The Neighbour Before The House: The Neighbours and the Houses
Duration: 01:07:00; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 42.851; Saturation: 0.038; Lightness: 0.642; Volume: 0.201; Cuts per Minute: 5.417; Words per Minute: 40.171
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.
Ashok: Its OK for the courtyard...
-Its OK for the courtyard.
-Yeah our coutyard, and...can we see some of the houses?
Ashok: Which houses?
-No the one with the fire and...wait we're checking....I think its right here. Yeah we can, but let's zoom out...yeah we can. We can see the whole courtyard and we can see the Jewish quarter...no?
Ashok: Eh...well...kind of.
-The one that they're rebuilding...no which one? The one that we were just seeing? No...wait...
Ashok: Where are they rebuilding it?
-Above the Jewish quarter, maybe there...yeah we can see....
Ashok: Which is the one they are rebuilding?
-...eh...yeah we can see it.
Ashok: But there is a wire...
-But there is a wire.
Ashok: Should I tell them?
-We can see it but we can see a wire also. There's a wire. OK. No worries.
Ashok: Can see more of the...can you see that?...
Ashok: Are there some special (?) about these places? ...people from maybe these houses?
...Any old friend he had who...want to talk about their relationship...
(unclear many voices)
This is Khan al-Sultan and the archway is the entrance to the Khan. This leads to the south of the old city to Bab al-Silsilah to the Haram sharif. We enter the courtyard and on the sides we have two floor structures. The lower floor is for the goods and on the upper floors there are rooms that used to be used as work and meeting spaces for traders. Do you see that guy at the entrance?- on his right is the place where they kept their horses and transport animals. This khan is known as Khan al-Sultan or Barquq, who is one of the Mamluks Sultans. It was also called Khan al-Wakaleh or Qaisayiah.
This is an Islamic Waqf. All the money that is collected from this Khan goes to the dome of the rock.
On the south side of the Khan we have Suq al-Khawajat which was specialized in selling clothes to high society in Palestine. If we go to the north side, we'll find the Galicia settlement. 4 months ago, here, do you see the burned room, yes here.. this is for the Shweiki family. There was a fire due to an electric malfunction and I was witness to it. We called in the ambulance and the fire department.
Now, if you move the camera a bit, you'll see the house of the Sha'bari family. He built a small house because space is so little and the Israeli authority demolished it. Do you see the orange tarp? They added that for protection. The Israelis demolished the roof. The family had to demolish the house with their own hands, otherwise they'd pay demolishing fees. 45000 shekles.
This shows that we have a problem in building and contruction in the old city. One of the human rights lawyers in Israel says with regards to the Palestinians, "building is not permited, while demolishing is within the law." It is not allowed for us to renovate our homes in the old city and make them more livable. They put people under serveillance and they let them finish their construction and renovation and then they come to demolish it. There is a big plan to change the landscape of the old city. They want to hide any Muslim or Christian presence. Their plan is to bury any culture in the city that is not Jewish. And this leads us of Herzel's ideas in the 1896/1897 where he states that "If Israel was estblished and I was alive, I will take away anything that is not holy for Jews in this city."
Here we can see the Jewish quarter in the city.
Yes, and it's called the Jewish quarter, but originally it was called "Al-Sharaf neighbourhood". There is a path that divides the Jewish and Muslim quarter.
And this is the masjed, we zoom in on it, Mahmoud is saying we will begin and then move slowly and gradually.
For example, where is the Khan entrance?
This house, may peace be on our prophet Mohammad- Al Haj Fakhri Mizano, Abu Yasser this house, the green door- excuse me this green door belongs to Hajja Aisha,... yes these doors are two different houses and the red door is for Haj Fakhri Mizano.
Adjacent to Haj Fakhri Mizano is the house of Jawad Al Jabari this is his window.
-Why does it have these wires? -
Because he is afraid his glass would break by the boys and children, also, sometimes there are attacks by the Jews, they throw stones at the Khan.
-So who has put these wires? ...Of course the people living here? -
The owners of the house.
This roof here, is the roof of Abu Ali Nassar and Abu Ali Mreish.
This is the roof of the Masjed of course and the one behind it is the Galicia synagogue.
-This Galicia synagogue is where the flag is? -
-This what we see here? -
Yes yes... this is a Jewish religious school.
-And this here?
This here is (shume?) that stands near the guard.
-The guard is supposed to be here? -
(Shaina saying that we will do the Galicia from another angle where we can see the whole Madrasa)
OK we are going to come here a little bit.
-What do we see now?
These are the houses.
This is a worship (not sure) house to the left, this house under is the house of Izz El Deen Nassar.
-He has covered it with paper? -
This is put so that nobody can see the inside of the house underneath, because you can see through if you look.
This roof? What is its story? It looks demolished...
-This roof, as you know, it is not allowed to do any renovations.
No this house belongs to Sub Laban family.
Ah yes this is the house of Sub Laban family this was burnt before approximately 3-4 months.- Yes... exactly, this is it.
This house here that is burnt belongs to the Shweiki family, near it is the Sub Laban house because he had built this upper roof, the Jews did not allow him and they forced him to demolish.
He was not allowed to finish up the building and they forced him to demolish and he demolished it himself and they made him pay a fine for the demolition.
(Shereen is saying we will go outside till he finished the prayers)
Here a little bit, here wait a little bit,... go back more and more to the right... more right... now this is the Galicia where the flag is and this house is the Idriss house.
Yes yes... this one.
-This they took from Idriss family? And they made the school on it?-
To whom exactly, I do not know.
(he wants to be very cautious in what he is saying)...
What is there that we see over there?
(moving the camera)
This is the house of Abu Ammar Nassar.
(The little boy is disagreeing with the Imam)
(the little boy is telling him he is wrong and telling him that this is where the settlers are)
That is true then after that there are these sun baths.
OK yes... no... (the boy is telling him to move and move)
Please turn a little more, OK.... we can't see more because of the wood.
But its there...
Please return a bit, ....this is now the Nassar house.
Can you see on the left?
(Ashok is talking)
Can you tell us a bit about who was living in this neighborhood before the settlers? Can you give us a bit of history on what we are looking at over here?
-Where the school is right there now there used to be Palestinian residents.-
And this is what year?
-I do not know exactly because I have been here only 9 to 10 years. Before that I have no idea who was living here.
So when you came to this quarter, the settlers had already been here?
Yes the synagogue was here.
Yes from 9 to 10 years it was there.
And this building here is what?
-This is a Christian church right here in front of you.
And the one behind it here?
-This is the dabagha resided by Arabs.
Do you see the flag over there?
-This is what flag?
I think this is the batriarch I do not know exactly to who it is.
Also in the Dabbagha...
This building is basically built by the orthodox Roman, as far as I know in this area here there used to be a hospital. They call it the Salahi hospital. The hospital was first established during the Fatimi times and some 100 years after the Fatimis it was a hospital. When the Ayyubis came the hospital was developed and it was one of the best hospitals.
And here? Still?
This area here is the church of...
This is the Fad church which is a German church here. And this courtyard here follows what is called the Galicia.
This is the courtyard that the zionists controlled and confiscated, this what we see here.
...There is a bridge here.
Where is the bridge?
(asking for a veil for nida)
We cannot see the bridge from where we are right now.
The bridge is here, but this is covering it.
This whole roof here is the roof of the school?
But here, these are arab houses.
-So the arab houses come directly linked with the walls of the school? -
Galicia is a city in Spain... ( it is unclear what Mahmud is saying over here)
Look the guard was here and left his booth and he was walking down.
We see here some police but not the guard.
He walked here (trying to find the guard)...
-Can we see the St. john hospice from here?-
I don't know, we need to see it from the other area.
(Shaina is asking what we talked about so far.)
(Shereen is saying that we talked a bit of history of the place.)
This is the Khan's entrance, we can say how the Khan entrance is linked to the Silseleh gate that there is a passage there is a (qos: needs translation ) and the horse stable underneath and so on.
This is the Khan's entrance, the Sultan Barqoq, it leads to the Silseleh gate, discussing where and what and so on..........(Mahmoud repeated all this in another video...Galicia1)
Exactly, the Khan used to be a place for commerce and traders and there also used to be a hotel and the lower grounds are usually for the animals and goods, and the upper grounds are for the population who used to be the traders.
Let's go back to the Khan entrance, all this is repeated else where when the camera position shifted.
(Shereen is asking if there is anything else they wanted to say regarding what we see here?)
Yes this area here, they used to cause lots of problems for the residents, I remember one time when they built a bridge that would connect between what we call the Khan souq and this Galicia, at that time the Palestinians went to raise a court case on how they were building something here this is a violation of our right but of course eventually all the systems of this country work hand in hand, so instead of the judge ordering the removal of this bridge, he said remove the iron and put wood in place of it and they did put wood there but if you go there now you will see that the bridge has become permanent etc.
The second thing I want to say here is that some of the windows here used to overlook the butchers market one of the fundamentalist settlers if I am not mistaken on 16.11.91 they dropped a bomb from one of those windows on the butchers' market and as a consequence, one of the shop owners from Dketet family fell a martyr and died and they shot his son who lost his eye and others were also wounded.
And the the funny/sad thing is this guy went to court and he could get the court to say that this was a violent attack on him and the court ruled in his favor a compensation but the question is how was this compensation to be made?!
They told him to go and bring the person who had dropped this bomb and take your money from him.
Imagine this! If it was the other way around, if it was a Jew who was attacked, they would have brought any one from the Arabs and made him pay.
But when you are a Palestinian, from here it becomes his duty to go and search for this man who dropped the bomb and get your own compensation from this person.
This tells you about the type of settlers who live here and the type of judicial system operating here, Zionist.
History of how this Yesheva came here?
-He does not know exactly the details of...
At least ten years they have been here.
But I know it is from the middle of the 80's. 1980 something like that. (not clearly audible)
Every year during the same of time of their throne feast they used to close our door, the western door of the masjed they used to tell us go pray outside.
I did not witness this but the prayers told me that sometimes during the summer the praying people used to go outside to pray, now every year when they got here they used to forbid the people from praying outside and they took over that courtyard.
(talking about the door)
This year I spoke to the person in charge of this. His name is Yousef. And I told them this cannot work like that. The door has to open. I will show you the door now if you bring the camera to it you could be able to see it in reality.
During the day or night I cannot open the door because if we open it they will hurt us a number of times. They hurt us a number of times. They cut the wires of the speakers they called us to the police, that it was too loud, so we turned down the sound, the amplifier so it won't be too loud.
So we had to raise it up. They would complain about us to the Waqf to lower down the sound.
One time they came with an iron sword on one guy from this door and the praying ones told me they were trying to hurt this guy.
They would curse at us and so I used to just close the door because we do not want any problems with them. So they came and curses and so on..
They used to come up here on the masjed's roof and the neighbour's roof. In Ramadan once they came up. They would throw stones on the people and the residents here. And one time Mayada, the old woman, she brought them the police in Ramadan this year, two days consecutively. So she got them the police so they left, and so...but imagine if we did that we did what they did, then they will take us to court and only let you out by bail and so on..these prayers now are coming here...so we close the door because we are not interested in trouble one time 5 or 6 years ago.
This road how long has it existed? (Shereen translating)
Do they give trouble to people walking on the roof, the people go these guys here they don't always talk with them, but with caution.
The boy is saying that they do let him pass, the man answers yes yes then they think you are from the neighborhood.
(It is maybe 10 or 12)
A number of times I remember one time of them told me to open the door I told him I will not open the door there is no need for me to open the door and get hurt.
I am the one who closes the door or they will hurt me.
I will show you the door now...
A number of times they tried to hurt us.
(they are talking about the families who live here trying to agree about the families)