I have just stumbled across a blog written by a very sharp and articulate sixteen-year-old Palestinian living in East Jerusalem. As an East Jerusalemite, Jalal is a citizen of nobody’s country. The Palestinians of East Jerusalem are classed as ‘permanent residents of the State of Israel’, a dubious category that deprives them of all the basic civil rights that come with full citizenship – including the right to vote. It’s a suffocating existence.
Last month, not long after we commemorated the Nakba, Jalal posed some questions to his readers:
I respect every Israeli who is ready to have me or any Arab alike, to be his neighbor in an apartment in Tel-Aviv. I am ready to respect every Israeli who feels we are all equal and we all deserve the same equal rights of living. 1948 Arabs today are living in ghettos around Haifa, Yaffa, Jerusalem and others due to the extremely racist apartheid Israeli laws and regulations which consider Arabs as inferiors in the state of Israel. This is not acceptable.
I am extremely inspired by the South African experience which succeeded using non-violence, to gain equal rights for all citizens whatever their race or ethnicity was. As their Apartheid system has fallen, the Israeli Apartheid System can and will fall, hopefully democracy will prevail, the people will speak, and their voice will be heard.
We are not different, no one deserves to be treated different than any other person because of his religion or ethnic origin. We are all Semites after all; we can and should live together, not separated by walls or borders.
I ask you, how do you define “Coexistence”? Do you accept me as your neighbor? Are we different?
I hope he gets some good answers as he grows older.
Here is his blog, Palestinian Field Negro.