The nightmare of proving that you live in East Jerusalem

Scenes from the overcrowded Israeli Interior Ministry office in East Jerusalem, where Palestinian residents must regularly ‘prove’ they still live there or face displacement and exile.

Israeli Interior Ministry, wadi-al-joz, East Jerusalem

Amir Aruri, in +972, writes, “Inside the the Wadi al-Joz Interior Ministry office in East Jerusalem, an elderly man holds a one-year old child. She is crying because of the cramming and pushing among those lined up at the ministry’s outer gate. “Where is the child’s mother?” I ask. He responds that the mother is crying too, and she can’t carry her child. “I am the child’s grandfather,” he says.”

“Another man tells him: “The child is going to die in your hands, poor thing. Why don’t you ask the security guard to open the door?” I take the girl from her grandfather to enable him to climb through the rotating metal door from the outside, screaming at the security guard to open the door for him. The security guard tells him to shut up and get off the door. The grandfather takes the child back, lifting her for the security guard to see how badly she is crying. People inside and outside the building start to yell, and the security guard is compelled to open the door, allowing the grandfather and his grandchild to enter.

“What about the mother? The women at the “women’s line” would not allow her to cut in line, as they themselves have been standing there for a long time. So the grandfather asks the men to make room for the mother of the child. They do not hesitate, showing chivalry and compassion, and step aside to allow the sobbing mother to pass.” (more…)

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