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Jerusalem Square inaugurated in Paris despite pro-Palestinian protests
The square, located at the intersection of Rue de Courcelles and Boulevard of Reims, in the central 17th Arrondissement.
By Rossella Tercatin, Alon Eonhorn, June 30, 2019:
Despite a pro-Palestinian demonstration, “Place de Jérusalem” (Jerusalem Square) was inaugurated in Paris on Sunday.
The square, located at the intersection of Rue de Courcelles and Boulevard of Reims, in the central 17th Arrondissement, is also the site of the future European Center of Judaism (ECJ), which is currently under construction.
“In this sad period of recrudesce of racist and antisemitic acts, recalling the ties that unite the city of Paris and the Jewish community is essential,” Hidalgo wrote to President of the Central Consistory of France, Joel Mergui on May 15, when she officially announced that she would pursue the project. The Consistory is the body that represents French Jewry in matters of religion.
“For this reason, your proposal for devoting a square to Jerusalem in the capital seems very sensible, also in order to remember the friendship and the unity between the city of Paris and the state of Israel,” Hidalgo added.
Upon the approval of Hidalgo’s proposal in the city council on June 12, Danielle Simonnet from the far-left party La France Insoumise proposed an amendment, requesting that the street sign read “Place de Jérusalem – With the wish that it becomes the future capital of two States.”
Simonnet’s proposal was not approved. This rejection and the fact that the request to dedicate a square to Jerusalem was initially formulated by Mergui on the occasion of the visit of Israeli president Reuven Rivlin last January, sparked a protest from pro-Palestinian associations.
Dozens of people protested against the decision, including the Association France Palestine Solidarity, which invited supporters to join the demonstration under the name “No to the confiscation of Jerusalem!”
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was invited by Hidalgo and participated in the inauguration event in the French capital.
“This is an exciting and special gathering for me, a connection between two capital cities that have made their mark on the world,” Lion said.
“This initiative, the establishment of a square named after Jerusalem in Paris, reinforces our mutual relations and friendship. Promoting tolerance, love and peace in our cities is imperative. As heads of major and important cities, we must do all in our power to bring about quality coexistence and good relations between different religions and sectors,” he added.
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