French town to name street for Arafat


(JTA) —  A town in southern France announced plans to name a street after the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat.

The decision to name the street after Arafat, founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization, who died in 2004, was approved Tuesday by a municipal committee of Seyne-sur-mer near Nice, the French news agency AFP reported.

The report said that the naming, when it happens, will be the first time a street is named after the former Palestinian leader with the exception of a square in Bobigny north of Paris, which is named for Arafat conjointly with Yitzhak Rabin, the late Israeli prime minister with whom Arafat reached an agreement that led to the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993.

Before signing on the peace accord, Arafat was considered a terrorist by Israel, the United States and certain parts of Europe. His legacy is controversial because of alleged widespread corruption and evidence that he continued to use terrorism alongside diplomacy as Palestinian president.

The socialist mayor of Seyne-sur-mer told AFP that the naming was decided upon after a majority emerged for it among the residents of the neighborhood where Yasser Arafat Street is to be named. He added the same neighborhood also has a street named after Rabin, who received Nobel Peace Prize alongside Arafat.

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