'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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux / Redhat / Solaris / Puppet / SAN

£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

Day In a Page

Silhouette of clubber dancing Hacienda nightclub  

A comedian has opened an alcohol-free nightclub. Is he having a laugh?

Jessica Brown Jessica Brown
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape