Saturday, January 23, 2010


My daughter was semi-complaining to her friends about Facebook.  It seems she is getting a lot of requests from people with Arabic names who want to befriend her.  Clicking on their names, she sees One Mutual Friend.  Mom.    But she ignores their requests.  The family laughs.   My other daughter is going out with a guy in the police who is attending the demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem to make sure things are not getting out of hand. 

"He better not arrest anyone there." I warned her.   I explained to her what is going on there, because I'm not sure she knows.  A while back, Jewish families moved into the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.  I would generally not have a problem with mixed neighborhoods, myself believing all or most neighborhoods should be mixed.  But trouble is, they evicted the Arab families who had been living there since the 1950s because the homes were Jewish-owned before 1948 and a court ordered that Jews would be allowed in.  That would have been ok, had the original Jewish families moved back in and the Arab families would be allowed to move back into what were their homes pre-1948, which are now in West Jerusalem in a very expensive neighborhood called Talbieh.  Fair is Fair, no?  But this is not the case and the neighborhood is now where weekly demonstrations take place.

And to backtrack just a bit... 

On Thursday we had our interfaith meeting in Abu Dis.  A group of 6 Jews trudged past the large red sign near the entrance to Azariya that says entry to Israelis is forbidden , though I can't figure out the logic of the sign.  Is it a legality that Israelis are forbidden entry to this town?  Because it's not Area A, like the cities of Jericho, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin - which are under complete Palestinian control, unlike Area B, where the Israelis have military control and Areas C, in which Israelis have pretty much all control.  We thought this to be Area B, which means it isn't illegal for Israelis to enter, but it is pretty much discouraged.  The area past this red sign brings one into the third world.  There is garbage on the roads, which are terribly paved, and there is garbage piled high on the sides of the roads.  On one side, we see Arabs burning a fire to keep warm.  Cars and taxis are slowing down to see this strange group of people walking on the side of the road.  We see Abed's car across from the florist and try to cross the street.

"This is just like Cairo" remarks one of us, when it takes ages to run across the road, due to the unruly traffic.  We pile into a van and a car and make our way to Abed's office in Abu Dis. A new group of young men from Nablus join us for the first time.  This is the first time they're in a religious dialogue with Jews and especially with those Jews whom they consider settlers, since we live over the green line.  They seem excited to be with us.  I hope we don't disappoint.  They are accountants, stockbrockers, ministry of education officials, etc.  We talk about Tolerance and respect for others in our religions.  We all are happy to share each other's religious views with the other. 

Afterwards, one of the Nablus guys tell us that he once drove his car with a Palestinian licence plate into Maaleh Adumim.  He didn't get very far.  The soldiers began to freak out (understandably - since this is not the norm) and yell at him - What exactly does he think he's doing???  The Nablus guy says there was no sign saying that his car wasn't allowed into Maaleh Adumim.  It's true.  There's no sign warning Palestinians that they can't drive their cars into our city.  It's supposed to be a known fact, like not driving your car on Yom Kippur.  He's joking around with the soldier, giving him a difficult time.  He's obviously a shit disturber.  The soldier checks his ID and claims the Nablus guy's car is a stolen vehicle.  The paper he gives the Nablus guy says the stolen vehicle is a 1997 Subaru, when in fact the guy is driving a 2009 Kia.  They confiscate the car until the soldier's superior comes by or was it the police?  I'm not completely sure, but the superior rechecks and the car the Nablus guy is driving seems to be fine.  The car is given back and Mr. Shit Disturber who wanted to drive into my town but couldn't, is sent back home.

On the way back from Abu Dis, our host is telling us that Israeli finally gave the OK - after many years of waiting -  to pave the main road in Azariya.  I am so happy.  This is surely a good sign.

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