Friends of mine, who live at Jaffa's "Arab Housing Estate" also known all over Jaffa as the "shikunat", the jungle or the zoo, invited me to share the iftar dinner. We just sat down when the door was opened by a very scared young guy. "There's police downstairs, can i come in?". Sure, sit down, join us for iftar."
A few seconds after, loud knocks on the door. "Open up, police". Three policemen, hands on their loaded semi-automatic rifles stand in the doorway. "Show us your ID's".
X. who opened the door, shows her ID and that of her husband. The large family with many friends, the older daughter's husband and young child all sit around the table and watch the policemen, their hands on the triggers of their guns. "Do you live here?" they ask. Strange question, the family sitting around the dinner table makes it rather obvious.
They leave for the neighbours' door. Nobody home there, but the door is open, so they just go in and leave with the motor helmets they found inside.
The police are all over the neighbourhood and on the roofs of the buildings and stay there for a long time. We all stay inside, although normally we would have gone outside after dinner to enjoy the cool evening air.
My friend is worried about her teenage son. In situations like these young guys can be arrested "just for being there".
The young guy sat with us and we talked. He is just a regular kid, but he knows the "rules". In this area you can get arrested for anything.
Jaffa, Ramadan 2009