Ministry: Israel name change initiative aimed at erasing Palestine’s identity

[ 04/07/2011 – 09:18 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)– The Gaza Ministry of Justice has said the Israel initiative to convert the names of Arab cities into Hebrew names is derived from a series of steps to erase the Arab identity of the region.

Israel has been working under the premise that “the old will die, and the young will forget,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

On Sunday, the Knesset approved of the Israeli government’s formation of a committee designed to Judaize the names of Palestinian towns and historic sites and change them to Hebrew names.

“These crimes are just as serious and criminal as shedding the blood of innocent people, which the Zionists have become used to, because the theft of heritage and erasure of identity and destruction of cultural landmarks is deemed a prosecutable crime in international law not waived by the statute of limitations and not by changing the place’s features,” the justice ministry said.

The ministry added that the decision, as well as other Judaization decisions, falls in the same line of forging history and changing the region’s Palestinian identity.

The ministry also called on the Palestinian masses along with factions everywhere to mobilize efforts and stand strong in the face of the step and to express anger using all means possible.

Arab member of the Knesset Ahmad al-Tibi said the Zionists are “trying to Judaize Jerusalem, Galilee, and the Negev and erase memory through the Nakba Day ceremony law on hand and the Hebrew names law on the other”.

Some of the cities whose names were up for changes include Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic), Galilee (Al-Jalil), Nazareth (Al-Nasera), and Jaffa (Yaffa).

The committee was formed based on a request by Communications Minister Yisrael Katz. It would officially change the cities’ names on maps, signs, and school books.

The idea was strongly supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The decision is part of an “arrogant policy”, whether by changing the cities’ names or exiling their leaders and representatives, said Mushir al-Masri, who heads Hamas on the Palestinian Legislative Council. He added that is a “programmed step in the path of Judaizing Jerusalem completely”.

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