Monday, July 31, 2006

A Little Tense

Things are getting a little tense here since the Qana bombings. Yesterday we went to Jafer's, a grocery store over in Beit Hanina, a neighborhood on the Palestinian side of town. I like the drive over there, because unlike Jerusalem, which has a sort of European feel to it, Beit Hanina feels more middle eastern. There is a bridge you cross under and suddenly you are in the Middle East. Plus, Jafer's is one just of my favorite places to shop because they carry a lot of western goods and are generally pretty nice. They seem to have a more western idea of customer service, meaning that they don't yell at you for shopping there. If you have shopped on the west side of town, you know how nice that is!

The place is normally packed, and most of the cars in front have diplomatic plates. But yesterday, the store was virtually empty, with lots of empty parking spaces in front. The owners of the store were friendly but seemed a little tense, and even I was a bit ill at ease. It is the first time I have ever been nervous there.

There are demonstrations scheduled for 7 pm in front of the main part of the consulate tonight, and we have all been advised not to have our cars there. The demonstrators are supposed to be left-wing activists, protesting the war I imagine. More demonstrations are on tap for tomorrow, this time from the settlers marking the one year anniversary of the pullout from Gaza, coupled with the Jewish holiday mourning the destruction of the first and second temples. In the meantime, I have noticed an increase in the police and IDF presence around town, something they always do when they are on high alert.

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