- Jordanians propose changing the U.S. embassy address to 'Arab Jerusalem street'
- It is a non-violent protest against the decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
- 20,000 took place in demonstrations in Amman on Friday
- The name-change campaign has spread to Egypt and elsewhere
by Rosie Alfatlawi
Jordanians have come up with a novel way to protest the transfer of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Campaigners are seeking to change the name of the street where the American embassy is located in Amman to “Arab Jerusalem street.”
The “non-violent, symbolic” proposal was launched via social media in the days following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
It would “force them to write ‘Arab Jerusalem’ when noting the address of their embassy,” argued commenters online.
“This is the least we can ask for from the authorities,” @hayafAlRawashde tweeted.
Only around 70 kilometers from Jerusalem, Amman has seen large demonstrations against the controversial move in recent days. More than 20,000 gathered downtown following Friday prayers, according to The Jordan Times, with “almost zero friction with security forces.”
Rallies have also taken place around the heavily guarded U.S. embassy, on what is currently known as “Al-Umawyeen Street” (Umayyad Street) in the city’s affluent Abdoun district.
#Jerusalem protest continues with crowds gathering outside US Embassy in #Amman #Trumpjerusalem #القدس pic.twitter.com/OAvlxpnZsl— Alisa Zaira Reznick (@AlisaReznick) December 8, 2017
Demonstrators called for the embassy to be closed and the charge d’affaires to be expelled, according to Al Jazeera. It temporarily suspended its activity, limiting public movement of its staff in response to the protests.
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Supporters of the name-change have suggested it could prove effective if implemented in all nations that back the Palestinian cause.
It was soon pointed out on social media that such an address-based protest is not novel in the Arab world.
The U.S. consulate in Jeddah is located on Palestine street. A number of tweets suggested that this was because Saudi King Faisal had ordered the road to be renamed at the time.
Saudi Prince Sattam bin Khaled Al Saud tweeted that: “When the U.S. embassy opened its site in Jeddah, King Faisal ordered the naming of the street where it is located in this name.”
“[It was] so that it would be the address of the embassy and when the Americans write their correspondence, they would be forced to write the name of Palestine.
It is not clear whether this story is true or not: the consulate moved to its current location in 1952, while King Faisal came to the throne in 1964. It has been widely reported online, nonetheless.
Saudi Arabia has recently come under fire with claims that it has betrayed the Palestinian cause through its claimed relations with Israel and close relationship to the Trump administration.
The Amman campaign seems already to have spread to its neighbors.
Multiple Facebook posts have proposed a similar protest for the U.S. embassy in Cairo, while Qatari @sa600r pushed for the change across the Arab world via Twitter.
Meanwhile, there were further plans for non-violent protests in Jordan on Sunday, with calls for an hour-long shop closure in solidarity with Jerusalem.
A large proportion of Jordan’s population is of Palestinian origin. Jordan acts as a custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, a role which many feel was undermined by Trump’s decision.
Israel’s embassy in Amman remains closed following the fatal shooting in July of two Jordanians by an Israeli security guard within its compound. That incident sparked widespread anger and protests.