Sunday, November 28

“Square of Heroes” .. This is how the occupation Judaizes the name of Al-Wad Street in the heart of Jerusalem

Giving a Hebrew name with a Jewish connotation to a square or road inside the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem; It is considered a precedent for Judaization, after which other Judaization operations may take place in the last strongholds of the Arab Old City (the Islamic Quarter).

Occupied Jerusalem– For the first time since the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, the occupation has given a Hebrew name with a Jewish connotation on a square or road inside the Islamic Quarter in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem. At the end of last October, the opening ceremony of “Kikar Hajfora” – meaning Heroes Square – took place in a section Vital from the road to the valley, in a precedent of Judaization and a change in the status quo agreement.

At that time, Moshe Lion, the mayor of the occupation in Jerusalem, met with his deputy, Arieh King, and a group of extremist Israeli figures, along with the families of Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aaron Bennett, who were killed in Al-Wad Road by the martyr Muhannad Al-Halabi, 19, from the town of Sarda, north of Ramallah in October 3, 2015.

Al-Halabi’s operation at the time was considered the spark of what was known to the Palestinians as the Jerusalem Gift or the Intifada of Knives, which sparked outrage at the occupation’s violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque and its attacks on women inside. The most prominent of what Al-Halabi wrote on his account on (Facebook) before his ascension was, “Al-Aqsa and its women (women) are our honor, our display, and our defense of it in any form or means that is considered legal.”

Celebration ceremony with the banner of Hajfora Square on Al-Wad Road in the presence of the mayor of the occupation (Al-Jazeera)

The occupation argument

The occupation took advantage of this incident to commemorate the dead and to Judaize a vital section in the Islamic Quarter, specifically at the intersection of Al-Alam Road with Al-Wad Road, near the Austrian Hospice building and the Sultan’s Bath (currently the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate), where the Street Names Committee in the Jerusalem Municipality recommended in early 2019 releasing the names of the dead On the place, the approval was issued by the municipality and the Ministry of Interior months later, but the decision was not implemented.

The effective effect was the launch of the name “Kikar Hajvora” last September, written in Arabic with Hebrew overlayed on pieces of complex tiles and hand-painted ceramics, and the sign was installed in front of a permanent barrier of the occupation forces.

Celebrating the “Jewish Championship”

And most recently, the field celebration – the end of last October – with this name, and the announcement that adding the names of the dead to that painting is only a matter of time.

“The opening of Heroes’ Square is a symbol of courage and a sign of appreciation for the dead who paid their lives for the city of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” said Moshe Leon, the mayor of the occupation at the time.

As for his deputy King – who was the mastermind behind this Judaization – he said, “Name this place after the names of the dead will etch the value of Jewish heroism and build a Jewish spirit in the streets of Jerusalem forever. I am sure that the municipality will also put up a sign telling their story in the three languages ​​so that millions of passersby can read it.”

Sarda - Ramallah - the mother of the martyr Muhannad Al-HalabiMartyr Al-Halabi carried out a stabbing attack in the Old City, killing two settlers and wounding two others (Al-Jazeera)

strategic path

The danger of this step lies in the importance of the Al-Wad Road, which the occupation calls “Haggai Street” and extends from Bab al-Amud to the northern entrance to the Al-Buraq Wall, which forms an intersection of the Al-Alam Road and divides between the east and west of the Old City, and reaches the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as it is bustling with commercial and tourist traffic. And branch from it and lead to it many ways, obstacles and dialogues.

Breakthrough to the status quo

Amer Dahamshe, a researcher and lecturer at the University of Haifa, tells Al Jazeera Net that the Jerusalem municipality has intervened in the design of the identity of the Islamic neighborhood in a soft way since 1967, adding the Hebrew language to street signs above Arabic and English.

Dahamshe adds that naming a personal name on a road means that the official institution recognizes it and venerates its work, and naming a Jewish nationalist religious name on a road in the Islamic Quarter – which is considered a sensitive and disputed area – is a breach of the status quo.

The occupation deliberately puts the Hebrew language above the Arabic and English languages ​​and seeks to add the names of the dead on this sign (Al-Jazeera)

political considerations

“In the modern era, whoever owns the name owns the place, and the names are not formality governed by chance, but ideological and political considerations behind them.” Dahamshe says that, and confirms that Hebraicization and Judaization of names in Jerusalem came to strengthen the Jewish identity in it, as it is a creeping process that extended inside and outside the Jerusalem wall from the east of the city to its west, and began since the 18th century coinciding with the endeavors of the Zionist institutions.

Our interlocutor lists examples of this Judaization through the transliteration of the name “Darj al-Tabouna” to become “Rahouf for Kotel,” and the souk al-Hasr road “Rahouf Habad,” “Ma’aleh Hazitim” and “Shimon al-Siddiq” for the neighborhoods of al-Tur and Sheikh Jarrah.

The Hebrewization and Judaization of street names in Jerusalem is supervised by the Jerusalem Municipality Nomenclature Committee “Iriyat Yerushlaim”, which is made up of academics with political views, and may include members of right-wing political parties, with the last word being given to the mayor most of the time.

Al-Wad Road is considered one of the most important roads in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem (Al-Jazeera)

He will not touch the base!

Al-Maqdisi Husam Abu Aisha, 62, passes every day from Al-Wad Road near his home in the Old City, but the Judaization sign means nothing to him, so changing the name – as he tells Al-Jazeera Net – will not affect the base; The base of the rooted history centuries before the occupation, and the tape of his memories on the road to the valley, he said.

Abu Aisha recalls, “Al-Wad is one of the childhood playgrounds, where the age school in which I studied as a youngster, and the lentil monsters are related to the lentil soup, milk and bread that we used to take from the church at the nuns’ obstacle, and the hospice soup at the obstacle to the hospice that we used to go to after dawn prayer. I remember when we worked as guides. For the pilgrims who pass by on Holy Saturday, we used to rent bicycles and donkeys to ride down the steep valley road, and during the summer holidays we would sell colored eggs, mash and corn, because the commercial movement in it is great.”

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