The hidden violence of Law in Jerusalem

    “Nine years,” This was the verdict issued in the case of Fatima K, a Palestinian woman from Jerusalem who is deep in her seventies.     The decision was issued by the Israeli district court, located at the end of Salaheddin Street. The street is named after Salaheddin al-Ayoubi, the Muslimhero who liberated Jerusalem from
2015-03-29

Haneen Naamneh

Palestinian writer and lawyer. PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at London School of Economics and Political Science


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    “Nine years,” This was the verdict issued in the case of Fatima K, a Palestinian woman from Jerusalem who is deep in her seventies.     The decision was issued by the Israeli district court, located at the end of Salaheddin Street. The street is named after Salaheddin al-Ayoubi, the Muslimhero who liberated Jerusalem from the crusaders. Fatima sat on a wooden chair in the narrow court room, following the court hearing that was being deliberated in Hebrew, and whispering some Quaranic verses as if waiting for the verdict in a death row case. Her eyes looked fatigued and gave the impression that she hasn’t slept for days. The menorah, the emblem of the state of Israel, was hung behind the seat of the judges and the scenery of the court was left for serendipity. The judges returned from their lunch break to decide that nine years were sufficient for the elderly lady to spend the few years left of her life in her home. Her home consisted of two tiny, humble rooms located in a neighborhood in “East” Jerusalem. The ruling was part of an eviction case presented against her by Israel, claiming that she was “illegally” inhabiting “state property.” 
Law does not kill, and the violence it perpetrates does not necessarily manifest itself in this form. Law does, however, cut the life of its subjects short. Under this law, people measure time by their existence in the occupied city. Thus, nine years have become a tremendous victory in a city like Jerusalem with its gigantic history. In the ruling regarding the home next to Fatima’s, the margin of victory was narrower, though. “Three years” was all that left for the Palestinian neighbors of Fatima in their own home and period is about to expire at the start of the upcoming spring. Away from the ceremonies commemorating the anniversaries of the catastrophes and defeats that befell the Palestinian people, the Palestinian individual is left on her/his own to count the days under occupation.


Tags: Zionism

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