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“By naming a street after Arafat, the municipality honors a terrorist”

Bewilderment among Neapolitan Jews over the decision of the municipal administration to name a side street of Via Garibaldi after Yasser Arafat. The decision was taken by the toponymy commission on the proposal of the councilor Alessandra Clemente. In a note, the Jewish community of Naples says it was taken by “surprise” in learning of such a step, made official on Saturday. “The surprise – reads the note – does not lie so much in the decision itself, given that in the past the leading role of the municipal council led by the mayor Luigi De Magistris on issues falling within the competence of many other public institutions has manifested itself with a clearly unbalanced vision of the Israeli-Palestinian issue”.
It then states: “That Councilor Clemente, probably for reasons that go beyond his current institutional position, has proposed to name a street after the PLO leader, is a question that fits into local political choices in which the Jewish community of Naples prefers not to enter, as evidenced by the habit of not meeting candidates for mayor before the elections”.
“The Jewish community – points out the note – is surprised that such a proposal, which was accepted by the municipal toponymy commission, in addition to the inappropriateness of replacing the name of an illustrious person in the history of Italy with the name of someone who has no connection with that place, it seems even more questionable given that, if it is true that Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, it is also true that it was together with Shimon Peres and Itzkach Rabin, the two Israeli Labor statesmen who with Arafat signed the Oslo accords”.
“In 1969, Yasser Arafat took over the leadership of the PLO becoming head of al-Fatah, the extremist wing and major faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization that over the years carried out terrorist actions in the Middle East and in Europe”. Councilor Clemente, the Jewish community underlines, “could have made a proposal of common sense and conciliation, naming a street without a name after the three Nobel laureates”. But, the note concludes, “she chose to name a street after Yasser Arafat, demonstrating where her choice falls between the memory of the Nobel Peace Prize winners and the terrorist”.
The Italy-Israel Federation also intervened with a joint note from the national president Giuseppe Crimaldi and the president of the Naples association Amedeo Cortese. “It is paradoxical and embarrassing – it reads – that while the proposal for years advanced by us and by the Jewish Community of Naples to name the current Piazzale Tecchio, a fascist hierarch, after Ascarelli, a historical and exemplary figure for the City of Naples, has remained forgotten in some drawer, today the outgoing administration works to dedicate a street to Arafat. Once again the partiality of this administration emerges”.