Updated: Feb 7
This is our second time at a Friday afternoon demonstration in Umm al-Fahm. This time we arrived at prayer time. Hundreds of men kneeling on the prayer rugs and praying to Allah as Sheikh Mishor Fawzi leads the prayer against violence into the microphone.
My column /Nurit Sharett
This time we are a larger group of 'Mothers Against Police Violence' and we already have among us two local mothers with yellow vests - Kaukab (star) and Narjis (narcissus). Buses arrived from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, people who came to protest together and erase this separation of them and us.
Kaukab and Narjis
Many hundreds or maybe thousands of people marched together calling at a steady pace in Arabic and Hebrew to the police station. 'Police go home''Our children's blood is precious to us' 'Umm al-Fahm needs to be cleaned' and other cries that I did not understand and also one song that everyone sang together. If I believed it was possible to sing from the heart and not from the mouth, I would say the sang from the deepest place in their heart.
I was crammed between a lot of people I didn't know. Singing and calling slogans that I didn't completely understand. I felt I was in the right place. I felt the pain and the rage. These are not songs and rhymes written especially for today, but a cry of pain that pierces the heart.
This time there were at least twice as many men and women. It was no longer a small choir of women on the side, but a large group order that did not stop calling out loud.
And on the other hand there were almost no policemen. No cops watching from the fence nor a line of cops preventing the crossing. On the contrary, the police station commander and another officer stood and heard the shouts of the crowd against them: "Resign, resign." The rage grew and the officers stood and listened in an astonishing manner until the protesters left the place and came down the hill.
But instead of dispersing home everyone marched together towards the junction of Umm al-Fahm and Route 65 shouting and waving pictures of the murdered. Now it is the time to reveal that last Friday, I took two onions and a pocket knife in a plastic bag inside my handbag. In case tear gas is thrown at us. The demonstration ended quietly and this time I left the onions at hime. When we started walking toward the junction I was a litte sorry. But a few moments later I forgot about the onion and the caution. I did not see any policemen on the horizon. As if this time someone decided to let people demonstrate without interfering. And once again we realised that when there are no police in the area, the demonstration takes place and disperses peacefully.
The road was empty of car traffic and only men stood in a circle and shouted loudly, with some particularly
even louder moments when everyone clapped their hands over their heads at a steady pace while shouting.
The women stood aside separately.
Ater a while the protestors evacuated the junction and everyone marched back toward the city.
A group of people stayed in the square and there I talked to some young girls who asked who I was. I told
them about 'Mothers Against Police Violence' and they thanked me for coming. One woman, Kita, told us about
her brother who was murdered in the summer. A 30 year old father of four. She is in tears and we are with her.
And right beside her Nargis, who told of a murdered relative. And so almost everyone I spoke to told of a
We stood at the entrance to the city perched on a mountain ridge and from below at noon we do not hear the
shots they tell of, but an invisibles cloud of grief covers the city.
Kaukab invited us to her home for lunch. Ketty, JUde, Nava and I rode together with Nargis in the narrow alleys
up the mountain.
On the table a huge bowl full of stuffed vine leaves was waiting for us. One of my favourite foods that reminds
me of distant friendships in Hebron and Nablus. We sat together and spoke out of an obvious sense of
closeness. Six women who have been joined by the protest and are looking for a way to create a change.
And when I got home, "dam awaladna rally aleinah" (our children's blood is precious to us) kept buzzing in my head.