Israel: Wiping the Names of Palestine off the Map

Thousands of road signs are the latest front in Israel’s battle to erase Arab heritage from much of Palestine.

Israel Katz, the transport minister, has announced that signs on all major roads in Israel, East Jerusalem and possibly parts of the West Bank will be “standardised”, converting English and Arabic place names into straight transliterations of the Hebrew name.

Currently, road signs include the place name as it is traditionally rendered in all three languages.

Under the new scheme, the Arab identity of important Palestinian communities will be obscured: Jerusalem, or “al Quds” in Arabic, will be Hebraised to “Yerushalayim”; Nazareth, or “al Nasra” in Arabic, will become “Natzrat”; and Jaffa, the port city after which Palestine’s oranges were named, will be “Yafo”.

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