French Town to Honor Yasser Arafat with Street

Despite small pockets of opposition to naming street after "terrorist," proposal for a street honoring Arafat in La Seyne-sur-Mer passes.

Cynthia Blank ,

Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Flash 90

A French municipal council has approved a proposal to name a newly built street after Palestinian Liberation Organization leader and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, the Nice Matin newspaper reported Tuesday. 

The proposal was adopted by a large majority of elected representatives of of the south-western town La Seyne-sur-Mer. 

According to Mayor Marc Vuillemot, the proposal was brought forward by the town's residents and only a handful of representatives voted against it.  

Those who opposed the measure were reportedly unhappy with honoring a "controversial figure" or, as others described Arafat, a "terrorist."

"There is also a Yitzhak Rabin-street in the district. To my knowledge, the two men received the Nobel Peace Prize together," the Socialist Party Mayor said in response to the critics. 

With La Seyne-sur-Mer's adoption of the proposal, France will see the country's first ever street to be named after Arafat, who died in a French hospital in 2004. 

There already exists a "Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat " square in Bobigny, a suburb of Paris, but previous attempts to have a street named in honor of the Palestinian leader were scrapped, usually in the wake of Jewish community objections.