The Old City of Jerusalem is likely the most hotly contested geographical location in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The linguistic landscape in the Old City, including street names and signs, can shed light on power relations and political agendas within the conflict. This article examines the linguistic landscape of the Old City after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) in 1967. It focuses on five different areas: four quarters (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian) and al-Haram al-Sharif/ Temple Mount compound. Based on an examination of several hundred street signs, the authors’ findings indicate a clear dominance of Hebrew in signage throughout the Old City, evident in different linguistic aspects. Two linguistic behaviors were also obvious: firstly, in the Jewish quarter, the linguistic landscape promotes an Israeli nationalistic discourse including physical erasure of the Arabic language and Palestinian existence; secondly, all other areas lack national Palestinian content and aspirations. This indicates the official Israeli view that there is an exclusive Jewish right to national identity while Palestinians must make do with religious identity only. Our analysis of signs in the Old City indicates two Israeli-oriented, complementary features: pro-active Jewish-Israeli nationalization, and an Orientalist, British-inspired, colonial and religious-centered attempt to de-politicize the East.
From the BlogsMuhannad Abd al-Hameed–November 30, 2021Arabic
From the BlogsMaher Charif–November 29, 2021Arabic