Don't give Jewish names to the streets of Silwan
On 18.8.2019, ACRI filed a petition on behalf of 27 residents of Silwan against the Jerusalem City Council and the municipality itself, demanding that they rescind their decision to give Jewish names, particularly those of Jewish rabbis, to the alleys in the neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa in Silwan. Hundreds of Palestinian families live in Batan al-Hawa, while only a small number of Jews reside there.
The city council decided to approve the names, although the professional committee that advises the municipality's naming committee stated that "it is inappropriate to name streets after Jews and rabbis in neighborhoods that are inhabited by Arab residents, by and large. This creates unnecessary tension and furthermore, will not serve the tenants, such that the ultimate goal will not be achieved." The committee recommended calling the streets by neutral names, so that "all populations may live with it in peace," yet the naming committee ignored the recommendation. The decision regarding the new names was made even though two of the alleys already have official names.
The petition alleges that the decision was made in contravention of the provisions of the municipal ordinance, which requires publicity and public participation before such a change in a public space. The decision also contradicted the directives of the municipal practice of commemoration, built upon the discretion of decision-makers on the matter, which establishes balances designed to overcome council member's political biases and tendencies. A further allegation indicated that the municipality's decision was not based on solid factual infrastructure. The petition also noted that the municipality's choice of the names of Jewish rabbis for alleys densely populated by Palestinians raises grave concern over a direct deliberate attempt to erase the identity and culture of Palestinians from the public sphere and the urban landscape.
Petition no. 39025-08-19 Rajabi v. City Council of Jerusalem
Attorney: Tal Hassin
For futher information (Hebrew)
The petition was written with the help of field worker Mohannad Anati and intern Sasha Hazan