Palestinian in Jerusalem refuses to sell his café to Israel for $31 million

Palestinian in Jerusalem refuses to sell his café to Israel for $31 million
For many years, Emad Abu Khadija, a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem, has shrugged off attempts to buy his small cafe by the Israeli authorities or settlers despite their huge financial offer.
2 min read
26 April, 2022
For many years, Emad Abu Khadija, a Palestinian residing in Jerusalem, has refused various offers by Israeli authorities and settlers to buy his small café. [Getty]

Emad Abu Khadija, a Palestinian resident in Jerusalem, has refused to sell his small cafe to Israeli authorities or settlers despite the huge financial offer amounting to around $US 31 million.

The café is located on Bab al-Silsila Street, opposite a road leading to the Al-Buraq Wall, which Israel seized in 1967 and renamed "the Western Wall", and only 30 meters away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

"I inherited this café from my father and grandfather, who have owned it for 80 years," the 62-year-old father of two told The New Arab, adding that its stones were built of Roman-Byzantine stone and is more than 2,000 years old.

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"The Israelis want to buy this café in order to get rid of everything that is Palestinian in Jerusalem to Judaise Jerusalem," the elderly man said while sitting inside his cafe. 

Israeli authorities and the private individuals have attempted to buy Abu Khadija's café by first offering $US 24 million, then $US 30 million, and the latest sum offered is $US 31 million, according to the owner, adding that he rejected all these offers.

Abu Khadija says he refuses to sell the café for two reasons: the first, is the presence of seven tunnels under his cafe that lead to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Buraq Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Bab Al-Amoud; the secondly, he believes that Jerusalem in particular and Palestine, in general, is an Islamic endowment land that should not be neglected.

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Abu Khadija faces continuous provocative actions by the Israeli authorities to seize his cafe that includes sporadic arrests of him and his sons which closes the cafe for a long periods of time.

Moreover, the Israeli authorities continue to impose taxes on Abu Khadija, which doubled his debts to the institutions of the various Israeli authorities.

"Unfortunately, I live with constant anxiety for fear of losing my café," the elderly man said, emotion cracking his voice. " Every day, I sell tea, coffee, and juices in my shop, and earn about $US 40. But it is not enough to support my family or pay the taxes imposed on me."

Abu Khadija concluded his comments by calling on the international and Arab community to stand by Palestinians in Jerusalem and not to leave them alone in their struggle against Israel's attempts to empty the Old City of its original inhabitants.