Sunday, October 29

Kafr Kasem, 50 years ago, 47 dead

Fifty years ago 47 people, among them many children, were murdered in cold blood by Israeli border police in Kafr Kasem.

It was the eve of the Sinai War and a night curfew was called at 17.00 inIsrael's Palestinian villages who at the time lived under very limted military government restrictions.
Many of them were working in the fields when the curfew was called and did not know about it.
Upon their return to the vilage they were made to stand in a row and shot in cold blood, forty seven men women (some of them visibly pregnant) and children, one group after the other.

The horrid was kept silent for a few days, until Mapam's leader sent Latif Dori to investigate. Dori spoke to the villagers and to some of the wounded survivors who were in hospital. The story was out and the guiltyborder police were brought in front of a judge.
The "i acted upon orders" was not accepted by the judges, who had the courage to compare the horrid crime to what the nazis had done.
As a result the concept of an "illegal order" above which a black flag is raised (פקודה בלתי חוקית) was defined: there are orders which soldiers are not allowed to follow as they are inherently illegal.
Shamefully enough, the guilty borderpolice men were released from jail a short while after being sent to it, as they received a pardon.

Forty seven innocent citizens of the state of Israel were killed, because they did not know a curfew had been called.

Lieberman is joining the Israeli government. Are we returning to the days of Kafr Kasem?

The amazing thing is that today the memorial is mentioned in the radio news in the following way (i don't have a TV, so i have no idea what is being said on TV):
"Today the Israeli Arab sector remembers the 47 dead of Kafr Kasem".

I am happy it is mentioned, as for many years no one related to it on the general news, but why "the Israeli Arab sector?
ALL of us should remember Kafr Kasem
All of us should remember its 47 dead
47 Children, women and men, murdered in cold blood, because they returned from their fields not knowing there was a curfew, because someone gave an order and others followed that order.

Life is sacred, the order to kill is illegal.

Saturday, October 28

The beach? Well, it's gone, sort of

Over night a large stretch of Jaffa beach has simply disappeared. Gone, an ex-beach.

May i introduce to you: About 15 M wide and at places more than 75 cm deep, Jaffa's latest sewer.

A few year ago a strange little building was contructed at the southern end of the Al Ajami beach, just below the ancient Muslim cemetary. During the sumer it looks somewhat strange, out of place.
During the winter its function became clear:
It's nothing but a huge sewer, supposedly providing drainage to the always flooded area (after the torrential winter rains) of "Pardes Dakeh" and other low laying areas in Jaffa and south Tel Aviv.
But this is not surplus rrain water, we are talking about, by smell and look, it's raw sewage, coming from "somewhere".
Last year, it produced a small stream, deep, a little disgusting, but something you could simply jump over on your beach walks.
This year the situation is completely different. The strong current has taken away a huge stretch of beach: instead we have a river of smelly black debris-flooded water.
The waves carry the debris back to the beach, so all of our beach is littered with an assorted amount of what, in order not to completely gross out my four steady readers, i will call "garbage" (the understatement of the century, if you like).
I suspect someone in the municipality or at the "Shafdan" sewage plant decided to pull a few switches in order to releave the presssure here or there elsewhere, up north, thinking ofcourse that "well, the shit flows to Jaffa, so who cares, nobody will notice it anyway".

It took away a big stretch of beach and the southern part of our beach can only be reached by climbing over slippery rocks, as crossing the 75cm deep, 15 mr wide shitcreek is not something one likes ot consider.

Even in rainy weather like this, there always are some swimmers, surfers and beach walkers, who come day in day out, unable to do without the sea.
We just stood there, in shock.
No one even thought about going into the water.

Raining, it's raining

Why does rain always take us by "surprise"?

Streets flooded because the drainage-system is clogged somewhere, traffic lights failing, people triple parking thereby blocking the street, because they do not want to walk too far and get wet etc.

Tel Aviv has been covered by asfalt and concrete, rain water can no longer be absorbed by the earth, as is the natural course of things.

Rainwater is not gathered anywhere, although it might be a great solution to save it in this very dry country.

It appears the municipality nor anybody else really take responsibility for this kind of problems.

Roads are washed away, their pavements simply taken apart.
The same thing happens every year.
So are we just plain stupid (by refusing to learn from experience) or do we always think it is not our responsibility, someone in another depratment of the municipality, ma'atz or whever should take care of the problem.

Tuesday, October 24

No shit,... well, actually, a lot of it

The brilliant minds of the ministry of transportation have done it again.

The Ayalon river (that's the stinking little stream in the middle of the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv) is to be turned into a railway, to cater to the increased train traffic coming in from Lod.

Wonderful, public transport is green and i am all in favor of good public transport, but...

Guess what they want to do with the stinking waters of the Ayalon river (that is, the stinking filthy, horrid sewer aka "Nahal Ayalaon")?

You guessed it, it will be diverted to Jaffa, to our wonderful Ajami beach, where it will quietly flow into the meditarranean where its odorous waters will kill off the bathers and the fish.

NO NO NO, not in my backyard and not on my beach either! We have enough nimby's in Jaffa and south Tel Aviv.

Ecology is a matter of social justice.
They want to improve traffic from Lod? Fine. They want to divert the Ayalon river? What will it do to the ecological system of its natural course?
Or maybe clean it up?
Why to Jaffa?
Why not, let's say , to Rishon leZion? To Bat Yam? Ah, because the Rishon & Bat Yam people don't like it? It will do damage to their beach? It will affect the value of their housing? Surprise surprise, we in Jaffa don't like it either.

We have a small, but lovely, beach. We like to swim, to surf, to bath, to fish, to walk & to jog, to picknick, to dance and do capoeira on our beach. We do NOT like bad smells, poisonous water, filth, mud and sewage. And dead fish stink.

Don't even think of it, we will fight you, this means WAR

Sunday, October 22

Id El Fitr

Happy Id!
The end of Ramadan has arrived and with it the festival of Id ElFitr.
Although quite late already, everybody is out on the streets. Neighbors talking to each other , offering each other sweets, cars with louder-than-ever loudspeakers playing Haifa's latest hit, the religious Muslims or the "peleg dromi" in a spontaneous street parade shouting "Allah HuAkbar" and shooting firecrackers.
And not even one border police jeep!

All the girls wear their newly bought clothes, They walk around on their new shoes, slowly, they hurt quite badly, as newly bought shoes tend to do.
The hairdressers and beauty parlors are open till 24.00 at night to cater to their waiting guests.

Happy IdElFitr!

Saturday, October 21

Raining? KREMBO time!

At night it is getting a little cold, the wind coming in from the sea blows away my Japanese paper lampshade. Time to start looking for a light blanket, time to pick olives, time to admire the hatzav flowers, time to drink hot tea & look for shoes instead of sandals, time to plan a walk in the south, soon it will be green in the desert and yes, time for a K R E M B O

Friday, October 20

Paul Celan buried in Jaffa

"Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at midday and morning we drink you at evening
we drink and we drink
a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margeurite
your aschenes Haar Shulamith he plays with his vipers
He shouts play death more sweetly Death is a master from Deutschland
he shouts scrape your strings darker you'll rise then in smoke to the sky
you'll have a grave then in the clouds there you won't lie too cramped"
Paul Celan, from "Death Fugue"

Jaffa has many numbered streets, nameless alleys usually, known to their inhabitants only by a number, usually three thousand four hundred and something.
Evey now and then, a municipal committee meets to name new streets. There are long waiting lists of recently and not so recently dead people whose names will, once upon a time, become someone's address.
In Jaffa, in Al Ajami especially, we have streets named after rabbis, histadrout (the labor federation) officials, zionist leaders and what not. What not? "Who not", you mean to say.

In Al Ajami specially and Jaffa in general, there are 3 streets named after Arab people: Jaffa's last Palestinian mayor, Abed el Raouf Al Bitar, George Nasar, a histadrut official (seen by many as a yesman for the establishment (in less nice terms, a "mashtap") and then , finally, a small street named after Abed elGhani, a Palestinian man from Jaffa, who died while trying to save the lives of a group of Jewish teenagers who were attacked by a knife wielding terrorist some years ago.

All recent street names have been dedicated to people who had little or nothing to do with Jaffa.
Once, while walking around in my area, i was questioned by a family of very "zfonni" north Tel Avivians about "the quality of my neighborhood".
The municipality had suggested to them they would name a street after their dear dead (who had been a conductor or composer), and the family had come to check it out, prior to giving their OK. I had a great time showing them around and making them listen to the truly wonderful music by Om Kalthoum coming from the windows of what is now MY appartment, but was then lived in by a young man who loved to listen to her at full volume. They decided the area wasn't good enough.

Why can't there be a street named after Om Kalthoum (who performed twice in Jaffa, prior to 1948) or Abed elWahab, or Farid El Atrash or perhaps...
And if these are problematic, then what about Emile Habibi, writer and recipient of the Israel Prize for literature and ex-member of the knesset? It would be nice if streetnames reflected Jaffa's cultural diversity.

Most streets in Tel Aviv have names, so whenever the naming committee meets, they really deal only with south Tel Aviv and Jaffa, where there are still some numbered streets. The policy of naming streets after people who had no connection to Jaffa, nor cultural relevance for Jaffaites and whose names can often not even be expressed properly by Jaffa's residents is bothersome. The lack of Palestinian names reeks of discrimination. So does the lack of female names. I read in one of our local rags that only about 8% of Tel Aviv's streets have been named after women.
Sometimes the streets had names already, and these are simply wiped out, replaced, thereby replacing pieces of history and wiping out peices of national identity and culture (e.g. renaming Boustrous street as Raziel Street).

But sometimes, in spite of above mentioned criticism, i'm happy with some of the names. A street named after Israeli poetess Yona Wollach or after the German-writing Romanian Jewish poet Paul Celan are a reason for pleasure.
They are not third league local politicians, but people who truly left a cultural mark.

Yet when looking at WHERE those streets are actually located, and checking if they really are streets.... i feel Paul Celan has been buried once more, symbolically, painfully.
The exit of the parking lot at the "Panorama Building" (a large "small industry" complex located next to the Abu Kabir jail, is that the view indicated by its name "Panorama"?) is NOT a street, and to name it after the writer of "Death Fugue" is truly like a cultural burial.

In the city of property developers and construction tycoons, poetry no longer has a place.

Thursday, October 19

The Godfather of all Cats - Cats of Jaffa, Part 2

Once upon a time, there was a market in Ajami in Jaffa. Actually, there were quite a few markets but over time they were closed, usually not in a peaceful way. The last remaining true market, was closed and then destroyed by the municipality about one year ago.

There is ofcourse that 'thing" called "flea market", which IS fun, but it's for tourists from north Tel Aviv and beyond. (Although historically speaking, it was "souk a'dir", the "monastry's market", which was a meat market, before 1948). Most of Jaffa's residents do not frequent the fleamarket that much, although quite a few are employed in it. Many of today's business owners do not live in Jaffa.

The Ajami market was also known as "souk al yehud" or "shouk ha'etrog" (the Jewish market or the Etrog Market). It was a wonderful market, selling mostly fruit and vegetables, fresh green herbs, pots & pans, shoes, sweets, pulses, nuts and then there was a tiny stall where a very old peasant woman sold eggs. People came from all over Jaffa, Tel Aviv as well as Bat Yam to buy whatever they needed. The big busy market day was friday morning.
Good produce, great prices and a wonderful atmosphere were all part of what makes a market a good market.
But in Jaffa, as always in Jaffa, there are other interests, and property developers put their interest on the market area, a large piece of land, between Yefet street and the sea, close to the "Al Rahim" house (today the French embassy) and the Arab Jewish Community Center, in short, prime proerty in gentrifying Jaffa.

In Jaffa the saying goes, Daoud Tufah (for the Arabic challenged: Dudi Apel, a rich fatcat with, so they say, mafia connections, i have no idea what's true and what isn't) bought the land in order to construct a shopping center and housing for the wealthy.
Threats, bribes and judicial orders killed our market.The market stalls were destroyed using big yellow bulldozers, lots of security guards and some police men. Then the municipality planted fully grown olive trees (where did those come from? Who uprooted them and why?) in order to prevent construction by anyone else but the new owners of the land.

The market stall owners dispersed, some of them opening small stores along Yefet street (Gabriel's vegetable store, the chocolate & sweet store opposite Cafe Paul, to mention a few), others took their produce to the streets, by means of horse drawn carts).

The products at the stores are more expensive than those at the market. Jaffa's elderly and more now take bus nr. 10 to the Carmel market or nr.46 to the area of the old central bus station, where fruit and vegetables are cheap. Indeed some of the old market employees are employed in this area today, receving a msall salary for the work they once did as owners of their own little business.

Yet the REAL owners of the Ajami shouk are still there: the fatcat-lead bunch of wild cats living of the big green garbage container close to the well known "Abu Hilwe" butchery and "Marwan's" restaurant. Two businesses, located in Mendes France street, once gracing our market's main entry.
Being a vegatarian, i don't exactly frequent either store, but my friends say the quality of the produce is as excellent as once the fruit and vegetables sold on our market.
The cats are led by a slow moving extremely strong menacing monster, shown on above picture.
No, these cats do not have names. They are wild and defend their territory by all available means and in Jaffa that means anything, a lot, mean, fierce, "fair game" is for pussies.

Quite clearly they are on the Abu Hilwe and Marwan payroll. As their green container headquarter's located quite close to the home for the elderly (the ugliest building on Yefet, the high pink appartment tower), there apears to exist a strange agreement between one of the elderly Russian speaking ladies and the cat leadership. She provides water on hot days, the stalinesque cat leader allows her to stroke his head a few strokes at the time.

But then, when you are the true leader, you can allow yourself an indulgence now and then.

Sunday, October 15

Another man killed by the border police in south Tel Aviv

Friday night a man in his forties, from Bat Yam, who was riding his bike along Kibutz Galuyot close to the corner with Abulafia street in south Tel Aviv ( a road connecting between Jaffa and Tel Aviv), was killed in an accident.
A border police jeep drove into his bicycle. The man was riding his bike close to the side of the road. He died from his wounds while the ambulance people were treating him, before he had been brought ot the hospital.

The accident is being investigated as it is unclear how it happened. It appears there was no problem from the side of the cyclist.

Another question that should be asked: what is the border police doing in South Tel Aviv

And yet another question: why are the police investigating the police?

Saturday, October 14

Another shooting incident in Jaffa.

OK,. so once more, these were not Ramadan firecrackers we heard, but "the real thing".

Last night a man from the "Al Ajami" neighborhood in Jaffa was "lightly" wounded by gun shots (4 bullets into his legs), shot at him, apparently in the area of his home. Or so the story goes.

He was treated in nearby "Wolfson" hospital, who called in the police as they are supposed to by law.

As usual. nobody saw a thing, somebody heard the shots, but nobody talks

More details to follow, perhaps.

Police Violence in Jaffa, the Sequel

Friday late afternoon, the muezzin makes his long prayer call at the end to of the daily Ramadan fast.
Walking with a friend, in the area between Hassan Arafe school and the new construction site behind the harbor, west of Kedem street:
Four uniformed policemen (well three men and a police woman) were trying to arrest someone who had gotten out of a car.

People came out of the nearby house and another car. A discussion quickly develops into a fight of sorts, where the bystanders try to pull the arrestee out of the hands of the police, NOT attacking the police.

One of the police men tears of the hijab ( traditional headcover) of a religious Muslim woman, who was standing on the side. She was arguing, but not involved physically in the fight from where i could see it..
The situation escalated quickly. The police were calling in more forces, while the guy they tried to arrest managed to get away, leaving the police with only his shirt in their hands, jumping into a quickly disapparearing white car.

Many other police cars with blaring sirens started arriving from all directions within seconds, which suggest they must have been in the area already. Most of them driving very quickly, against the officially allowed traffic direction.

In the mean time the police arrested another guy, just for being on the scene.

A feeling of frustration in the air, of anger.

This is not going to end well.

And if you read Hebrew, this is the police version of the events. Six policemen? I saw only 4, unless ofcourse you count the numerous police cars arriving later. Police were lightly wounded? I was present and saw it with my own eyes. I did NOT see any police getting wounded.

Wednesday, October 11

Jaffa by bike

My few usual readers will know my 2 previous bikes were stolen but, YES, today i bought a brand new, beautiful, shiny, red bike.

I intended to buy a 2nd hand one, but got a great deal on a brand new bike instead.

Happy with my very new bike, i took it to Jerusalem Boulevard, which (in the days of my previous stolen bikes and before the Elevated-Big-Shit-Pipe era) used to have an "official bike path" right in the middle, safely between the lovely high shade providing trees and away from Dan bus drivers and other maniacs.

No longer so. Why? Hell (and Ron Hulday, the mayor) knows. It's gone, no more, an ex-bike path.

So i checked my brand new municipal "bike path map" and indeed: no more bike path in Jaffa.
The existing bike path stops just before entering Jaffa. The municipality proudly presented its "bike friendly policy" and stated they added many km's of bikepath, but in Jaffa they took them away.


No idea.

So all we have is an ex-bike path.
Now i just hope and pray my brandnewredshinywonderful bike will not quickly become another ex-bike.

Tuesday, October 10

Ghost of a bike

Officially the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality claims to have a "pro bike" ideology and not for the first time they have organized a bike festival of sorts at the "sporteque" in north Tel Aviv. They also prepared a special "bike routes map" of Tel Aviv which, wonder of wonder, is being handed out for free.

But that is, so it seems, as far as they will go.

Biking is healthy, cheap, no problem with traffic jams and until recently, no parking problems either.
(That is, no problem to find a parking space, there is always a lamp post, a tree or some other piece of "street furniture" to which to connect your bike with a heavy chain lock, but when those are lacking you stand a fair chance to loose your bike to one of the many thieves. UNTIL NOW...

Yediot reported today that the Tel Aviv municipality has started to tow away bikes!!
They send a "pakah", a sort of municipal policeman with a big cutter, to cut through the lock and then a tow car comes to pick up the bike and tow it somewhere.

In order to get your bike back, you have to pay a fine (for obstructing the public space or some sort of offence like that.)
To the best of my knowledge there is no accepted & legal traffic sign stating you may not park you bike somewhere.
There are not enough bike park "thingies" in the city (in Jaffa there are none) so what are you supposed to do?

Don't these municipal police have something else to do?

And if you find your bike stolen, should you assume it stolen by the municipal police?
How can you prove your bike is yours by the way?


Monday, October 9

Citizens against the border police

Rosa (the woman in the image), in her seventies, was among the 45 - 50 people who turned up to protest against the border police presence in south Tel Aviv and Jaffa.
Rosa, a holocaust survivor, feels the heavily armed border police behavior in her neighborhood is threatening. "It reminds me of the terrible days in Europe, when I was a young woman", she said.

Another woman who participated in the demontration, was Shoshi in her forties. Shoshi grew up in Florentin. She is happy with the way the neighborhood improved, "the little cafes and many stores, the young people who moved in, yet the border police presence cancels all these positive developments", so she said.
Her sons are scared of the border police, after they saw how they beat a woman, who was laying on the floor.
Her 14-year old daughter came downstairs one morning, to throw out the garbage.
She was met in the staircase by some border police who asked her "how much she charges for having sex with them" (and that's a very polite translation of the actual words used). "Since then", so Shoshi told me, her daughter no longer goes downstairs on her own".
The young girl said, "if they had been boys from my school or from the neighborhood, i would have beaten them up, but these guys were armed, and i was very scared, so i just ran back home."
People in Florentin, a south Tel Aviv neighborhood, are fed up with the border police presence in their streets.
A few people from Jaffa joined in the demo, among them Kamal Agbariye, the Al Ajami neighborhood council chairman, but most were too scared.
The police brought their photographers with them who made a video of all participants. People in Jaffa are scared they will take it out upon them.

Another woman carried a shield stating "The border police creates a border between south and north Tel Aviv. In north Tel Aviv the wealthy live, in south Tel Aviv the weakened and the poorer people.

Towards the end of the demo, the participants tried to make a protest march as a group, to take the demo one step fruther. Suddenly a large number of police men - yasamnikim, special units -, who had been standing with regular clothes covernig their police t-shirts in the area, stopped the march and threatened with violence.

As there was a neighborhood and community day in the closeby "Druyanov" garden, that's where most of the young participants went, after the demo.

Sunday, October 8

Back to work at the garbage hill

Finally, after a fairly long break, they went back to work at Jaffa's "Garbage Hill", one more stage in turning the worst eyesore in Jaffa into a beach park, serving all its citizens.

The work on the park, which by some Israeli architects has been defined as the most important architectural project for the year 2007, was stopped some time ago, due to, so they say, misunderstandings between the municipality and the contractor.

Once the hill, the mountain really, was sea. Then they started throwing building rubbish into the sea, until it grew into a monster mountain, devouring both the beach and the sea, with its natural ancient riff.
The idea was to build villas for the wealthy on top of it, however a lawsuit stopped them from doing so. Besides, the rubble had been thrown in so quickly, the mountain was unstable and not fit for construction.
Following the lawsuit, it is supposed to become a park. Jaffa has less than 50% of all the greenspaces in Tel Aviv (in comparison with other neighborhods, according to a research carried out by the society for the protection of nature and the "greens").

A huge truck was spraying water over the dust paths. For weeks now houses in the area have been covered with a fine layer of dust that gets into everything. Dust blown in from the meters high dustmountains left behind by the huge stone grinding machines.

While walking on the mountain i noticed many small pieces of asbestos. Hell knows what the dust blowing into hour homes contains. Perhaps it is better not to know.
At least when it is wet and muddy, the wind cannot disperse it so easily.

GivatHaZevel, the Rubbish Mountain
Jan 9, 2005 - 37 Photos

Saturday, October 7

Demonstration: NO to the border police in South Tel Aviv and Jaffa

Over the last few months the ever growing border-police (mishmar hagvul) presence in Jaffa and south Tel Aviv has lead to a huge increase in police violence and harassment, culminating in last week's murder by the police of Iyad Abu Aya, a young Palestinian man from Tarkumiya (who worked in construction without the necessary permits, in order to provide for his pregnant wife).
Iyad Abu Aya was first beaten up, then forced to lay down in a bathtub at the house construction site where he both worked and slept during the night, and shot by a 19 year old unnamed border police man, who initially claimed he had been attacked by Abu Iyad, a claim found to be false. There were witnesses, who were courageous enough to testify.

We have had enough!
Get the border police out of Jaffa and South Tel Aviv!

The demonstration will take place this monday, October the 9th at 14.00 o'clock in Washington Street, Florentin Neighborhood

In memory of a legendary bus driver

When i first moved into the square in which i live up to this day, i was welcomed by Mr. Kaboub.

Always dressed immaculately in a light coloured suit and tie (very rare in this place), his hair perfectly coiffed and small moustache expertly waxed, sitting on his small street level porch with his favorite reading material, the Kur'an, on a special wooden stand. A smile, a wave of the hand and "S'bah elhir".

His devout wife, a refugee from Nablous with Jaffa-roots, is a daughter of the ElRahim family, always caring for him and pampering him at all hours of the day.

Mr. Kaboub was a bus driver with the "Dan" public transport cooperative and its first Palestinian member. Driving along Yefet street on his regular route for more than 40 years, he was known by all in Jaffa.

Mr. Kaboub was also an honorary citizen of the Tel Aviv - Yafo (Jaffa) municipality and he loved showing me the framed photograph of the ceremony , when the mayor hands him the certificate.
I am aware some people didn't appreciate him for various reasons, however, to me he was always "the friendly man on the corner", a smile, a greeting, a wave. Serene while reading his Ku'ran.

He suddenly passed away last thursday.

Jaffa Cat Gangs and Their Territories

Jaffa's cats are a breed apart, that is, the street cats. Not the pampered domestic creatures trying to pass as true felines. Affected actors, that's what they are. (and, to quote our friend A, a fairly well known movie & TV director, "being an actor is not a profession, it's a mental problem")
It's the true leaders of the street., i am talking about: mean, fierce and afraid of nothing.
Al Ajami has various cat territories, well defined and defended by the leading gangs occupying them.
Military language you think? Well yes, nothing else fits them (except for perhaps the scientific mumbo jumbo of the criminological creed).
Not unlike our human gangs, the street cats know their place: right at the top of the food chain.
For starters of my planned weekly series, i am presenting this seemingly cute creature.
As the my 4 regular readers of this blog are not all from Jaffa, and perhaps quite unfamiliar with our specific wildlife form of mutant power tigers, i'll start with the less menacing ones, not to scare you away.
Name: r u joking? Names r 4 home-hussies
Territory: the cat garden in Rabbi Hananina street, behind the "Freres" school.
Age: still quite young, but as most street cats die very young, this one is a survivor.
Character: mean (i know , i know, it looks nice & cuddly, but i also saw it when a strange cat had the audicity to enter the Hanina cat garden)
Preferred food: mice, rats, food left by cat loving residents of the street (or maybe that's protection money, you do NOT want to mess with the tigers of the cat garden, this is Jaffa after all).
Conspiracy suspicion: Rabbi Hanina street is one of Jaffa's wealthiest streets, preferred by new migrants from France and wealthy Jewish residents (originally from north Tel Aviv), who love the romanticism of Jaffa. In short, a pretty street inhabited by the wealthy,. who go for the "authentic but lite" version of Jaffa, "Jaffa diet" so to say, and a great favorite with Jaffa's thieves. Are the cats the informers? Are they on the payroll of the thieves?
Nah, they are on both sides' payrolls, so they are quite well fed and even have their own statue in the form of a cat-fountain right in the middle of cat garden.

Friday, October 6

And in the meantime the gangs are also waking up

Yesterday some of my best friends were enjoying their late afternoon and after work coffee, around 5 o'clock.
They heard a few fairly loud bangs, but it's Ramadan, and kids are shooting fire crackers all day long.
Then, a guy came running by, very quickly, fear on his face. Another guy was running after him, holding a hand gun and shooting (and missing) the first guy.
It happened quickly, 17.00 o'clock, Yefet Street, Jaffa.

Thursday, October 5

Iyad Abu Aya murdered by the police, policing the police

The man killed yesterday by the border police in Jaffa was 29 year old Iyad Abu Aya, a construction worker (illegally) employed in a project in Jaffa's fleamarket area. Iyad Abu Aya will be buried today in Tarkumiya, his home village in the occupied West Bank.

Initially the police claimed Abu Ayad tried to rob the police man from his gun and to escape. This story has been found untrue by Mahash (as stated in yesterday's post, "mahash is the Ministry of Justice's department responsible for investigating complaints about illegal police behavior, the "police's police", so to say). The policeman responsible has been put under house arrest.
This much was known already yesterday evening.

It is interesting to see how Israeli newspapers and news websites follow the case.
Ha'aretz' Hebrew print edition carries the story on its front page with the header "Police claim challenged" and reporters put it in the wider context of "the easy finger on the trigger" when the Israeli police encounter Palestinians.
Yediot (ynet) do not bother to rectify the story and keep claiming the man tried to grab the gun.

The International Middle East Media Center provide a different name , Tawfiq, for the victim, and provide a short account.

The Jerusalem Post, Israel's leading English language newspaper, tells the details of the story without mentioning the victims name. Eye and ear witnesses forced the police to investigate and the 19 year old police man broke under the investigation and admitted his crime.

Even ultra right-wing "Arutz Sheva" points out the Palestinian man was shot by the police for no reason at all.

The Arab English language news source "Al Bawaba" carries the story in an interesting way, as it misquotes Ha'aretz, putting it in the context of Hamas killings by Israel in the occupied territories.

Wednesday, October 4

Police Violence in Jaffa: Deadly Results

This morning a Palestinian man was murdered by the police in Jaffa's "Fleamarket" area.

The police are always on the look-out for "illegal aliens", Palestinians coming to work in Jaffa, in order to provide for their families. Usually without a permit, as it is impossible to get these permits these days. Many of them, have been coming for years, working for the same employers, in the same area, nice friendly courteous people, simply trying to provide for their impoverished families.
Especially since the construction of "the Wall" and the closures and checkpoints in the occupied territories, it is difficult to get into Israel, so once you get in, you stay there. The economic situation in the occupied territories is such that poverty and lack of basic food stuffs, force people into becoming "illegal workers", permission-less employees, working very hard, to provide for their families.
They live in small rooms, storage facilities, on roof tops, the beach, wherever they can find a place to lay down their tired heads after a long and tiring day of work.

They are literally chased as "wild life"by the police and when caught, if lucky, they are thrown over the border, yet in many cases they go to prison for 6 months, for the horrible "crime" of trying to provide for their families.

Today it ended in a different way: A Palestinian man was simply shot by the policeman who wanted to arrest him.
At first the police told he tried to steal their gun, a story found to be untrue.
Another victim of ruthless police violence in Jaffa.

Police harassment and violence have reached a new peak in Jaffa, yet there is nothign surprising about it. So many people i know have been harassed, abused ,degraded.
And they are scared to complain, as the harassment may become worse, or they may be arrested for some cooked up complaints, as happened to friends.

People have become scared of the police. Men, because they harass them, women, because they are sexually harrassed while walking on the streets.
Trusting the police? There ain't such a thing, in Jaffa.