Ramallah: The Ethiopian community and other black Israelis have been discriminated against and brutalized for years, according to Palestinian political analysts.
“Various methods of discrimination against Ethiopians and blacks in general is manifested even in the smallest of government procedures,” said Ghassan Al Khatib, a political analyst in Ramallah.
Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews were flown to Israel from Africa decades ago when famine threatened their communities. This group is now over 100,000 in size and regularly complains of discrimination. More than half of Ethiopian-Israelis live in poverty.
The recent protests, including Sunday’s violent protest in Tel Aviv, were provoked by a police assault on a black Israeli soldier.
Al Khatib said that Jewish ultraorthodox communities believe that a great portion of the Ethiopian community members in Israel are not Jews but claimed to be Jews in order to gain Israeli citizenship. “This is added to the ongoing Israeli discrimination against blacks,” he told Gulf News.
“What is happening in Israel is clear evidence that Israel is a racist country,” he said, adding that Palestinians living in 1948 areas have constantly complained of discrimination for decades.
“The Israeli regime discriminates against Palestinians, blacks and even Ethiopian Jews,” he said.
The underlying racism of the Israeli regime can be clearly seen in its policies, laws, judicial system and school curriculum, he explained.
Al Khatib predicts the regime will not be able to rid itself of the deeply rooted racism it harbors towards blacks and Palestinians, and he predicts protests by blacks will recur in the future.
Abdul Sattar Qassem, a political analyst in Nablus, said that overcoming racism and discrimination is a tough if not impossible mission for the Israeli regime.
“This needs cultural change which takes a long time,” he told Gulf News.
The regime may seek to temporarily appease the blacks in order to improve its image internationally, he speculated, but he said the temporary solution would not last long.