'There is great anger and great fear in East Jerusalem'

Safety can depend on small choices such as the route taken. Tanya Habjouqa reports from East Jerusalem

Share

I woke yesterday morning with a sense of dread and the buzzing of a hovering helicopter close to my home in East Jerusalem.

Since the revelation almost three weeks that three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped there has been a sense of foreboding, that they would not survive and that resulting violence would suck in far more victims.

This morning I found out that a 17-year-old who lived less than half a mile away was abducted and murdered a few hours before I woke. Although it is so close, only the intensity of the helicopters signalled the proximity of violence which was taking place so clearly on the television screens.

The previous day there was an attempt to snatch a nine-year old from nearby streets so I left the house to take my three-year old daughter to nursery school  in West Jerusalem with some trepidation.

There are two ways to get to West Jerusalem from Beit Hanina: either I turn left to take the most direct route or right to the longer but sometimes faster route.

Tanya Habjouqa: ‘One friend has been crying for two days’ Tanya Habjouqa: ‘One friend has been crying for two days’

If I had taken a left, I would have been engulfed in the running battles between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers. My friend took the left and screamed to her seven-year-old to get down as she heard shots fired in the air. She hit a car as she navigated out of the violence.

I took a right which leads to a dual carriageway and the “bridge road” which flies over the Shuafat refugee camp and was able to drive without hindrance to the centre of Jerusalem.

This is half a mile from my house. But my friend took a left and I took a right which changed how my entire day was shaped.

Yet another friend, a German married to a Palestinian, took the Israeli bus with her three-year-old. On board, two women were talking about the death of the three Jewish boys. And then one woman said to the other: “All Arabs should be punished for that.”

Our children attend the Peace school at the YMCA in West Jerusalem which is attended by Jews, Christians and Muslims taught in Arabic and Hebrew. The Jewish director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus at the YMCA approached the killings differently: “This is not the Jewish way. What can we do?”

 

He wanted to bring singers from East and West Jerusalem together to perform as a response to the rising tension but he did not know if he should ask the Palestinians considering how they were feeling, and did not know if they would be safe in West Jerusalem if they did come.

By the time I drove back east, there was smoke rising from Shuafat and the traffic was moving slowly.

One friend has been crying for two days, feeling sick until her two teenage sons return home safely each night from their studies and part-time work. Her daughter cannot take her eyes away from the TV images of the violence she can almost see from outside her window.

The parents I know in East Jerusalem insist their children stay at home and drive them even for just five minutes to go to the grocery store. But not all teenagers listen.

There is such great anger and great fear and East Jerusalem and in the end your safety often depends on whether you take a right or a left.

Tanya Habjouqa is a photographer who lives in East Jerusalem with her husband and two children

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...

Recruitment Genius: Buyer

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Buyer is required to join thi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Between the covers: Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, opposite Colin Firth's Mr Darcy, in the acclaimed 1995 BBC adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice'  

To talk about 'liking' a character may be a literary faux pas, but I don't care

Memphis Barker
Hinkley Point A to the right of development land where the reactors of Hinkley C nuclear power station are due to be built  

Should the UK really be putting its money into nuclear power in 2015?

Chris Green Chris Green
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen