Thursday, October 29

More home demolitions in Jaffa

Yesterday the municipality demolished the home of the Sakhafi family in Donolo HaRofe Street in Ajami. The Sakhafi's, who have several young children, are out in the rainy streets. Another demolition, planned for today was diverted at the very last moment, thanks to  Rasha Asaf, the lawyer of the popular committee and Omar Siksik of the Jaffa list. However, were are only talking about a postponement of the verdict, as there will be a court-case on November the 6th.
It appears the municipality is going back to its bad old ways. The Sakhafi's intend to build a tent at the site of where their home used to be.

Updates to come.

Monday, October 26

Sweet Threats?

Last friday night shooting was heard all over the "GanTamar" area of Jaffa, to be followed on saturday night by a very loud explosion on Yefet Street. A handgrenade exploded right next the popular "Moutran Sweets Shop and Cafe", after closing hours. No one was hurt, but the warning is obvious.
A police car was parked next to the store almost all day yesterday, but  today things appear to be "normal".
Ofcourse it might also have been thrown at next door "Video Alpha", Jaffa's main bootlegger and absolute ruler of the areal bootleg DVD market.

Moutran is rather expensive and the quality of the sweets they sell doesn't come close to that of the original Nazareth branch of the same name and much fame. The quality of the Jaffa branch coffee is low and that's an understatement. Their coffee  ranks deep below that of the coffee machine at the legal aid office in Tel Aviv and i always thought one could go no lower. I can very well understand one not liking the coffee and sweets, but throwing a grenade is not an accepted form of restaurant criticism.

There appears to be a surge in street violence right now, although i have no idea if there is a connection between the events.

Many of last week's drug-bust arrestees are still under arrest, which may well mean a power struggle's under development in the "market", a vacuum never lasts long.

Monday, October 19

Policing Ajami

The movie "Ajami" must have woken up someone to the reality we live in. Anyone following this blog even slightly knows about the violence and drug dealing going on here.
Yesterday morning 27 people from Ajami were arrested on suspicion of drug related crimes. It appears a cover agent has been operating in the area over the last few weeks.
In the few cases i know about personally from relatives and friends of those arrested, no drugs were found in spite of the extensive searches carried out in the homes of the arrestees.
In a few cases damage was caused to the property of the families involved. Some of the arrestees live very normal lives, working hard and are poor, not exactly a drug dealer's life style or so it seems. They may well be innocent.
Some of the arrestees do have the doubtful reputation of being a dealer.

Kosher pigs

Jaffa has several cafes and restaurants, some of them serving kosher food, others quite distinctly different as to the food they serve.
However, a restaurant or cafe may  serve kosher food, but that it where the kashrut ends. Some of them behave as pigs towards their employees and that makes them very unkosher, not to say treif. In fact, it is not "some" but rather quite a few. Not respecting employees' rights is almost common practice in the bar/restaurant business.

Enter an NGO known as "beMagaley Zedek" who have introduced the "social kashrut" or "tav hevrati" on the assumption a kashrut should go beyond food, and imply respect towards workers' rights (as in minimum salary, holidays, travel costs etc) as well.
Many of the places in Jaffa (some of the koolest ones who have created an image of "human rights" for their business among them) refuse to pay their waiters a salary, insisting tips to be their income. Or if they pay a salary, it's way below the legal minimum wage.

So far the social kashrut certificate has been awarded three places in Jaffa:
"Poua", in the fleamarket area.
"Jaffa" (no NOT Yafa Coffee and Books who in spite of their "human rights image" have a bad employee rights record, paying less than the minimum wage, not paying travel expenses as required by law and a lot of other unpleasant activities towards employees) but the Jaffa place on Oley Zion, also in the fleamarket area.
"Na Laga'at" in the harbour.

So, next time you go out somewhere in  Jaffa, know where you go.

Wednesday, October 7

One wonders

Sometime very early this morning someone broke into the offices of the Jaffa Association for Humanitarian Aid, an NGO handing out food parcils to Jaffa's poor and stole all computers. How heartless can they get?

Monday, October 5

Travel restrictions in Jaffa: Freedom of movement and religion is questioned

Twice a week buses leave from the Gazans' Garden (Gan HaShnayim) in Jaffa for Jerusalem: people go there in order to pray in the Al Aqsa Mosque. Most of them, the very large majority in fact , are elderly devout women. After the prayers they take a walk through the Old City and return to Jaffa.

Today the police waited at the traditional bus stop and prevented the pilgrims from boarding the Jerusalem  bound bus and leaving Jaffa. So much for the freedom of religion in "the only democracy in the Middle East".

How misunderstandings can mess up a community

Last friday there was an event at the Ajami Orthodox club, a favourite hang-out of Jaffa's Christian Palestinian community.
Someone had a little too much alcohol and went into a nearby grocery, unable to hold his drink.  Before quite gettig out of the door, the drunk threw up. One of the grocery guys decided to punish him and beat him up quite badly. Result: the drunkard is in intensive care.

That very same evening the grocery store caught fire. Rather a coincidence.

So on the next day, sunday, close to the orthodox church, when the family went to pray, shots were fired, barely missing the people but causing some damage. Right now tension is high in Jaffa.

Thursday, October 1

October 1st Demo in Jaffa

Moving once more

Many of the stores along Yefet street are closed in honour of the October 1st strike .
Good to see that quite a few store owners in Jaffa are politically aware,

At the same time, (and until the demo this afternoon) i'm working very hard as once more i have to move. This time the owner wants the flat back. He's getting married (mabrouk) and wants to move in with his wife.
Thank all of those who helped me find a new place in Ajami. Close (less than 100 meter) from the sea, a tiny garden with a lovely lemon tree (i counted 5 lemons this morning in different stages of ripeness and grapes) and 2 (as in two) bathrooms. For those of you who had the doubtable honour to visit the miniature premises in my current (tomorrow ex-flat) abode, you know what it means.

But right now i am packing, over 50 boxes of books.......still so many to go.

Picket line today at 16.00 on Clocktower Square in Jaffa

Today a general strike in Palestinian towns, villages and the shared cities has been announced in order to commemorate the murder of the 13 Palestinian citizens of Israel by the Israeli police during the first week of October 2000: 

  • Ahmed Jabarin 
  • Mohammed Jabarin
  • Rami Gharra 
  • Eyad Lawabny
  • Misleh Abu-Jared 
  • Ala’a Nasser
  • Aseel Asleh 
  • Emad Ghanayem
  • Waleed Abu Saleh 
  • Ramez Bushnaq
  • Mohammed Khalib Khamayseh
  • Omar Akawi  
  • Wisam Yizbek
We will join together in a silent picket line at 16.00 o'clock at Jaffa's Clock tower Square.