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The Schmooze

In East Jerusalem, the Battle Over Street Names Continues

WAFA, the Palestinian News and Information Agency, is reporting that crews from the Jerusalem municipality started working early this morning to remove existing street signs in East Jerusalem and replace them with new ones. The new signs will change the names of streets and locations from their Arab names to Jewish ones.

According to WAFA’s press release, “The municipality, as part of its project to change the Arab and Islamic character of East Jerusalem, changed the name of Sultan Suleiman Street that extends between Damascus Gate and Herod’s Gate of the Old City Wall to Eliyahu Street, as the new signs say. The Sultan Suleiman Cave on the same road has been renamed to Eliyahu Cave.”

The press release states that the crews had police protection, and that they were working in advance of a celebration to be headed by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat announcing these name changes.

There is no report in the Israeli press corroborating WAFA’s assertions. However, the struggle over street names has been in the press lately, with a Palestinian activist group called Jerusalem Horizons having erected nine new street signs back in April in the Jabel Mukabber neighborhood. The group gave (on signs written in Arabic and English only) anonymous thoroughfares names like Farouk Street, a popular nickname for Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, the Muslim general who conquered Jerusalem in 637 AD. Jerusalem Horizons claimed it was “rescuing” the city from “Judaization.”

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