Making jokes, some Arab Israelis find Trump’s ‘transfer’ plan funny

Arab Israeli social media users have posted photos of signs “welcoming” residents to the “Baka al-Gharbiyyeh Crossing” and “Umm al-Fahm Crossing.”

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu points to a map of the Jordan Valley (photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu points to a map of the Jordan Valley
(photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER)
While leaders of the Arab Israelis are continuing to condemn US President Donald Trump’s plan to transfer some of their communities to a future Palestinian state, some Arab citizens find the proposal so funny that they are cracking jokes and sharing satirical posts and comments on social media.
Trump’s Mideast plan “contemplates the possibility” of redrawing Israeli borders to exclude the so-called Triangle area, home to some 250,000 Arab Israelis living in Kafr Qara, Arara, Baqa al-Gharbiyyeh, Umm al-Fahm, Kalansaweh, Taibeh, Kafr Qassem, Tira, Kafr Bara and Jaljulia.
Arab Israeli social media users have posted photos of signs “welcoming” residents to the “Baka al-Gharbiyyeh Crossing” and “Umm al-Fahm Crossing.”
The signs are similar to those placed by the IDF at entrances to Palestinian cities in the West Bank. The purpose of the photoshopped posts is to show what the entrances to Arab Israeli towns would look like, if and when they become part of a Palestinian state.
Reflecting the fear that Arabs may be stripped of their Israeli citizenship in accordance with the peace plan, other social media users posted photos of Trump announcing that his vision does not include certain Arab Israeli families. The posts aim to “assure” anxious families that they would be permitted to remain in their homes and retain their Israeli citizenship, notwithstanding the plan.
A widely circulated video on Facebook scoffs at the prospect that Arab Israelis may be forced to leave their homes. The video, apparently from Africa, features dozens of refugees being driven away in a truck with their belongings. The caption attached to the video includes laughing emojis and reads: “These are the residents of Baka al-Gharbiyyeh.”
Several Arab Israelis derided with mocking remarks the possibility that they may have to apply for work permits to enter Israel after they lose their Israeli citizenship.
An audio message making the rounds on the WhatsApp cross-platform messaging service is from an anonymous Arab offering to help residents get permits to enter Israel.
“Hey folks, if anyone wants a permit to enter Israel for work or to import olives, please let me know,” the recorded message says. “We will start distributing [Palestinian] green ID cards as of February 1.”
Another audio message circulating on WhatsApp features the voice of an Arab woman advising her fellow citizens to start replacing Hebrew phrases with Arabic words they will have to use – if and when they become citizens of a Palestinian state.
The advice includes replacing the Hebrew word for air conditioner, mazgan, with the Arabic word mukayaef.
“Instead of saying mat’ain (phone charger in Hebrew), you must start using the Arabic word shahen,” the anonymous woman says in her message. “Hey girls, we don’t want any scandals once we move to live there, with the West Bankers. We don’t want the West Bankers to laugh at us for using Hebrew terms.”
Another audio message with a male voice tells Arab Israelis to cheer up because of the cheap prices they will enjoy in the West Bank.
“For 10 shekels, we will be able to buy 100 pieces of falafel,” the man says, referring to the deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both.
Some Arab citizens received an audio message on WhatsApp from an anonymous Hebrew speaking man sarcastically stating, “Now there was a meeting of the Cabinet and [Blue and White party chairman] Benny Gantz just announced that Jaljulia, Kafr Qassem, Kafr Bara, Umm al-Fahm and Baka al-Gharbiyyeh should start packing. You are returning to the [Palestinian] Territories. Goodbye!”
Meanwhile, some Arab Israelis who are not laughing about the idea of transferring their communities to a future Palestinian state said on Thursday that they are planning a series of protests against the “transfer” plan.
One of the protests, scheduled for Saturday night in Tel Aviv, is being organized by a joint Jewish-Arab group called Standing Together.
Maisam Jaljouli, one of the members of the group, said, “I was born in the town of Tira in the Triangle. I grew up here and I continue to raise my children here, as my parents and grandparents did. I’m a proud Palestinian and a citizen of Israel. This is my home and no one has the right to even think about expelling me. Period.”