New Jersey street renamed Palestine Way in honour of local Arab community
A street in the city of Paterson, New Jersey, with a vibrant communities of Arabs and Muslims, has renamed part of a street Palestine Way, paying tribute to a place that holds a special place in the hearts of residents, around 2,000 of whom came out to celebrate the new street name on Sunday.
“Palestine Way is long overdue,” councilman Alaa “Al” Abdelaziz was quoted in the Patterson Times as saying. He added, “We are the hub and the capital in America for Palestinians.”
Abdelaziz, who is of Palestinian heritage, sponsored the street naming initiative, which passed unanimously in April. The city’s Palestinian community, which currently numbers about 15,000, dates back nearly 100 years, with the first arriving in the early 1930s and the first Middle Eastern restaurant opening on Main Street in the 1980s, which now hosts a variety of restaurants, and will now be called Palestine Way.
A street festival was held for the renaming ceremony, with vendors setting up booths with food, t-shirts and flags for the occasion.
The renaming of the street came on Nakba Day, 15 May, the annual commemoration of the establishment of the state of Israel, when around 700,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes following the outbreak of the 1948 war.
“We make history today. Today, everyone, everywhere is Palestinian,” said mayor Paterson Andre Sayegh, according to the Patterson Times.