WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration "strongly condemned" the naming of Palestinian streets after terrorists and rebuked Palestinian Authority figures for denying Jerusalem’s Jewish heritage.
"We are disturbed by comments of Palestinian Authority officials regarding reconstruction and refurbishing of Jewish sites in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City," P.J. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, said Thursday. "Remarks by the Palestinian ministry of information denying Jewish heritage in and links to Jerusalem undermine the trust and confidence needed for substantive and productive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
"We also strongly condemn the glorification of terrorists honoring terrorists who have murdered innocent civilians either by official statements or by the dedication of public places hurts peace efforts and must end. We will continue to hold Palestinian leaders accountable for incitement."
Two streets have been named for terrorists in recent weeks in Ramallah; the initiatives were launched by Hamas officials on the town council, but without opposition — and in at least the first case, the encouragement — of P.A. officials. P.A. officials also have joined calls protesting Israel’s refurbishment of an ancient synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City that had been gutted by Jordan’s army in the 1948 Independence War.
Some mainstream Jewish groups, Republicans and a number of pro-Israel Democrats have said that the Obama administration has failed to condemn such actions, although it has made public its dispute with Israel over new building in eastern Jerusalem.