THE TIMES OF ISRAEL |www.timesofisrael.com
30 East Jerusalem streetsgiven Hebrew names, enraging Arabresidents
Defending decision, municipality says 800 roads given Arabicnames; Arab MKs slam attempt to 'Judaicizeal-Quds'
BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF September 21,2015,2:04pm
The Jerusalem municipality on Sunday night approved 30 Hebrew street names inpredominantly Arab East Jerusalem neighborhoods, drawing fierce condemnationfrom both Arab residents andlawmakers.
The new Hebrew street names,which were okayed as part of an ongoing project to map out the neighborhoods in the east of the city,were given to areas that house Jewish historical sites,according to the municipality.Over 800 streets in East Jerusalem have already been given Arabic names, city hall said.
Around the City of David archaeological site in the Silwan neighborhood, seven streets weregiven Hebrew names,including"Ma'alotIrDavid"and"Shir LaMa'alot,"according to the Walla news website.Ont he Mount of Olives,several streets were given Hebrew names reflecting Jewish ties to the site,and in Sheikh Jarrah,two streets will be called "Nahalat Shimon"and"Nahalat Yitzhak."
The committee decided against naming a streett in Sheikh Jarrah "KohenGadol" (HighPriest), agreeing that the reference to a prominent figure in the Jewish temples would spark riots in East Jerusalem neighborhoods, which have already seen heightened tensions and repeated clashes over the Temple Mount and perceived Israelia ttempts to alter the status quo at the holysite. Israel maintains that it is not seeking to change the status quo at the compound known to Muslims asal- Aqsa, the third-holiest site in Islam and most holy inJudaism.
Undert he new directive,a street near Damascus Gate will be renamed "Amir Drori," for the founder of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in a nod to the adjacent Rockefeller Museum,which houses the IAA'soffices.
Former SupremeCourtjusticeJacobTurkelhadadvisedagainstgivingthestreetsHebrew names in light of the security situation. He recommended the committee "reevaluate whether it is appropriate,at this point in time,and in light of the complicated and delicate situation in East Jerusalem,"to give the streets these names.TheJerusalem city hall committee rejected the recommendation.
The deision was met with strong opposition from East Jerusalem residents,who said it would "cause moreviolence."
"This is all part of one plan-first,to Judaize al-Aqsa,second,the Arab villages,third,the history andn ames,"Silwan resident Ahmad Karaeen Abu Hamid told Walla.
Joint(Arab)List party leader Ayman Odeh decried the decision as a "vile attempt" to erase residents' Palestinian identity.
"We have recently been witness to aggressive attempts to change the status quo in East Jerusalem and deepen the occupation and dispossession.The choice of street names,with a total disregard for who built and lives on these streets for thousands of years,is a vile attempt to eradicate the national Palestinian identity," hesaid.
Referring to recent riots in Jerusalem, Joint (Arab) List MK Ahmad Tibi said "someone decidedto add fuel to the fire of tensions in Jerusalem, and this is a pyromaniac decision."
The city's actions are part of "ongoing efforts to Judaizeal-Quds"-the Arabic name forJerusalem-"and falsify history,"he added.
The Jerusalem municipality defended thedecision.