Israel declares that 90 Palestinians from the LGBT community will receive work permits to work in Israel as Palestinian groups seek to stop a gay musician from performing in Ramallah. Palestinian LGBT organizations like Al-Qaws have been outlawed for violating “traditional Palestinian values,” and people continue to be harassed and attacked because of their sexual orientation. In recent years, Palestinian authors have been singled out for writing about LGBT problems.
While another alternative to ensure the safety of these individuals is being explored in the West Bank or in another nation, the Israeli authorities defined the acceptance of LGBT Palestinians as an emergency solution. Eventually, a large number of the Palestinians from this community depart Israel for Canada or Australia, where they are granted refugee status; however, this procedure frequently takes years. It was decided to provide them a work permit because this group is frequently exploited and occasionally found working in the sex trade. These LGBT refugees received temporary residence permits as a result, but they were not permitted to work and were denied access to Israeli healthcare. For those who want asylum in Israel because of their orientation, the Israeli The Aguda even established a separate counter.
It was excruciatingly terrible to keep Bashar Murad from performing in Ramallah. Painful for the LGBT population in Palestine who saw themselves excluded once more as well as for himself because he was boycotted for religious grounds. Yaman Yarrar’s statement that Bashar Murad was planning a party here that day constituted the most threat. Gay person Bashar Murad. It is forbidden for this person to perform at a concert. He does not speak for any of our free people or for us. We’re here to provide you courteous advice. Do not try to outlast our polite conversation with you. Anyone who attempts to undermine our faith will cross a line.
“There is barely any queer representation, especially in the Middle East. Even so, I don’t always want to be labelled as a queer artist or gay Palestinian, because at the end of the day, I’m human.”Bashar Murad
LGBTQ+ life in Palestine
Research by the American research center Pew showed that attitudes towards the LGBT community in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are still lagging behind. While in much of the world over the past decade this attitude has become more tolerant. Their survey found that 93% of Palestinians are “against” homosexuality. This is one of the highest percentages in the world. Homosexuals are also not protected under the laws in the two Palestinian territories. In areas under PA rule, a 10-year prison sentence hangs over your head, while gays in Gaza face the death penalty. LGBT Palestinians have no legal protection against discrimination, are not allowed to adopt children and same-sex marriage is only recognized.
It is not only for individual Palestinians that it is extremely complicated to be who one is. Coming together within this community is also very challenging. For example, in 2019, the Palestinian Authority (PA) banned members of the LGBT community from organizing activities in the West Bank. This ban was a direct result of plans by the group Al-Qaws, which represents sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society, to organize a rally for their members in the Palestinian city of Nablus. PA police spokesman Luay Zreikat said the activities are “harmful to the values and ideals of Palestinian society.” This ban was later withdrawn by the PA, but the signal it sends is crystal clear.
For some people from the LGBT community in the West Bank, the marginalization and oppression is getting so bad that they feel so unsafe that Israel is seen as a safe haven. Israel is currently the only country in the region where you can safely and openly express your orientation or gender identity.