Friday, September 23

The Continued "Mid-Night In Jaffa" Saga

Adjami is flooded by police. In their jeeps, vans and on motor cycles, they make a great show of "being present". The roadblocks on Yefet Street have become an almost nightly event. Cars are stopped and searched, people walking in the streets are demanded to show their id card and explain what they are doing, bags are searched etc.

So once more, Abed was returning home from work, early friday morning. Carrying his usual small backpack with notebooks as well as a shopping bag with food, wine, some plates and candles, for today's planned dinner party with close friends.
Along Yefet (Adjami's main street) Abed is stopped once more, by 5 policemen, "yasamnikim" (special forces, in their khaki uniforms) in a jeep. All came out of the jeep and stood around Abed.

"Hi, what do you have in your bag?" "Some wine, notebooks, a shirt". And what do you carry in your shoppingbag? "Food".
"What are you doing here at this time of the night?" "I'm in my way back home from work"? "Where do you work?"
"Your ID please." Abed showed them his ID and they returned it to him, said "Good night" and were about to go.
The officer stood already next to the jeep and was about to go in. Abed said "just a second, i want your names please." The driver, who had been in the jeep all the time answered "Do you want to come with us to the regional police station? Get in the car." Abed answered, "sure no prblem, i don't mind, i'll come with you." None of the policemen nor the officer wore tags as they are supposed to.
The officer came back, as the driver said "He wants details". So the officer said "OK write down" and gave Abed a pen. The officer gave Abed a name: "Toni Boukra", the "mefaked siur" (the officer in command of the recon trip) as well as a number. Yet he did not show his police ID to Abed, so there is no way to know if the details provided were real.
Abed stood on the side in order to write down the number of the jeep. The policemen shouted at him and Abed went on his way direction home..

The number of the jeep: 22-2-53
The number of the Tony Boukra, the officer in command (if that is his real name) : 115337

True, there is a lot of crime in Jaffa. A lot of it poverty and drugs related. And the police do have a task in keeping the streets safe. However, prevention implies first of all fighting poverty, opening up opportunities for young people, stopping discriminination.
True, police street presence is a part of fighting crime. But what is happening today in Jaffa, is more harassment. Moreover, it shows the police don't really have a clue who's behind most of the crimes committed.
Instead the police engage in harassing people on the streets, stopping drivers for minor incidents and mostly small businesses for the grave offence of having one too many chairs on the sidewalk outside of their business. Jaffa's real problems are not taken care of.
But ofcourse it's good for the police efficiency statistics. Also the police spokesman can proudly report "they are doing something in Jaffa."

"The Man" is present, so how come we don't really feel safe?


Anonymous said...

That is an important and a very informative kind of blog. You seem to be a true social activist. it would be swell to meet someone like you and talk about what things should be done in this demented country.

Anonymous said...

ok, um, everyone in this country gets stopped and harrassed going anywhere - not just Arabs - so get over it.

Anonymous said...

the problem is ofcourse when the same person gets stopped and harassed almost each time he dares to be out on the Jaffa streets after 24.00...
(it's a continued saga after all)

also, precisely because so many people get harassed it is time to do something about it