Efforts underway to change US Embassy street names in Amman, Cairo

Efforts underway to change US Embassy street names in Amman, Cairo
Jordanian police stand guard in front of the American embassy in Amman during a demonstration against the US president's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, on Dec. 8, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 10 December 2017

Efforts underway to change US Embassy street names in Amman, Cairo

Efforts underway to change US Embassy street names in Amman, Cairo

AMMAN: Efforts are underway in Jordan and Egypt to persuade authorities to change the names of the streets in both countries where American embassies are located, in response to US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Ismail Bustanji a member of Amman’s city council, said he has prepared a resolution to the council to change Al-Umwayeen Street to Al-Quds Arabiya (Jerusalem is Arab) Street.

“We’re doing this because we want the world, and especially those working in or visiting the US Embassy, to know that for us Jerusalem is an Arab city,” he told Arab News.

Egyptian political activist Khaled Dawoud told Arab News that he has passed the idea to various political parties, and is sure they will draft a resolution to similarly change the name of Qasra Al-Dubara Street in Cairo.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem Palestinian protesters barred a Bahraini delegation visiting Israel from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque.

They said the visit was not coordinated with any Palestinian side, thus constituting normalization of relations with Israel.

The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative calls on Israel to withdraw from all Arab territory occupied in 1967, and an agreed to solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, in return for Arab countries normalizing ties with Israel.

The 22-member Arab League and 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have adopted the peace plan.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian was arrested after stabbing an Israeli security officer in West Jerusalem on Sunday. The injury was not said to be life-threatening.

Protests against the US decision have evolved in the last few days to include new songs, social media campaigns, street demonstrations worldwide, and calls to boycott American products and services.

There was a one-hour strike in Amman’s Jabal Hussein business district, and Jordanian lawyers and judges agreed to a one-hour suspension of legal proceedings in the main courthouses to protest the US move.

Mazen Rushedat, head of the Jordanian Bar Association, has urged the government to approach the International Court of Justice.

He told protesting lawyers that US President Donald Trump has unified Arabs, but that Arab governments still dealing with America as a peace sponsor must re-evaluate their position.

Abbas poll decree lifts hopes of Palestinian unity

Abbas poll decree lifts hopes of Palestinian unity
Updated 13 min 12 sec ago

Abbas poll decree lifts hopes of Palestinian unity

Abbas poll decree lifts hopes of Palestinian unity
  • First elections in 15 years “will usher in badly needed democracy”
  • The PA will hold legislative elections on May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31

AMMAN: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement of the first parliamentary and presidential elections in 15 years has raised hopes of an end to longstanding divisions, but skeptics doubt it will bring about serious change.
According to decrees issued by the presidential office on Friday, the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, will hold legislative elections on May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31.
Hanna Naser, head of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission, told a packed press conference a day earlier that the decrees will usher in a badly needed democratic process.
Naser said the elections will be transparent and will deliver a functioning legislative council, adding: “After 15 years without a legislative body, it is important to have accountability through a council elected by the people.”
Jibril Rajoub, secretary of the Fatah movement and a key force behind the election deal, said on Palestine TV that the decrees are a major breakthrough and reflect a Palestinian commitment to democratic principles.
Rajoub said that the elections commission will be responsible for all aspects of the poll, and that a meeting of all Palestinian factions next week in Cairo will help resolve any remaining issues.
Hussein Sheikh, minister of civil affairs and member of the Fatah Central Committee, tweeted that the presidential decrees are “an important step to strengthen democracy and partnership in a unified political regime that ensures the end of the split and will create a unified vision for a cooperative effort aimed at ending the occupation and accomplishing freedom and liberty for our people.”
Hamas welcomed the decrees, which include a commitment by all participants that the PLO represents Palestinians, and is responsible for foreign affairs and negotiations.
The decrees stipulate elections for a 132-member legislative council that will include Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza on a full proportional basis.
Presidential elections will follow in July and the Palestine National Council will hold elections wherever possible for candidates in different locations. All lists must have a woman as the third and fourth candidates on the list, with at least 26 percent of the next council to be female.
However, Ghassan Khatib, a lecturer at Bir Zeit University and a former minister, told Arab News that while he strongly supports the elections, he is worried about the quality of the poll.
“I am concerned that the elections will reflect the wishes of the political elite since the lists will be national and will be made up by political leaders who might not give enough attention to local communities and their needs,” he said.
Khatib, who founded the Jerusalem Center for Communication Studies, said that polls show Fatah could win the coming elections if it can present a unified list.
Hani Masri, director of the Masarat think tank, said that holding elections before national reconciliation is complete is a “formula for trouble.”
“Issuing presidential decrees for elections before reconciliation is doing things in reverse order,” he said. “To have elections, the land mines must be removed. If we don’t address some of these problems, we are inviting trouble,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
One suggestion to overcome this issue has been that the two main parties, Fatah and Hamas, agree on a joint list and a single nominee for president.
Marwan Muasher, vice president of Carnegie Endowment for International Studies, told Arab News that national unity is a necessary first step.
“National elections serve to renew Palestinian legitimacy, which has been significantly affected,” he said.
Palestinians are also unsure if Israel will allow East Jerusalem residents to take part in the elections. Under the Oslo accords, Jerusalem residents can vote at local post offices.