate burial sites will be carried out in full coordination with the families; this includes funeral times and arrangements, logistical services and burial sites. To these ends, PMO representatives have been in contact with representatives of the bereaved families. Moreover, the SELA Disengagement Authority has allocated social welfare personnel to assist the bereaved families throughout the process and afterwards.
The Jewish law issues involved in moving the graves have been discussed with Chief Rabbis Shaul Amar and Yonah Metzger, and IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Yisrael Weiss who – at the request of the PMO – issued a ruling that all of the graves in the Gush Katif cemetery must be moved according to specified conditions.
In recent months, the Government has prepared alternate burial places in coordination with the bereaved families. In this context, a section of the Mt. of Olives cemetery has been prepared to accommodate 25 graves; similarly, a new section of the cemetery in the community of Mavki’im has been prepared to accommodate six graves. A new cemetery has been established in the community of Nitzan. Preparations have been made in cemeteries in Jerusalem, Rishon Lezion, Netanya, Ashkelon, Ra’anana and Sderot to accommodate graves from Gush Katif as per the requests of the bereaved families.