The Neighbour Before the House: The Sit-in Streets of Sheikh Jarrah
Duration: 01:47:53; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 37.909; Saturation: 0.020; Lightness: 0.572; Volume: 0.236; Cuts per Minute: 9.538; Words per Minute: 39.302
Summary: “The Neighbour Before the House” is a series of video probes into the landscape of East Jerusalem. This footage, shot with a security camera, is an experiment that exceeds the instrumental aspects of surveillance imaging, and uses the technology of power as a device with which to narrate, quite intimately, over the architecture of a deliberate and accelerated occupation of a city. Instances of inquisitiveness, gestures of jest, memory, fear, desire and doubt, pervade the project of watching. Stories float up, as Palestinians from different neighbourhoods evaluate what can be seen—messianic archeological digs; Israeli settlement activities; takeovers of Palestinian properties; the Old City, the Wall and the West Bank. Pans-tilts-zooms become ways in which to frame the view, as these residents speak about the nature of their distance from others.
It seems to be working.
Here we can see the settler come mom and see how I can see the settler from inside damn him what is he doing, papa come and see how he is standing there inside..
Is he looking at us?
-No no he is not.
Look at what they have done, they put this to separate... this is the wall where we and the foreigners wrote on the wall.
Shereen and Shaina
Mohamamd we caught a settler? What can I see show me...
(He went down)
Now you can see what is happening? Yes we can see what is happening here right now.
If we can save?...- yes all this is saving
I want to see the corner, leave us from the corner now let us see the settler, I saw the whole roof.
I spent an hour turning around with the camera to catch him.
Now where is it? This is Ammo Saleem's house. This is the garden of Ammo Saleem but they cut it into half. They cut it because of their feast.
-This is another house?
No this is all one garden but they are separating it like that. Look at what he is doing, these things we wrote on the wall.
-These are two houses yes?
Wait a little bit Yacoub, this is the house... I want to zoom here.... no I can't because there is the wooden thing.
Give me this camera 24 hours so I can entertain myself on them.
Let me see, let us try to catch the other side.
Wait let us show the front door.
I want to come in the middle, could you please describe to us what you see?
Here, this house used to be a big garden, we had written stuff on the walls, memories, and there is also the name of my uncle Saleem that is engraved in the wall.
But I am unable to catch it they have taken his half. I saw it the other day from the door.
But the camera is not able to catch it, who is Ammo Saleem?
-Saleem is my eldest uncle.
Father: There are 3 houses here, the three houses are for Majed, Maher and Saleem and I was born here in this house, I am now 51 years old.
Mom: These houses, my father-in-law took them in 1956, the Jordanian wakala established them in accordance with the Jordanian government.
Jordan gave us the land and the wakala established these houses in '56, they built these houses and my father-in-law took them.
(She gave birth to most of her children here.)
Mom: I got married in this house here and I gave birth to my children here and we have lots of memories very nice memories, 3 generations passed this house.
-And this is your roof?
This stuff here belongs to my father and uncle. We can see it form here and these satellite are ours'. Same for this solar (energy) systems, we put them here.
This is the satellite of my uncle and my father. This veranda, my husband built it.
He put the roof and we really worked hard on it.
Sharihan: I'm trying to catch some scenes from our house, from behind, but there are these clothes.
Because of the clothes we are not able to see. These are their clothes.
-These are childrens' clothes no?
Yes they have children. They moved in with their families and they inhabited it a little while ago when I was in the garage. I could see the clothes.
See the lemon tree what happened to it, where is the lemon tree?
Here is the lemon tree it has gone dry. They do not take care of it or anything. They even do not clean the floors or anything.
Today 61 days already and not once have they cleaned the stairs outside.
Look at the lemon tree how it is dry, if they clean the stairs I am going to put sand on it and make it dirty for them.
I want to try and go to our garden this here where my mother-in-law planted this Jasmin this is the house of my brother-in-law Maher.
We used to sit under it every day, drink the coffee in the morning before each of us goes to their work and errands. We would gather underneath it.
They took us out of our homes and confiscated our house this is my house the house of Majed Hannon and this is our garage..
These wires here were not there before they put it... so you wont be able to see anything.
Try to zoom and when you zoom in a lot it becomes blurry.
When they entered our houses on 2.8 they broke everything. They broke the windows. They didn't leave anything, they put all this....
These houses are not jews, that is the Sumud camp this building is for the waqf, they came and stayed in it.
And now who is in it?
There are about 30 families, Palestinian families- refugees. This was built for the waqf as a library and they had tents in Wadi al Joz they destroyed their tents so they came to stay here in this building.
They have been around ten years staying in it.
The UN is coming to visit you now? They want to interview you?
-I do not know for sure ... they said they wanted to come
Shaina asking shareehan to talk about the cameras because we were not saving.
You see, this is my uncle's garden its like bigger, but they put this because they have today a party. They pray for god to let it rain.
These things we wrote it in the wall when we are in the houses and there is some small stones we wrote inside the wall like my uncle's name but I cannot.... they deleted half of it but there is another half like the name of my uncle is Saleem its like for its but Hannoon they delete it from the wall.
But because of the tree I cannot take it.
But I want to see what he is doing and this door is ours and there is many things in the roof for us... like my father this is for us but they didn't give it for us. ...these things are for us all these cables are ours'.
If you can tell us about the cameras...
-And they put this camera I will let you see it because they do not want us to do anything they want to take anything we do because if we go to the other street they will arrest us.
This camera was put after they took your house?
-Yes after the 13th of August, because after the 13th they sent us a court's decision, on the 3rd that we have court on the 4th that they say that we put tent in the street and we cut their electricity and threw at them water and stone. We went to the court and said to them that we didn't do anything. We go to the court without law because like if one hour we call the law and say for them to come with us then they say for us we have to be far from the house 150 meters.
And we say for them okay someone of you swear that we do that. And no one swear, and then the judge say for us we can stay in the street, but if we do anything they will let us not be far from 150 meters they let us leave all Sheikh Jarrah.
20 days they put the camera to take picture for us or any people.
Can we come from this window and see what is there?
Can we go inside? -This... it is my uncle's room.
The window from my uncle's room ...you cannot see in if the cameras is on the other side.
Can you also show Sheikh Jarra and tell us a bit about the neighbourhood?
Let's do more with the house.
This is Sheikh Jarrah and say how from ....
(Shereen telling her to go back and talk about the cameras and zoom in and then show the street to show all the house and then the house until we reach here)
No we cannot see Ghawi house from here, we need to change the camera's position.
OK show us now your house and the cameras and what they told you and then.
Leave the mic... you are already being heard through the mic.
This is my house.
The first one here is my house, and the second one is my uncle Maher's house. And this one for Saleem. My father's name is Majed and the second Maher and the third Saleem. And as you see the door in the door in my uncle Maher's because it is glass they broke all the glass of the door when they came on the 2nd of August. They have broken all the glass.
We cannot go to the street where the houses are now because if we go to the steps of the house they will arrest us, and if we do anything for them or speak with them.
-How will they know that you....?
They know because they put two cameras they will take a video of us and this camera will take us here to see what we are doing. And if we do anything...for example, cut electricity, or speak with them, there is police coming and arresting us.
In this camera they see us how we are doing, how we are sleeping... and like this. And they give us a decision so that we have to be far from the house- 150 meters.
You see my little brother and my cousin.
And I want to let you see the trees is dead now because they do not care about it. And if they catch you...
If they catch us we leave Sheikh Jarra.
First it was the 150 now it is leaving.
My cousin sees that they are cutting the olive tree. But I can't (see) because of the trees.
I try to catch him.
Go to the window on the roof. We want to see the best angle to change the camera's position.
There... window from my uncle's room.
The camera can go inside? -We have to change the angle...
OK you can go up and I will see from here and test.
(Shaina suggests we sit with her mother also, but later, after we move.)
(Shaina is asking Sharihan if she has mostly finished from this angle.)
I think if we change the camera we can take the roof from my house.
(Sharihan explaining to her mother what we want her to do but that now we want to try and go into this room after changing the camera.)
(Her mother is telling her 'but you know how to talk' so she is telling her mother that more than one person can talk.)
(Now the children want to talk and move.)
(Shaina is telling Sharihan to move from this angle to her house and that the men sleep in the street and that this is some of your belongings)
They can talk in arabic.
These mattresses, we put them because we are not allowed to put them on the pavement because the municipality will fine us so we put it at our neighbours' house, who keeps the garage open for us. We pick them up at night and our children sleep here, and those who come to show solidarity with us.
(opening the door)
We sit in the street here. We sleep here, and we are now since 61 days in this street. Every night we put the mattresses outside and sleep, but in the morning we cannot put the mattress outside.
(The child wants to move the controller)
This is where we put our stuff and our mattresses.
And we are now sitting here right?
This is where you were forced to sit in all this street here, we are here since 61 days in this street and we put our stuff, our pillows and mattresses, at the neighbours'. They opened it for us. We put our bags, our closets, our children's bags. Sometimes I teach my children inside.
-Yes... I saw the child. He was studying on this wood here.
Yes... my nephew and child go inside sometimes because of all the noise. He tells me 'mum I am not able to tolerate the street. I am not able to study or grasp anything.' Because of all the cars coming and going, he cannot study.
I want to go out from here and I want to show your house which is exactly on this street there. These are 3 houses for Hanoon family- Majed, Maher and Saleem.
(Writing meaning 'We will not leave')
We wrote on it because we do not want to leave from here, they took us out by force. They took us out viciously on 2nd August (2009) at 5 in the morning. They broke the doors and entered from the windows. They came in to my children, they beat them up and kicked them out cruelly. And they entered on me while I was sleeping at 5 in the morning while I was in my night gown. At 5 I found them on the top of my head. They left nothing in the house that they didn't break on the 2nd of August.
They forced me out, they said 'walk', I said 'wait I want to wear my clothes, to wear my veil', they made me walk on the broken glass, barefoot. I begged them to let me wear my slippers but they let me out and they took all our furniture and threw it out.
-Where did they throw it?
Close to the Unrwa-Wakala in Sheikh Jarrah. It was all broken. They put these settlers and on 2nd August made them live in my own house- 15 setters. The stuff in the fridge they took. They ate all the chocolate. My children's footballs, they played with them in front of our eyes.
In the morning they brought their children. They did not let anything close. They made a checkpoint. They closed the whole neighbourhood up, this area and that area, they left nothing that they did not close. So that no body could reach us, they took our mobiles so we cannot call anyone to come and help us.
-All this area here they closed?
Yes, they closed it all.
More than 500 soldiers came down on us. In this area here, there used to be a tent of Sheikh Jarrah for a woman called Um Kamel.
It is for Sheikh Jarrah, Um Kamel stayed in it because they kicked her out of her house so she stayed in the tent.
But now you can see they have put these garbage things. They removed the tent and put this garbage.
On 2nd Aug, the day they came and evacuated us, they removed the tent of Sheikh Jarrah and attacked us and the Ghawi family because we both have the same case.
This area here used to be a tent for Sheikh Jarrah, Um Kamel Al Kurd stayed in it. She was the first one to be evacuated.
I do not know if we can get her house from here.
All this area here, they want to take. 28 housing units- there are 550 persons living.
-Is this the Ghawi house?
No, perhaps we can show you the Kurd house that they evacuated.
There is the house of Sabbagh family up there.
There are settlers there.
The settlers security guards more to the right.
Yes these houses were taken by settlers.
This is a watch tower.
They put camera like this also they can film us what we are doing.
Yes look at their camera there, they put it and they can film us, they put a camera like your camera and they can film us, what we are doing.
(Talk about changing the angle)
Sharihan is telling someone 'congratulations we could enter our house with the camera!'
Look here this wooden piece they put because of their throne feast.
Zoom in, zoom in.
-Can you see it from here?
You can see something.
Let me see behind the house...
I did not see it
Tell us what you are looking at...
I am trying to go inside the house, but it's not letting me...
You can see that door, right?
I can't see it, I'm looking at the black screen.
I can't see through the washing...
If they'd only remove their washing.
All we can see is what they are doing while they are in the garden.
Is this the roof?
-Yes, that the roof of the house of Saleem.
Yes, we want to zoom into uncle Saleem's house like this...
He worked on his garden and he built the wood fence to split it.
Is this a wireless camera?
How can you zoom in like this?
How can you zoom in like this?
-They can see us now and we can see them.
Look I saw them in the upper neighbourhood. That monkey with the camera!
This is a serveilance camera, they put it in a box and it's connected to the electricty through cables and it is connected to this piece of equipment. You zoom in and out, tilt up and down.
And now we are moving the camera, I can't tilt up more.
Where is Um Kamel's house?
You got the House of the Smoum's like this...
After we moved the camera, I can't tilt up anymore
Do you see, that policeman has a camera there. They see us just like we see them now.
I can reach to where the tent is...
We can hear your voices now on the camera.
Look our cables are still there. They kept them.
The settler was working in the garden a little while back.
I want to see if they have cameras up.
-There are two cameras only.
Yes, they haven't installed cameras from the other side.
I looked very well for other cameras.
I can't get into there, in the window.
We can if we put it closer.
Yaqub, can you talk about what we are seeing?
A liitle while back we saw them coming up and down.
Yes, let's see what we can get there.
I tried here before.
I tried to get in through the bathroom window.
Yaqub, wait wait.
She's saying there is a woman on the balcony
Yes there she is...
Follow her with the camera and let's see what she does...
She took away the clothes...
Tell someone to go throw her washing away!
-Get a sling shot and a pro.
What is happening with you?
She's hanging her washing.
They are making films.
How much did you get the water gun for?
pffffffft!.........I saw one for 120
And here is the woman.... Homo, homo!
-Don't ever say this word again!
-It's not right.
She removes clothes and puts more.
She's going down.
She's telling you, would any of you like to record with the camera?
Yaqub, give him the joystick and let him say whatever he wants because she wants to change the position of the camera.
-I'm shy when I speak
No you are going to speak
-Let me sit here. Shall I roll it for you?
The first thing, this is our house.
-Don't zoom in.
This is our house and this is our door bell.
This is our roof.
And this is our water tank.
We have good memories here.
This is my uncle's window.
Let me use it for a little bit....just for 5 minutes....
They told us to use it.
We can't see it.
-Go to the left.
Uncle Majed has the key.
I wish this my mine.
Look at the Vizviz.
-They went in, they went in!
This settler is going into our house.
Take it to our house. Did a settler go in?
I want to see if he went to the garden...
Take it to our house...
I do the joystick and you speak.
Here, he's going outside...
-Follow him, he went to the lower neighbourhood.
This settler lives in my grandfather's house, he went to the Ghawi family house. They go back and forth.
Here he is, going to Ghawi family house.
Shall I go back to our house, aunty?
Go down to where you wrote, 'we will never leave'
Here's is what we wrote aunty, I see it.
We wrote here 'we won't leave'.
What is my mom doing there?
-She said she'd like to be filmed infront of your house.
And my aunt, does she want to be filmed infront of her house?
Your mom is coming back.
-She's going to the olive tree, where we sit now after our house has been taken.
What do we want with the wall? Go back.
-I'm trying to get inside the house.
The settler was hanging her washing earlier.
- where is this?
This our house.
-go down, go down, zoom in, to to our house and zoom zoom zoom...
it's not clear...
We were able to see the canopy they put up in the garden.
Do you see it? They covered it from top. It's all wood.
There's the settler.
- where is he sitting?
In Uncle Saleem's garden.
You are doing a Palestinian Mosad!
Everything you say is recorded
- be careful.
Look at the Ghawi house
- we can't see if from here
Yes, I see the serveilance room on the upper street.
Here it is...
Here are the settlers.
Zoom in, zoom in, what are you waiting for?
They are three...they are doing something...
Maybe he has a hammer in his hand.
I think there is a security guy with them, hold on...
It would have been great if the green tarp was not there.
I'm frustrated from this tarp.
Hold on, they were in uncle's Saleem's house and now all of a sudden they are in Uncle Maher's house. It looks like they've put a door between the two houses.
Look, this is it. They are changing in the setup of the houses. He was at uncle Saleem's house and now he's at uncle Maher's house.
The problem is that there is a camera here with them similar to the we are using now. I'll show it to you. Do you see the room up there? That room has a camera
like the one we are using and they look at us all the time.
This the first house that they took in the neighbourhood- the house of Um Kamel Al-Kurd. This is the house. These swings were for Arabs and now Jewish kids play with them. Look at all these Israeli flags.
They took Um Kamel's house and the road that leads to it. They are planning to take all these homes that I'm showing you now.
All of these homes....Starting from here.
This is where we put the tent up. They ordered us to put the tent down. They thought we wanted to take that piece of land. There are settlers who go pray there at the cave of Shimon al-Siddik. They are not afraid of us. They take their kids with them.
I'm looking at the way to the tent.
Zoom in, it's not a police car.
They haven't taken these homes yet.
That's an Israeli police car.
I want to zoom into his gun.
Stop here, zoom in...
This is the window.
It is getting dark, the camera has become black and white, it's nice.
(no special talk)
They are getting Ghawi, Um Ayman to show her her house.
ok this is our house here.
this is your house right?
ok zoom in now.........
This is my uncle Saleems, what happened they moved down the window....?
Wait I want to reach this wood here...
Here it is, this wood this is the roof up now go left to their house.
Go slowly, sorry but I can't do it except like that.
-This is how you move it and this is how you do the zoom.
This is the roof of my brother-in-law, wait Sara, Adam do not go to street.
...If you can come here a little bit and then zoom out...
This is the room of my son.
Shereen: When she is pointing out to a house, please make a zoom on it.
Yes, here this is our house.
Mother is asking them to bring Adam from the street.
Here there used to be a window or they have opened it?
-No there is.
But if go a bit there, here still farther here it used to be a window, but they made it a door so it comes here...
-Ahh that's why I see it is a big opening.
And here it used to be a window on the veranda here.
But they made it a door so they can move from house to house from inside.
(calling out on Adam)
(calling on Adam)
Adam is being stubborn (laughs)
I wanted to remove it but they had proceeded , I would have done it. It would have cost us 20,000 shekels to remove it.
I had already made the deal with the guy but what they did prevented all this, I hope they will get their punishment.
(the room of son upstairs)
This here used to be wooden like that but they removed it all they took it all out.
ok here underneath I had not a window because it overlooks my brother-in-law (brother of husband) so when I entered they had made a big window even bigger than ...
You see how they put this window here really down , at your husband's brother Khamees, the window was a little more up.
But they took it more down in order to investigate and watch.
So now we want to be the ones to file a case against them.
Now here underneath this window is the room that I made right underneath this window
I had no window but underneath here it is empty?
Yes empty but you know you cannot really move freely in the house if it is opened.
So now they opened it?
This and that I had done.