Piano and keyboards : Yshani Perinpanayagam
The East Jerusalem neighborhood Issawyia is home to about 20,000 Palestinians. For decades it has known over-policing and police harassment with armored vans strolling down its narrow streets, heavily armed men searching passerby at junctions, checkpoints and at times complete closures imposed on its main entrances.
All of this intensified in 2019 after the instalment of a new head of Jerusalem district police - Doron Yadid. Under his leadership the Jerusalem district police embarked on an intensive “operation” in Issawyia, which included hundreds of arrests, most of which led to no charges, enormous physical pain and mental stress and the killing of 20 year old unarmed Mohammed Obeid.
For months Israeli activists from ‘Free Jerusalem’ activist group, myself included, held solidarity shifts every night to stand with the residents, and film the police.
This piece is composed of videos taken in these shifts (except for a segment taken from the Israeli Police youtube channel). Instead of focusing on the many explosions of physical violence that we witnessed (and at times were target of), the piece tries to capture the mental state of waiting for violence to erupt, a stress which I only experience for short periods of time, and which is for many an almost permanent state of mind.
Video credits: Yuval Avraham, Guy Tepper, Uri Agnon
For more information about the 2019-2020 police attacks on Issawyia see this B'Tselem report.