Israel approves Hebrew names for Arab streets in Jerusalem
Arab members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, are outraged by the decision
Over 30 streets in an Arab area of East Jerusalem have been new names based of the Torah, the Jewish scriptures, the Jewish Press reported, as tensions continued to simmer ahead of this week’s major Jewish and Muslim holidays.
The move, approved by the city council on Sunday, comes as Jerusalem – revered as a holy city by Jews, Muslims and Christians – comes as the city suffers from some of the worst outbreaks of violence in recent years.
Arab members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, are outraged by the decision, according to Israeli web portal Walla.
Ahmad Tibi, an Arab Knesset member, said that the decision to rename the streets was “pyromaniac,” and would “add more fuel to the fire of tension in Jerusalem.
News of the new naming was also greeted with hostility by Arab residents of the neighborhood.
“This is all part of one plan — first, to Judaize al-Aqsa, second, the Arab villages, third, the history and names,” a man living in the area told Walla news.
However, the Jerusalem municipality defended the decision, saying in a statement quoted by the Times of Israel that many of the new names in East Jerusalem were “selected by the Arabs themselves.”
“For sites that have a weighty Jewish historical legacy, the street names reflect this legacy,” the statement added.
As clashes over the al-Aqsa mosque compound continue in East Jerusalem, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas warned Tuesday of the “risk of an intifada (Palestinian uprising),” if violence continues.
Tensions boiled over last week on the eve of the Jewish new year holiday of Rosh Hashanah when Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the al-Aqsa Mosque and, in clashes with police that would continue for days, threw rocks and firecrackers at officers.
An Israeli man was also killed in Jerusalem when Palestinians pelted his car with rocks.
Several rockets from the Gaza Strip have also been fired recently, and Israel has deployed its Iron Dome rocket defense battery in towns near the Palestinian territory.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Israeli forces shot a female Palestinian attacker after she attempted to stab a soldier at a West Bank checkpoint, the Associated Press reported. The woman later died of her injuries, according to her father.
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