Jerusalem’s Palestinian Cabbies
Al Jazeera (2019)
This film provides an interesting glimpse into the working lives of Palestinian cab drivers in West Jerusalem. Divided into East and West Jerusalem since the founding of Israel in 1948, East Jerusalem has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 six-day war.
Although the Palestinian Authority theoretically controls West Jerusalem (under the 1993 Oslo Accords), Israeli presence is increasing. This relates, in part, to the illegal seizure of Palestinian homes for Israeli settler homes and schools.
Although West Jerusalem is legally part of Palestine, all the cabs are Israeli owned and licensed. The city’s Arab taxi drivers are required to accept Israeli passengers, despite the risk of being harassed by them. They are also expected to learn Hebrew.
The drivers talk freely about about losing prior (lucrative) careers due to Israeli security crackdowns. At the same time they feel extremely grateful to have any work at all in occupied Palestine. Several talk about the important role they play in educating foreign tourists about the plight of Palestine – many are totally unaware that Palestine or Palestinians exist.
In the most interesting part of the film, a Palestinian driver and his Israeli passenger have a vehement argument (in Hebrew).