Through two arches on a narrow alleyway in Jerusalemís Old City, close to complex containing the al-Aqsa mosque and the Jewish Western Wall, are a tight cluster of stone dwellings known as the African Quarter. (Text and pictures by Heather Sharp)
The areaís inhabitants are Muslim and describe themselves as both African and Palestinian. Most of their ancestors came from Sudan, Nigeria, Chad and Senegal on pilgrimages and stayed on in the Holy City.
Suleiman Abdul Jalil Idriss lives in one of the houses crammed into the courtyards of two buildings thought to date from the 13th Century. They housed Africans under the Ottomans, became a prison under the British, and are now home to Africans again.
Mr Idriss's father came from Chad in the 1930s and married a Palestinian woman. Some of those who came wanted to "defend the Muslim holy places", the residents say, including some who arrived with British troops during the mandate but then defected.
Mr Idrissís son Abu Khalil, 30, is one of several African-Palestinians who have served time in Israeli prisons for activities during the first Palestinian uprising. Mr Khalil spent four years in prison, he says for throwing stones during protests.
Zohra al-Qadi is over 70, but is not sure how old she is, because detailed records were not kept. Her father and husband both came from Nigeria "to practice religion". She was born in Jerusalem and loves living in the city "because it's holy".
"I was born here, so I have to be Palestinian. I have never seen Nigeria Ė though I might one day, inshallah [God willing]," Mrs Qadi says, cradling one of her grandchildren.
Mahmoud Salamatís father came from Chad at the end of the 19th Century. He used to support Palestinian violence and served 18 years in an Israeli jail, but now wants peace through dialogue: "The whole world for me is not worth a drop of human blood."
Mr Salamat's relatives still live in the room where he lived as a child with his parents and five siblings. He says his Palestinian wife's family did not initially want their daughter to marry a black man, but they grew to accept and love him.
The African-descended community complains of similar problems to those facing other Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem - difficulty travelling to the West Bank, problems getting building permits and under-investment in education and healthcare.
There is some prejudice. Mrs Qadi complains some Palestinians call dark-skinned people "slave, slave". "They don't use the proper language," she says.
Mr Salamat says there can be racism, "but it's not policy or ideology, just ignorance". Generally, he says, the community has good relations with wider Palestinian society.
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