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Jun-10-2011 01:41printcomments

I'm Either an Illegal Citizen of One State, or an Inferior Citizen in Another

A brief story of my suffering as a blue ID card holder and resident of the occupied city of Jerusalem.

Ethnic cleansing sign in Palestine
It's amazing that anyone has to make this type of a statement in a modern day and age. Photos provided by: Jalal Abukhater

(RAMALLAH) - I am considered under the Israeli law to be an illegal citizen of the Palestinian West Bank and I am supposed to avoid it as an area of danger while Jewish settlers are allowed to come from all over the world and settle legally (under Israeli law) in the Palestinian West Bank.

I am a Palestinian who lives in the occupied eastern part of Jerusalem. I am required to carry around my blue identification card which permits me to cross checkpoints daily from my house in Jerusalem to my school in Ramallah and vice versa. Carrying the blue identification card enables me to travel “freely” across the West Bank and 1948 Palestine while those carrying West Bank and Gaza IDs are not able to leave those areas without special Israeli issued permits. Having said that, however, carrying this blue ID is more of a curse than it is a blessing.

I am not a full citizen of the state of “Israel”, Neither am I a full citizen under the Palestinian authority. I am not even Jordanian, I do not carry any official nationality nor am I allowed to carry any. I carry a semi-Israeli passport and a “temporary” Jordanian issued semi-passport. Living under this circumstance is extremely unbearable.

Arabs living in 1948 Palestine (Israel) do have full Israeli “official” citizenship, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are considered officially Palestinians and do carry official citizenships. Whenever I am asked to fill any kind of a form which asks who I am and where do I live, I fill in nationality as Jordanian and address as Jerusalem, Israel. Unfortunately that is the reality lived by all Palestinian Jerusalem residents who are not citizens of Israel, I’m am not sure how they define us, but it is surely not a citizen of Israel but a temporary citizen waiting to be expelled to some other land soon.

Building permits aren't granted to Palestinians by the Israeli municipality,
therefore they destroy their homes. Ethnic Cleansing

We, Jerusalem citizens, are threatened to loose our Jerusalem ID cards if the Israeli authorities find out that we have a house in the Palestinian West Bank. We are not allowed to live in the West Bank nor it is easy for us to buy or rent a property to live in inside Israel. The laws of the apartheid state of Israel makes it extremely hard to obtain a permit to build a house, or renovate an already existing house anywhere. All around Eastern Jerusalem, residents struggle to obtain building permits to fit those new family members while a Jewish person can easily obtain a permit and build a whole residential compound to fit few family members. All of this is a part of the plan to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem and Palestine of all Arabs, Muslims and Christians alike.

That is the reason anyone who carries a Jerusalem ID and lives in the West Bank most often has an address in Jerusalem to cover up his West Bank house from the Israeli fascist authorities.

The Zionist government claims settlements are purposed to fit the natural growth and increase in Jewish population, but the increase of Arab population is not met with any extra housing of any type, Arabs are not even allowed to add an extra room to their houses due to apartheid Israeli laws.

On the other hand, carrying the Jerusalem ID does not allow us to obtain any other worldwide nationality! If Israeli apartheid authorities find out that anyone carrying a Jerusalem ID obtained a foreign passport (For example: Canadian or American) his ID is to be taken away and he is to be deported along with having all his property confiscated. What is extremely annoying here, is the racial bias.

A billboard in Jerusalem advertising a new illegal Jewish settlement

Anyone who is a Jewish citizen of Israel is permitted to carry as many foreign passports and nationalities along with his Israeli passport. You will find an Israeli Jew who carries an American passport, a German passport, a French passport, and a Belgium passport along with his Israeli passport while an Arab citizen carrying a Jerusalem ID is not able to even carry a Palestinian passport or a full Israeli passport, as if we are non-existent humans.

My father has always told me, our struggle holding this Identification card is a struggle of existence. If we ever thought of giving up this ID card to move live somewhere else, we are giving up our eternal right in the land of Palestine and Jerusalem to be specific. The Jewish Zionist plot is and has always been achieving an ethnically pure Jewish only city of Jerusalem. As I have said in another article, Jerusalem was never meant to be for any specific people, race, or religion. Jerusalem is the holy city that accepts people from all around the globe and from all different religions!

I will not accept being treated as an inferior citizen, I demand equality in living!

Jerusalem is my city, I am an existing human being who demands human rights as any other citizen living in any other country in the world!

The apartheid laws of the Israeli state need to be abolished! This system is slowly turning to be EXTREMELY similar to 1935 Nazi Germany, we don’t want it to turn to 1939 Nazi Germany or further. We exist! We have the right to exist and travel freely in our land without worrying every minute of being expelled for choosing a place of living!


You can write to Jalal at:

Previous by Jalal Abukhater:

May-25-2011: How do you define 'Coexistence'?Middle east Teen Perspective by Jalal Abukhater

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Jhoeh June 8, 2012 1:46 pm (Pacific time)

Ma'anyenim?? (A new word we all learned here in Israel, maineng How's it going? )Thanks so much to Steve Brown and everyone else for posting about our Israel trip. As you can all imagine (and have seen in words and pictures ), it's been SUPER busy all week long. I can't believe how fast this trip has gone by! This morning (Wednesday) we'll be leaving Jerusalem to head north, and I think it's safe to say that we will all miss the beauty, spirituality, and history (though maybe not so much the long walks up and down the hills ) of this magnificent city. Personally, I am really enjoying seeing Israel anew through the eyes of those who are here for the first time. It's hard to pick a favorite moment in our first week here; there are just so many! The blackout restaurant, the Friday night service on a rooftop in the Old City, Daniel's wonderful Torah reading on Masada, or just the amazing camaraderie that has been building between all the participants. We're all certainly making the most of our time here, and even though I'm really loving being back in Israel, I also look forward to returning home to Wallingford, and to seeing you all soon again. Bye for now! (Or, Y'allah, Bye! ) RJGa0

Josh R June 14, 2011 6:26 pm (Pacific time)

"I guess that's the nature of things, look at how kids are treated in the occupied lands." I'd rather be an East Jerusalem Arab criticizing the Israeli government than an Arab living in pretty much any other Arab country critizing the government of that country.

Rachel Golem June 13, 2011 10:39 am (Pacific time)

Dear Mr. Abukhater,

I am sorry to hear that you live in the only country on earth where different groups of people get along perfectly.

In fact, Europeans wake up every morning and say, "I love Arabs so much, wish more would move to my country".

Editor: Rachel, sad to know you aren't above hassling  the 16-year old's too.  I guess that's the nature of things, look at how kids are treated in the occupied lands.

Joe June 10, 2011 11:04 am (Pacific time)

Malachi revealed that the Palestinians, descendants of Biblical Esau, would return to rebuild their nation (Malachi 1). Ezekiel wrote of the judgment to come on the Palestinians as they rise up to kill Jews and take the land that God has given them (Ezekiel 35). Jeremiah the prophet wrote wrote in Jeremiah 49:18 that the Palestinian people, the Edomites of Biblical times, will be destroyed and be as if they never have been. Obadiah foretold of the end of this Palestinian violence when Jesus Christ returns to the earth (Obadiah 15-18).

DJ: Who the hell is Malachi? You're obviously quoting from some biblical mythology  of three or four thousand years ago. What about those who don't believe those fantasies? It's completely irrational to base national and international policies on belief systems to which a majority of people do not subscribe. 

Josh R June 10, 2011 8:51 am (Pacific time)

East Jerusalem Arabs have the right to claim Israeli citizenship if they swear allegience to Israel and renounce other citizenships. Given that the Arabs have repeatedly tried to drive out all the Jews from the area, this is an extremely reasonable offer. When Jordan occupied "East Jerusalem," the Jews living there were not offered Jordanian citizenship. Instead, they were summarily expelled.

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