Saturday, September 12, 2009

Israeli Road Signs

I haven’t seen anything about it in the mainstream media. I saw it first in a Middle East magazine:

The Cairo-based league of Arab States has denounced a July 13 decision by the Israeli Transportation Ministry to eliminate Arabic and English names of cities and towns on its signs and use only Hebrew ones.[1]

Israel says that replacing signs with Hebrew only names will take place gradually. However, already, all over Palestine road signs show Arabic names blacked out.

Such a program failed to catch the attention of the American television or newspaper news, but, it’s all over the internet.[2]

In a similar move in 1971, Golda Mier had the green lines, denoting the border separating Israel from Palestine, removed from all Israeli maps, even though her supporting justification stretched credibility. She declared:

It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine… and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.[3]

Today, Israel’s right wing Likud Party is doing everything it can to turn her illusion into a reality. Israel’s goal is far deeper than creating confusion for a returning Palestinians refugee. It is one more effort to wipe out an entire culture.

Few in America care that 2,500 Palestinian cities, towns and villages will have “Jewish only” names. In the meantime, tensions rise. Arabs living in Israel say, “The Minister errs if he thinks that word laundering can erase the Arabs existence in Israel and their link to the land.”

To Palestinians, it’s another major slap to their dignity. To us, we won’t even notice, except those preachers who take groups on Holy Land tours will no longer be able to escort them to the home of Jesus of Nazareth and feel that Biblical connection. From now on, he will be known as Jesus of Natsrat. To Israel, it’s just another fact on the ground.

Thomas Are
September 13, 2009

[1] Mohammed Omer, Israel’s Latest Attempt to Wipe Palestine Off the Map., The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September 2009, p.11.
[2] Google, Israel Changed Road Signs.
[3] Naim Ateek, Justice and Only Justice, (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1989) p. 36