By Amy Lukau
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister has been invited by President Trump to meet him at the soonest possibility. News broke this morning that Mr. Netanyahu opposes a Palestinian state according to a senior Israeli cabinet member.
The Palestinian people wish to establish a state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem to become the capital. These areas were captured in during the “Six day War” in 1967. Israel has since pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005.
Netanyahu has approved construction of 6,000 settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since Donald Trump became president; a move that has drawn international condemnation.
Many African-Palestinian’s wonder if they too will they have a place at the table.
The African-Palestinian community has fought alongside fellow Palestinians in the fight for liberation.
The first female Palestinian political prisoner, Fatima Barnawi of Nigerian descent served ten years in Israeli occupation jails for a foiled bombing attack. Because of a 1977 prisoner exchange she was released and deported.
The role of Africans in the Palestinian liberation struggle became even more notable following the 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem.
Osama Jiddah was the first Palestinian killed during the second intifada. A member of the African community, he was shot dead by Israeli forces on 29 September 2000 while on his way to donate blood in al-Maqased hospital on the Mount of Olives.
African Palestinians state that they experience racism from both fellow Palestinians and Israeli police, one saying “We face a twofold oppression by the Israeli occupation: first because we are Palestinian; and second because we are black,” he said.
Due to restrictions on building and high levels of poverty and unemployment, many in the African community are forced to look for residence outside the Old city, moving to areas Hanina or Shuafat.
Although the problem of restriction, poverty and unemployment is endemic to all Palestinians in the Old City, African Palestinians do not have Jordanian passports. The majority of their fellow Palestinians in Jerusalem do.
African-Palestinians from Jerusalem are banned from receiving a Jordanian passport. The Jordanian policy of refusing to give passports to African-Palestinians has to do with considering them “strangers.”
Jerusalem’s African-Palestinians have a rich history in the region. In 634 Africans began migrating to Jerusalem when Omar Bin al-Khattab, the second Muslim caliph, conquered the city. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Africans began to settle in Jerusalem in larger numbers.
One would hope that the plight and exceptional circumstances that African-Palestinians face in Jerusalem would enter future talks regarding issues of conflict resolution. Both sides, Palestine and Israel should be keen to acknowledge the issues of those left on periphery who are an integral part of Palestinian society, history and culture.