The Neighbour Before the House: Testimonies of a Tent/Sheikh Jarrah
Duration: 01:20:58; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 342.652; Saturation: 0.013; Lightness: 0.590; Volume: 0.150; Cuts per Minute: 5.199; Words per Minute: 29.332
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.
This door was the entrance to my house. The Zionists closed it...
This door was the entrance to my house. The Zionists closed it with metal. They wanted to make for the seven Jewish settler families, one entrance.
It's the green gate.
This is the the entrance to seven families.
They demolished a wall inside, They've changed the setup of the house from inside. The walls they don't need, they put down. Windows they do not want, they closed off.
We had wood here as well.
What they did is they took the nice wood we had here and instead of it they took this wood from the rooftop of my brother in law's house. They put a lock on the stairs. This is the entrance to my brother in law's house- Khalid
They changed the entrance of my house. The cancelled the entrances from this side. They opened entrances from the other side.
They cahnged the setup of the houses, No matter what they do, this will always remain my house. We've been living here for 56 years and we were renovating the house when they forced us out of it.
This only happenes in Israel, where us Palestinians get kicked out of our homes. `this began in 1948. The Zionists have done a lot to us.
When they kicked us out they didn't care if we had old people in our family or women. My uncle is 87 years old. They didn't care that he is sick or that we have children sleeping. My duaghter is two years old. My brother in law's daughter is 2.5 years.
This Sara my daughter. And this these are the sons of my brother in law. The rest of my children are at school.
I have five kids and only Sara is at home.
They way they forced us out was extremely rough and violent. It was like an action film in reality. As I told you they didn't care of the people who were in these homes. All they wanted is to force us out of our homes. After they forced us out, they brought lorries and put out stuff in them. We don't know what they did with it.
Our fridge, washing machine. After they forced us out, we had nothing left. If we wnat now to find a house to leave in we need to start from scratch. We don't have beds, closets, no fridge, no washing machine. We don't have blankets and winter is on the dorrs. The kids' clothes are gone. I have to start from scratch.
We did not have time to get out mobile phones and ID cards when they forced us out. After a big fight, they let us take our identity cards. We gathered our stuff from the street. Our photos and stuff.
Four families we used to enter to our home from this entrance.
From this green door, it was my uncle's family house, which he took instead of the UNRWA card.
This is where they dumped the rubble and some of the window frames they took out from our homes.
I tell the guard, the lemon tree is witness that this is for an Arab family. If I were to give birth again, my child is always going to know that this is our house.
My father was born here, my grandfather and we made this from our sweat and hardwork.
We are not going anywhere. Sara says that this is where I used to go to my uncle's. If she does not forget what about her father and grandfather. No one will forget. This is Sara.
Their cameras are here by the lemon tree, next to the water pipe in our garden about 2,5 meters high.
What is this that we are seeing now?
-This was the door to to enter our flat. They put a chain so noone would come in from this side.
Did they close these windows?
If we look at the fence they put on the windows, this is the fence we used to use as separator between us and the neighbours. They removed it and put it on the windows as protection in times of fights. They always instigate fights.
If we look up there, we find the bases for the cameras they used.
There is something interesting, it's not going down. I can't see it. This is the closest. There was a camera there to see who is at the front of the house. And one time a guy on a motorcycle with a helmet came and asked about the camera and he took it out with his hand and ran off.
This happened and there was a guard.
This was a flat and the second one is also a flat. They were separate. These cables are new. Also, contrary to what they claim that they gave us everything we owned, these boilers are ours. They practically took our homes and what we owned. What they did not need they destroyed and they told us to go take it from a specific place.
You were born in this house?
-My father lived in this house since 1956. I was born in one of its corners in 1963. all our memories are here. Our sweat and blood are mixed with its earth.
The upper flats were not there originally. Israel does not allow us to build and expand with our construction. we built without a permit. our family members were getting bigger and we could not get a permit so we had to build without a permit. The red unit was built without a permit. This was not there. There was a garden in the back and the front. My mom had a chiken coop. It was great memories and the state of Israel thinks that they can uproot us from were we live and from this land. But our roots are time deep into this land and place. We have been here for 3000 years not like Lieberman, the israeli forgein minister. He's been here for 20 years and all of a sudden he wants to kick the arabs.
The Jewish state is a dream. It won't come true. If we speak of a jewish state this means 3 million Palestinians should be expelled or they should change their religion.
Jerusalem is Arab and there is space in it for christians and muslims and there isn't anything for the jews here. Christianity has been here from a long time ago. There is not proof for Judaism to have existed here. The star of david that they claim is theirs, the Byzantines used to use. When they saw that it was used everywhere they adopted it and it is not related to David or Suleiman.
Did they take all these homes?
-They want to take these homes.
The ones we are seeing?
Behind the trees. Um Kamel's house is here.
These windows are for the house of Um Kamel.
The way they confiscated Um Kamel's house was very violent. The police said there were forgeries.
Are they now in Um Kamel's house?
Some of the police members said that the way they took Um Kamel's house in through forging papers, and the judge was on the israeli side. They believe that this is for people of Israel. And the arabs are the usurpers. We also know that Israel has a plan to get rid of as many Palestinians in Jerusalem. They need to devise laws under the judicial Israel system whereby any taboo would be referred to the israelis. The judge is politicized against the arabs. In this situation we are fighting Israel from one side and now the Palestinian authority. All that blood that fell in Gaza with the planes and artillaries that are made to kill people. All this effort to kill so many people in Gaza and then the Palestinian Authority withdrawing their desicion to go through the goldstone recommendations was becuase of Zain, the kuwaiti company. They care for money and not for our blood.
Politics is not right in Palestine. It's a politics of cheating and its a policy that protects the borders of Israel by the PA and Abbas, Mohammad Dahlan who have Palestinian blood on their hands.
This is point where they keep the house of Um Kamel under their surveillance and they look at and put the whole neighbourhood under serveillance.
They are there 24 hours a day. the israeli ministry of housing pays for this, for the guards. It's not a matter of the settlers putting their points. The settlers are the front line, then the second line is the Israeli army and police who work to confiscate Palestinian homes, properties. there are all Palestinian homes.
This house is made from 7 units. they have raised a law suit to take it over. It's the home of teh Sabbagh family. They suffer just like we suffer from 1972 all this neighbourhood has been suffering. We don't know whose turn it is next. We don't know in the absence of political references of leaders for the Palestinians in Jerusalem.
We saw the one there. Here's one and there's one on the side we can't see it, it's on the side.
Go down and take it in. We can see it get to the guard and it's on the right hand side.
After the tower we see these homes and according to the Israelis...
From this to there to the tree, the Arabs pay rent to the Jews with the pretext that the Jews own them. One two three four and it has a story.
One day a settler stopped here and started shooting on this house, the house of Husham Salaymeh.
This house was shot at and there are no men to protect the house. So we, the men of the neighbourhood, we came out and did our thing with him and when the police came they arrested the owner of the house.
There are steps here that take the settlers in to the areas they confiscated.
Can you tell us how life was before?
-Life was very easy. They have the guts to sit in front of the house. Previously we used to sit with neighbours on the steps. Life was communal, but it changed when the Jews came. The road was the kids playground.
The kids played in the street.
To sit in the street is not uncommon. We are here 28 families and we are like one big family, we are close, and our connections started in 1953 and this was a noraml way to sit. We were family and friends. We used to sit like this all the time. We are scared now.
We are now more aware for the Israeli policy and the systems of judaisation of the city. I am here because I want to be here to support the rest of the neighbours to stay in their homes. We need to be politically aware.
Every new born is forced to talk politics here.
I found myself forced to know about politics. We need to learn and understand the politics around us, otherwise we will be simpletons.
We see here another house, and their turn is next.
We see here five homes one two three four five on the corner. hese homes are also included in the policy of Israel to judiaze the neighbourhood.
We are now, here is our house. I want to tell and show off how greedy Israel is. The neighbourhood of Sheikhjarrah, they want it.
The want to take this over and to force us out of the old city and the aqsa, starting from here.
They started with us to start the master plan for 2020. The plan says that currently we are 36%, in 2020 you'll be 15% and in 2050 not a single Arab willbe in east Jerusalem. They don't want us here. They confescate our land, they revoke our id cards and they demolish our homes.
- and the wall-
yes, which takes in 8% of the land of Palestine.
Israel is sure that the security council won't devise resolution against Israel. Israel does not get on trial. They have their hand in cold water.
We have here another house, which we see. It's for our neighbour Um Nabeel Al-Kurd. It's been closed for 10 years and they say that it's for Jews when we all know Nabeel was the one to build it and we are all witnesses to that.
The house has been closed for 10 years, and our neighbour pays penalty.
This is the house of Um Nabeel and I can't get more from the camera.
This one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Jerusalem. There is a communal sense of life, this is not only because we've been together for 50 years. We are hospitable. We are tolerant and we are charcterized by humility.
The problems of confiscating land and property and the Israeli judicial system is not just with us.
We have all the right, we are the owners of the land and only if we found a just judge.
50% we lost 9% of the cases were frozen.
This is what happend with us in Sheikh Jarrah. We have the papers that show that we are the owners. We have the tabo papers, we have documents from the religious court to show how the history of ownership and selling to Arab families. And from one month ago, the king of Jordan pushed for the Jordanian archive to locate these documents.
When we went to the Israeli courts with evidence that we own this. The court said ok the papers are ok but they are old as the papers ahd to be brand new. When we faced this injustice we went to the central court. The court said the documents are right, but you came here too late. And the high court they gave us the stamp that the court cannot deal with such cases.
This shows any person that the decisions of the courts are not judicial but they are political. We have started going through the trasfer system that Israel wants to employ.
This is my brother's house.
The main house was 50sq m. my father expanded our house and when we got married we extended more. We had permits. We are five brothers. 41 individuals. We all live here, from 1965 until 1967 we did not fcae any problems.
In 1972 they started taking the area. The document they have is forged.
We are waiting for an order from the court. It may be postponed.
Our documents are from the Ottoman times, then it was under the Jordanians.