Graffiti depicting the PFPL plane hijacker Leila Khaled on the security barrier near Bethlehem.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Johannesburg City Council has decided to rename a major road Leila Khaled Drive, in honor of the notorious Palestinian who was one of the hijackers of a TWA flight from Rome to Tel Aviv in 1969.
The council last week adopted the motion presented by the ruling ANC and its far-left ally, the Economic Freedom Fighters, to rename Sandton Drive after the 74-year-old Khaled, who now lives in Jordan and was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The motion argued that the city, which is home to most of South Africa’s 70,000-strong Jewish community, had “a responsibility to stand with the people of Palestine.”
Economic Freedom Fighters chairperson Musa Novela said, “It is our duty to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine against the oppressive state of Israel.” The initial motion was to rename the road “City of Ramallah,” but following an amendment, it called for the road to be named after Khaled.
In May, the South Africa government withdrew its ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, following the clashes along the Israel-Gaza border that resulted in the death of many Palestinians who attempted to breach the border.
Despite the motion being passed with the support of EFF and ANC, there is still a long process to follow before any name change is implemented.