You try living like this:
The neighborhood of Kufr Aqab has evolved into a kind of no man’s land — it’s technically part of Jerusalem, but it lies on the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier the Israelis have built to try to keep out suicide bombers.
Kufr Aqab’s residents have to pay taxes to the Israeli authorities, but they get virtually nothing in return. Still, the East Jerusalem district’s population is booming as Palestinian couples like Bayan Barghouti and his wife, Roula, move there.
The two don’t look like star-crossed lovers, but like the majority of Palestinians in the neighborhood, they surmounted a great deal of opposition to be together.
I have no other place to live with my husband. He’s a West Banker and I cannot live in an area in the West Bank, nor he can live in an area in Jerusalem, so it’s the middle.
The problem? Roula is from Jerusalem; Bayan is from the West Bank.
Palestinians from Jerusalem can travel freely between the West Bank and Israel, but to maintain their residency permits they have to live within the Jerusalem municipal boundaries. Most Palestinians from the West Bank don’t have permission to cross the wall Israel has built in and around the occupied territory.
And this “only democracy in the Middle East” comes complete with taxation without representation:
To prove residency, Palestinians in Kufr Aqab have to pay arnona, the Jerusalem municipal tax. But their streets are mostly unpaved, services are minimal, there are few schools and only one recently opened clinic.
Roula and Bayan say this place is symbolic of how Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are slowly being disenfranchised. Israeli restrictions are forcing Jerusalem residents to either marry other Palestinians from Jerusalem or risk losing their residency in the city.
“If you are married to a West Banker you are punished — you have to pay more; you have to live in an area that’s not organized at all,” Roula says.
Maybe Bart Stupak will offer an amendment so my tax dollars don’t go to support this kind of mess. That would be nice.