An extract on #arthistorian
The armistice agreement signed by Israel and Jordan following the 1948 ArabIsraeli War called for the establishment of a Special Committee to negotiate developments including "free access to the holy sites and cultural institutions and use of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives". However, during the 19 years the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank lasted, the committee was not formed. Non-Israeli Christian pilgrims were allowed to visit the Mount, but Jews of all countries and most non-Jewish Israeli citizens were barred from entering Jordan and therefore were unable to travel to the area.
By the end of 1949, and throughout the Jordanian rule of the site, some Arab residents uprooted tombstones and plowed the land in the cemeteries and an estimated 38,000 tombstones were damaged in total. During this period, four roads were paved through the cemeteries, in the process destroying graves including those of famous persons. Jordan's King Hussein permitted the construction of the Intercontinental Hotel at the summit of the Mount of Olives together with a road that cut through the cemetery which destroyed hundreds of Jewish graves, some from the First Temple Period. Graves were also demolished for parking lots and a filling station and were even used in latrines at a Jordanian Army barracks. However, the United Nations did not condemn the Jordanian government for these actions.
Following the 1967 Six-Day War and the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, its government began restoration work and re-opened the cemetery for burials. Israel's 1980 unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem was condemned as a violation of international law and ruled null and void by the UN Security Council in UNSC Resolution 478.
The Mount of Olives is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1; 26:30, etc.) as part of the route from Jerusalem to Bethany and the place where Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem (an event known as Flevit super illam in Latin).
Jesus is said to have spent time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to his disciples (Matthew 2425), including the Olivet discourse, returning after each day to rest (Luke 21:37, and John 8:1 in the additional section of John's Gospel known as the Pericope Adulterae), and also coming there on the night of his betrayal (Matthew 26:39). At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane. The New Testament tells how Jesus and his disciples sang together "When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" Gospel of Matthew 26:30. Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives according to Acts 1:912.