Tag Archives: inequality

A little trip to the Mall

I do not like Malls. I do not like the visual overload. I like to go into a shop, buy what I need and get out as soon as I can.

However, a Mall is handy. There are several (or many) different shops at the same place. It spares time.

So today, I had to buy three little things in three different shops. Therefore, I went to the Mall. The infamous Mall, where 80 Jewish adolescent tried to lynch two Palestinian youngsters from the nearby refugee camp.

Just to get out of the camp, even for a walk through a Jewish (racist) neighborhood is a kind of distraction. It was in April or March 2008 – on the official Holocaust Rememberance Day! –

When this occurred – and right in front of the Mall. I wrote about this some time ago.

At my arrival at the Mall, I went through the security check, which, as in every Mall in Israel is quite serious. It’s not only a check of your bags and a short check with a hand-metal detector, but one has to go through a door like x-ray metal detector. A normal “security check” is going through the metal detector and, depending on how you look and on the mood of the (private) security guard. Sometimes they wave you through, without checking your bags, especially for people like me, who definitely do not “look Arab”. Something that NEVER happens to a Palestinian woman (or man); their bags are ALWAYS thoroughly checked.

My “neighborhood” lies over the Green Line and is formally a settlement, but not treated as such, as Jerusalem “annexed” these territories in East Jerusalem in 1968. Only in the 1980s, 1990s and from then on continuously, Jewish neighborhoods were built.

“My” neighborhood is therefore in the middle of at least four or five Arab neighborhoods, villages and a refugee camp. There is no doubt – “they” were there before “us”, and “we” came to live amongst “them”.

Nevertheless, my “neighbors” don’t like to see Arabs in “our” neighborhood. It’s very clear and even openly said and written in local newsletters.

So, at the Mall, just after the check, I remembered that I wanted to smoke a cigarette – and told it to the security guard, so that I won’t have to go a second time through the check. This is a very usual practice.

I wasn’t in a hurry. I smoked my cigarette slowly, absently observing the checking right next to me. One obviously pregnant Jewish woman entered the Mall without going through the x-ray. This is a very usual practice. If you’re pregnant (obviously or not), you don’t have to go through the x-ray, if you don’t want to.

But then came a group of young Palestinian women, in hijab and Islamic dress. As usual, they had to show their ID card (something that Jews, also, don’t have to do), their bags thoroughly checked. Four of them got through, but the fifth and last one didn’t want to go through the x-ray, saying that she was pregnant.

I saw that this was going to be difficult, as the guards insisted that she goes through it nevertheless.

Then I approached and told the guard that pregnant Jewish women never had to go through the x-ray (which he tried to deny), that I had just seen a few minutes ago that he allowed a Jewish pregnant woman to pass without it.

The guard insisted that she should go through, that anyway – the x-ray was “nothing”. Again, I told him that Jewish women never pass through this – and why they can do this, if really it’s “nothing”. The guard became a bit nervous and confused, not knowing what he should do. A Palestinian man came along, maybe her husband, speaking perfectly Hebrew, saying assertively: “She is pregnant!”

Miracle! He guards let her pass the other way, NOT through the x-ray… One exception out of many others who have no choice than to go through it, if they want to enter the mall.

As I knew that with my intervention I had made myself suspicious, I went again through the full check, although the guards knew that I had just come back to smoke, and that they had already checked me before. But now they checked my bags more thoroughly than before!

After passing, I said to the guard: “You know, if she really had been a terrorist, she would have dressed as Jewish woman, and not come with friends, with hijab and Islamic dress.” – His reply: “You never know…” – Me: “But she’s a human being, it can as well be true (that she is pregnant)” – Reply: “Well, we see that a bit differently – and concerning security… (Meaning: Who cares about a Palestinian baby, if you want to be sure that no Jews are in danger…) – I still insisted a bit about the humanness of Palestinians, and received more and more aggressive looks, expressions of doubt, and the advice not to disturb their work and not to try to teach them HOW to do their job…

There is absolutely NOTHING special about this incident. It’s completely usual. In writing this, I don’t intend to prove that Israel is increasingly racist. This is known everywhere and supported by countless testimonies. Mine is just another one. An attempt to document what happens here – in small and in “big” every single day…

Arabs, after all, are not quite as “human” as “we” are, and they are perfectly capable to blow up their friends, their babies, their toddlers, their husbands – because, “as everyone knows” their “only wish is to kill us”… – No further comment.