The Restrictions on the Temple Mount
Yesterday, as I was waiting for some friends at the entrance to the Old City at the Jaffa Gate, I noticed a group of people quarrelling. I pulled out my camera and approached.Very often in the news do we hear about the Temple Mount being closed to Palestinian men under the age of 50 because of some security concerns, but very little do we know on how it looks like on the ground. For example, it turns out that not only the Haram A-Sharif compound (the Temple Mount) is restricted, but the whole Old City is closed by the police, and only Palestinians who are registered as Old City residents, as well as women and men older than 50 are allowed in (together with Jews and tourists of course).
The footage below is a very banal scene, a story that no news agency would pick; just a group of people, stopped by an arbitrary order, who are very angry. But I think that each of us can imagine himself at this situation: Had I been the Palestinian who needs to go to work, to open my shop in the Old City, when the Israeli policeman stops me, how would I react? Would I be the one who’s so annoyed and loses his temper? Or would I be the one who tries to mediate the dispute (only to find himself powerless in the face of arbitrariness)? Or maybe I would try to wait quietly, to make myself as unnoticed as possible?
And if I were the policeman, would I be the “good cop” who tries to explain to the Arab men why they can’t come in? Or maybe the “bad cop” who seems on the edge of losing his temper and arresting people? Whether I would have been the “good,” or the “bad” in this scene, one thing was for sure: it was all so ugly.