Under Israeli pressure, a French suburb today removed a street sign commemorating the Nakba.
The Mayor of Bezons, a northwest suburb of Paris, unveiled the “Nakba Lane” plaque on Monday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. The plaque was removed only hours after its installation following a request by the top official for the region, who said it could “seriously disrupt public order,” according to PressTV.
The street sign, which was written in French and Arabic, read: “In memory of the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians and the destruction of 532 villages in 1948 by the war criminal David Ben-Gurion for the creation of Israel.”
Israel had pressured the suburb to remove the plaque, with Israel’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Emmanuel Nahshon, describing the renaming of the street as “a nauseating act”. Israel’s Ambassador to France, Aliza Bin-Noun, accused the mayor of supporting “Palestinian terrorism” and inciting hatred.
The sign also sparked criticism from a number of pro-Israel groups across France, with the president of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF), an umbrella group of French Jewish communities, calling the street sign “shockingly irresponsible and dangerous”.
In 2014, the same suburb was ordered to remove a commemorative plaque for Majdi Al-Rimawi, an imprisoned member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, met with France’s President, Emmanuel Macron, at the Elysee Palace to discuss regional politics and the Iran nuclear deal. While in Paris, Netanyahu told leaders of the city’s Jewish community that “Israel has stopped a great deal of attacks in Europe and will continue to do so,” according to Haaretz.
In December 2017, Macron told Netanyahu he ought to “make gestures towards the Palestinians,” which could include freezing illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli PM responded by saying that “the sooner the Palestinians came to grips with the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, the sooner there will be peace,” Haaretz reported.
France’s Macron has condemned the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US Embassy to the city, calling it a “threat to peace”. French representatives did not attend the embassy’s opening ceremony in May.