Group Demands: Name Israeli Streets for Yasser Arafat

Palestinians chant slogans and wave yellow Fatah movement flags during a rally marking the anniversary of the death of Fatah founder and Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat, in Gaza City. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Arab rights group Adallah has demanded that the Interior Ministry honor a request by United Arab List MK Yussuf Jubran that the Ministry approve the renaming of a street in the city after arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. The group made its demand in a letter to Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri and State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit.

Several years ago the city submitted a list of 301 names that it sought to use as street names in the city. Two hundred forty-one of them were approved – and Arafat’s name was not among them. Also not approved were other Palestinian figures, such as poet Mohammed Darwish, as well as former mayors of Umm el-Fahm.

The letter said that the city had a right to choose the names it wanted, as “the right to an address is a basic human right. It is unthinkable that in the 21st century there are streets in Umm el-Fahm, a city of 60,000, that have no names, and no street addresses for the homes on them. Street-naming is not a technical matter, but a way to preserve the cultural identity and the cultural nature of a people. The Interior Ministry is part of the effort to deny our cultural identity.”

The Ministry has said that it opposes the use of Arafat’s name for a street in an Israeli city, as he had been responsible for many terrorist attacks against Israelis, as well as for the second intifada. Attorneys for Adallah said there was “no legal reason” not to approve the use of Arafat’s name for a street in the city.

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