I'm an African American and Arab (Iraqi and Palestinian) currently living in the de facto capital of Ramallah. I've been here since September and will be here till July(Unless things go bad). Ask me anything and if you want me to cite proof for anything I say just ask. Please avoid asking question like Do you support Hamas for the sakes of avoiding a flame war.


Comments: 2171 • Responses: 73  • Date: 

kinz_r31969 karma

Have you ever done a burnout in a mustang that was so fucking big that you could barely see out the window? and also would you fight my mate albert even tho he is blind? he hella buff tho

throwawayforanama22556 karma

I think doing any of that would get you killed with how bad the driving here is.

DarkPasta461 karma

How's the food? I hear great things.

throwawayforanama221377 karma

The bread is amazing.The Olives are amazing. The Lamb is amazing. The Pringles suck.

LesserDuchess415 karma

Why in the world are you there?

throwawayforanama22907 karma

Mother got a fullbright grant from the U.S to help make a museum. Wanted me and my little brother to learn more about my arab side. Get a better idea of the world then the stander dumb teenager. Learn more about islam. And something about eating more lamb.

anon0108263 karma

i admire your Mom educating you through travel.

this is one hell of an experience for you and i hope you enjoy it. its certainly going to be life changing

at the same time, you couldn't pay me to go myself or relocate my family to that part of the the world. you're there in the middle of it and you understand exactly what i'm talking about.

you are in a unique place and it will be life changing. keep your head down and good luck.

throwawayforanama22229 karma

It only for 10 months during my freshman year which is why i'm ok with it.

MeenXo4 karma

Can you tell me more about the museum? My wife was just telling me she would love to open a space museum in Palestine in the future. How was your mom able to get a grant to open up a museum in Palestine? Salam :)

Pantlmn352 karma


throwawayforanama22255 karma

An sorry is a start. And I thank you for it.

Au_Over_Errything257 karma

You guys do realize that the dude is 14, right? So it makes sense why some of his answers are biased/simple.

To OP: How is the weather over there?

throwawayforanama22305 karma

Cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon.

hosman5247 karma

Can you go through check points? Do you get treated like an Arab or anAmerican by the IDF?

throwawayforanama22812 karma

Depend on who they see first, My mom (Arab) or my dad(South Side Chicago) With my mom it's the cold stare and looking for a reason to start a problem. With my dad it more like "I BEEN TO CHICAGO I LOVE IT THERE" Not even joking.

pinkgreenblue237 karma

How does your travel there work? Do you enter on your American passport and exit and re-enter Israel every ninety days to get a new tourist visa, or do you have a longer period of stay? Do you find yourself subject to lessened scrutiny as an American? The freedom of movement situation is otherworldly.

Also, how's the Nutella shop there?

throwawayforanama22340 karma

We got a full year long visa. How much scrutiny we get depends on if they see my mom (Arab) or my dad (Black)

say_waaaat120 karma

Can you elaborate more on this? What was the process like with getting the visas? How much trouble do they give you when they see you with your mom or dad or both? Any scary/funny stories to go along with them?

Not trying to get you to shed them, the country, in a negative light. Just genuinely curious.

If any of these have been answered, I'm still reading down the list on mobile, so il edit if I need too.

throwawayforanama22236 karma

Visas were handle by the U.S since my mom got the grant from them. When they see my mom it the cold stare till they see our passports. See my dad and sometime they don't even check.

pinkgreenblue35 karma

Thanks for the response.

I was in Ramallah in August and had a fun time. I mostly hung out with American and Palestinian friends, but I'll have a chance to go back with my wife next year. What do you recommend doing in that city and the West Bank in general?

throwawayforanama2252 karma

Just dip in and out of shops in downtown. I've heard some great tales from shop owners

xDalexx157 karma

Do you face any discrimination based on the colour of your skin? Or do manage to blend in and pass?

throwawayforanama22421 karma

I look arab but a bit darker. If people find out that I'm American, they ask if I support them. Say yes and next thing you know you got free tea and a new friend.

xDalexx63 karma


Do you feel like you would ever join the rallies or participate in any political showings?

throwawayforanama22192 karma

Not really. They can end really badly.

gmwdim152 karma

How do people there perceive the American mainstream media? Do they feel that it's unfairly biased in favor of Israel? Or do they not pay attention?

throwawayforanama22323 karma

People here mostly think that the media don't report anything when Israel does something to them. Then when Palestinian get mad and do something back the media act like it was an unprovoked attack. (Like the situation in Jerusalem)

robreeeezy136 karma

Not a serious question but have you been to the Krusty Krab that opened in Ramallah?

throwawayforanama22200 karma

Yes. It's good

Shunshundy123 karma

Are your parents there or are you staying with relatives? What is the biggest difference in attending a Palestinian high school vs an American one?

throwawayforanama22275 karma

Well I'm going to a English school for American kids. But I'll say the biggest different is the learning style. All memorization. All of it. We had a mid term for computer class about the history of the internet and we had to remember the year the first virus was created.

Mean_Typhoon84 karma

I go to an American high school and most of our learning is based on deeper understanding and analysis. Do you do any of that in Palestine, or is it 100% memorization? If so, I feel for you. That really sucks.

throwawayforanama2296 karma

I went to an American high school and yes for the most part it's memorization. From Deen to Computers to Bio.

wealthy_businessman68 karma


What is Deen?

throwawayforanama22105 karma


throwawayforanama2245 karma

I'm staying with my parents. We have some relatives in Jericho but most left during the Nakba.

juicejug122 karma

There's a strong perception that Palestine is a big urban warzone with rockets flying everywhere. Is this restricted to certain areas? Do have a general sense of security because you're American?

throwawayforanama22157 karma

In the West Bank, no. However there have been some clashes and rock throwing between village locals and IDF in some areas and checkpoints.

Cloud_Garrett47 karma

No to which question? Both?

throwawayforanama22109 karma

No to the urban warzone. For the second question which i forgot to answer, not really because I still look arab.

bearded_salad94 karma

How well do you speak Arabic? What language do you converse with the local population in?

throwawayforanama22127 karma

Bad. Most people do speak some degree of english.

elitelimfish86 karma

What things do you feel you took for granted in the States, and now that you're abroad you really miss?

throwawayforanama22184 karma

  1. Internet that doesn't go shitty at night 2. Drama and Music class.

xX420NoflintXx82 karma

It doesn't go shitty at night because it's shitty all day.

throwawayforanama22144 karma

That 0.3 upload speed

Shike0174 karma

Recently, Sweden officially recognised the state of Palestine. Does that get any attention at all in Palestine? Because Israel sure was not happy, apparently.

throwawayforanama22128 karma

People were really happy that day.

peacelovinhippy72 karma

What do you think is the biggest misconception Americans and/or our media have about Palestinians?

throwawayforanama22208 karma

1.They live in the stone age. 2. That Hamas brings down sharia law on all of the west bank.

J0j269 karma

Hey! Love that you're doing an IAMA. I'm an American Jewish teenager living in the States. Reading the headlines this summer made my heart hurt - the sheer number of Palistinians that were hurt or killed is agonizing. My person views on Israel-Palestine are extremely complex, as I have friends and family who live there...its been rough to see it all, and to consider myself both a supporter of Israel and a humanitarian. But my question is what are the tensions you've observed? I know this is probably a more political question than you'd like, but I've been curious. How do you feel people from different 'sides' treat each other? What acts of compassion have you seen?

throwawayforanama2271 karma

We came just after the ceasefire so it wasn't like people were calm to begin with. There been a lot tension in Jerusalem with the Al-Aqsa Mosque and settlement. When we went to East Jerusalem 1. Going threw the checkpoint took a bit till they saw that my dad not even arab. 2. We were walking around when we look up at a building and saw about 10 IDF police just standing there with there guns.

andysaurus_rex61 karma

My grandfather lived in Palestine until he was around 14 and went to a Friends (Quaker) school in Ramallah, I think it's called Ramallah Friends School or something similar. Is that still around? I've always been curious.

throwawayforanama2296 karma

Yes it is. It has like a 10 year waiting period.

Buttsexmafia58 karma

Have you ever run into Israeli soldiers at places like checkpoints, etc.? How do they treat you ?

throwawayforanama22119 karma

The cold. dead. stare.

Om444r50 karma

Sick, I'm African American and Moroccan, which is pretty similar to what you are. Never seen anyone with almost the same mix as me, do people ever think you're Indian?

throwawayforanama22120 karma

No but I was called Mexican once by some white dude.

dog_in_the_vent43 karma

What's the general opinion of the Islamic State over there? Are people generally supportive or do they feel misrepresented?

throwawayforanama22247 karma

Considering how not all women cover up and and alcohol is served here and women have rights, I don't think they really like ISIS

pseudo-pseudonym41 karma

What's daily life there like?

Would you visit Israel if given the chance?

How good are the relations between the Muslims of Ramallah and the Christian minority?

And as an Israeli, I also have a request, rather than a question:

Please let as many people over there know that plenty of Israelis want nothing more than to have peace with a fully independent and developed Palestine. We just don't fucking know how to make that happen.

And hey, if we have a love of Pringles in common, peace can't be that far off.

Good luck to your mom with her museum.

throwawayforanama2278 karma

Christians keep there shops open during Eid. Muslims keep there shops open during christmas. It's good deal.

dansden39 karma

What are some fun things that you have done there?

throwawayforanama2277 karma

Site seeing. And lots of food. Lots of it.

SilentlyCrying30 karma

Have you encountered any discrimination while you’ve been there?

throwawayforanama2278 karma

I'm part arab. Even if your american as long as you support Palestine you'll be welcomed (A lot of arab countries are like that)

Zeddikus28 karma

What has been some real culture shock to you? Have you done anything, or said anything that people just stared in amazement at you for? Being a typical American (as I would presume you to be) are there any everyday things you could say or do in the states that would be dangerous there?

Have you had any real discussions with teenagers there about the conflict that wasn't just one sided "they are evil, we are innocent"? By this, I mean, realistic on the situation, in that there is fault on both sides and that the current status quo of shooting rockets and throwing rocks, etc, is counter productive?

throwawayforanama22105 karma

No real culture shock. I think I just adjusted faster. I'm already a muslim. People look at me like i'm crazy when I talk about violence and homicide rates in the U.S (The crime rate here is low) Other then being a drunk out in the streets which will get you some weird looks (they do sell alcohol here) Showing the israeli flag will get you burned.

GoBucks1327 karma

Are you going to go to the Krabby Patty restaurant when it opens?

throwawayforanama2253 karma

It is open and it's good.

Jayoak21 karma

Language-related question for you. I spent a few years learning Arabic in university, to no avail. I've been told by some people that Palestine would be a good place to learn Arabic, presumably because of the dialect. I've no plans to do this any time soon, but I'm just curious, how are you finding language in Palestine?

throwawayforanama2235 karma

Learning Arabic is hard as it so different from english. I think going to any arabic speaking country will help. I'm getting use to it but reading is still hard.

mka342115 karma

Hello! I'm first generation Arab-American. Both of my parents are from Palestinian and my mother, lil brother, and I went to Al-Jib, Palestine, and my family is from there and own most of the farmland there. Al-Jib is like 7 min away from Ramallah but the walls and checkpoints causes it to be 20-40 min drive How long does it take you to go through checkpoints? Also, have you been discriminated for being American alone? I was hollered at bc I was American even though I'm full blooded Palestinian. Also, Mr. Baker has the "best" shawarma but there's one done the street from there that makes their own bread, my god it's amazing and blows Mr. Baker out of the water. Safe travels!

throwawayforanama2219 karma

I haven't had any discrimination for being american and really i've been openly welcomed. And it takes about 5-10 min for us to go thought a checkpoint if they see my mom first

remierk14 karma

what do Palestinians feel would be a viable solution to conflict with Israel? do they want to become citizens of Israel? join a different nation( like Egypt)? have a two state solution (if so what borders)? what do the people think might work?

throwawayforanama2245 karma

It really depends on the person but most want the pre-1967 borders with no settlements and East Jerusalem as there capital.

DayManAWHAHA10 karma

Do you think if you were white would it be different living there? (Serious)

throwawayforanama2213 karma

Not really.

haithy9 karma

Is Rukab icecream shop still around? I was there in 2001 and maaan it was delicious.

throwawayforanama225 karma


DezBryantsMom9 karma

Have you been to Jifnah? It's a small village about 5-10 min out from Ramallah. If so you've been to my hometown.

throwawayforanama2214 karma

No but I'll check it out

1Commentator7 karma

Are the Palestinians comfortable with the fact that they are represented by Hamas or do they just have no one else?

throwawayforanama2214 karma

Yes because for the most part they have no one else. They just feel like no one helping them. The UN doesn't shit done.

jeffrx7 karma

Do you feel generally safe?

throwawayforanama2216 karma

Outside of the checkpoints, very.

icosahedron149125 karma

Given that Ramallah is in the middle of the Levant, have you ever encountered Christian Israelis/Palestinians?

throwawayforanama225 karma

There's a church just up the hill.

puddingmama4 karma

Do they take any issue to your parentage, considering the whole muslim women not meant to marry outside of Islam?

throwawayforanama2215 karma

My dad converted.

hotChuckloffee4 karma

Would you say thay the resentment people feel is towards the governments and politicians involved? How do the common people feel about one another?

throwawayforanama228 karma

Most people are annoyed by how long it taking to get any progress done. Resentment to the PA? Not quite sure.

juicejug3 karma

Could you be more descriptive in your bio? I have a lot of questions!

How old are you now?

Why did you move to Ramallah?

In an ideal scenario, how long would you like to stay there?

Thanks for doing an AMA!

throwawayforanama2216 karma

1.14 2. Mother got a fullbright grant from the U.S to help make a museum. 3. I'm fine losing my freshman year.

craigboyce4 karma

Would like to add question: is op male or female?

throwawayforanama2213 karma


Sonmi-4523 karma

Do people assume you are an Ethiopian Jew at 5 meters distance?

Is your face Arabic-esque, more African, more "American Mixed" (a personal favorite of mine) or Iraqi? Rocking that beard?

Are you religious? Coke or Pepsi (sunni - shiite)?

Do people immediately know you are foreign or do you blend? 1 to 10 on the "foreignness" scale? How do they react to the American part of your identity?

Are you enjoying your time and how are the Palestinian people around you living - are they hopeful, are they angry?

Finally, what is the simplest thing anyone can do to assist or bolster the spirit of these people in their quest to live their daily lives - outside the political and more directly to just normal people there?

throwawayforanama2218 karma

Do people assume you are an Ethiopian Jew at 5 meters distance?

No I'm not that dark

Are you religious? Coke or Pepsi (sunni - shiite)

Yes. Most people here are sunni but I view sunni-shiite fight as the same as fighting over android and ios

Are you enjoying your time and how are the Palestinian people around you living - are they hopeful, are they angry?

I'm having a nice time. Most of the teenagers in my apartment are hopeful for peace.

what is the simplest thing anyone can do to assist or bolster the spirit of these people in their quest to live their daily lives - outside the political and more directly to just normal people there?

I think just by coming here and meeting the locals that always makes them happy.

littlebritches4202 karma

Is there any ongoing violent conflicts in your city? The news in America makes it out to be pretty bad right now in your area but I imagine it may be slightly exaggerated. I guess what I'm trying to ask, is, if there is conflict there is it as bad as it is portrayed in American news? Is it actually better or worse? And thanks ahead of time for answering my question.

throwawayforanama226 karma

Nothing going on here in Ramallah. I do think it being a bit exaggerated but this can turn into a intifada

Calamity581 karma

You ask people not to incite flame wars, but since this an AMA, and you have conveniently gone out of your way to explain why boycotting Israel is a good course of action, I'll go ahead and ask:

Do Hamas' actions seem justified to you?

Why should people believe the word of a 14 year old, who has less experience living in Palestine than an actual Palestinian?

throwawayforanama2218 karma

Didn't really see how that was inciting a flame war other then just answering the question,

Do Hamas' actions seem justified to you?

Ehh. For most of them no. At the same time I can see why people who have live here longer do support them.

Why should people believe the word of a 14 year old, who has less experience living in Palestine than an actual Palestinian?

Because the reason I did this AMA was to talk more about my experience living and adjusting here rather then it to be my life story and my struggle.

PopeAndSnowdenIsGod1 karma

You said you believe in a one-state solution. So I have a few questions for you.

1) Do you recognize Israel's right to exist as a free and democratic Jewish state?

2) With a one state solution, you would have to think that eventually the Muslim population would outnumber the Jewish population and quickly vote into power a government that will incite hate against the Jewish people, do you disagree?

throwawayforanama221 karma

With a one state solution, you would have to think that eventually the Muslim population would outnumber the Jewish population and quickly vote into power a government that will incite hate against the Jewish people, do you disagree?

That is an issuse with the one state solution and honesty I don't have much of a solution other then Israel changing attudes and start helping the arabs

skittles151 karma

Wait? So you're american? Or are you just saying african american and meanin black?

throwawayforanama222 karma

Born in Chicago

skittles151 karma

Ahh gotcha. Why are you there again? Cant think of too many reasons to leave the us for palestine. My apologies if you already answered this

throwawayforanama221 karma

Mother got a fullbright grant from the U.S to help make a museum. Wanted me and my little brother to learn more about my arab side. Get a better idea of the world then the stander dumb teenager. Learn more about islam. And something about eating more lamb. I'm only here for 10 months.

hotChuckloffee1 karma

I would just love to hear an unfiltered impression of what it's like over there. In your opinion whar are the biggest issues? Do you feel they can be meaningfully resolved ar this point in time? I've felt (and this is only my opinion, and I'm entirely prepared to be corrected) that so much anger and hatred has been simmering fo so long that neither party is ready to resolve the issues. Lately, in Canada, I'm seeing a lot more coverage of the Palestinian side of the story. This is a good thing, but I'm suspicious of just how spun both sides of the story are. What are your feelings on this now that you are right in the middle of it?

Thanks foe your time!

throwawayforanama220 karma

Occupation and settlements. That is the cause of just about everything. The Uneployment in areas control by Israel (Area C). Settlers use more energy and water then the entire Arab population in the west bank. If it were to all go away that would take care of half of the issues.

123choji1 karma

What's your favorite book?

throwawayforanama228 karma

Paper Towns by John Green and Sherlock Holmes.

window5-13 karma

Do many Palestinians end up moving to foreign countries? I kind of suspect the Jews of dumping their Palestinian problem on other countries, including the US and Western Europe. But I am not sure of the facts.

throwawayforanama221 karma

Some do but most come back if they can.