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Issawiya vendor pays personal price for riots (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 05/16/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/Features/InThespotlight/Article.aspx?id=270107 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
The colored spray that the security forces use to break up protests in east Jerusalem has a bitter taste, especially in cucumbers. That’s what Muhammed Muhuna has learned after owning Sally’s Vegetables on the main street in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya for the past two years. When police spray the substance at demonstrators, made to both disperse the protest as well as identify protesters by colored ink, Muhammed Muhana’s vegetable kiosk sometimes gets caught in the crossfire.

When the political situation is quiet, Muhana’s central location means business is booming. But as soon as the local kids show up with rocks in their hands, Muhana closes the wire screening around his kiosk and hopes it will end quickly.

He estimates that every riot, which usually last around three hours, he loses approximately NIS 1,000. If the rioting gets really bad, he closes up shop, hopefully before the spray has reached his produce. “It’s just not worth it to clean,” he said. Tear gas leaves a slightly acidic taste sometimes, but it’s not as bad as the spray, he explained.

On Tuesday, as kids as young as five hurled stones at soldiers up the road and a number of Arab residents accidentally walking down the street, Muhana shrugged his shoulders. Yes, Issawiya residents have been injured by the kids throwing stones, but no one asked them to stop, he said. “They don’t have anything to do, just throwing stones,” said Muhamed Muhaisesen, Muhana’s uncle who sometimes helps out in the vegetable shop.

Muhana is one of many business owners in east Jerusalem’s hot spots who find themselves paying a personal price for political clashes. He has to budget for violent demonstrations and tear gas-tinged peppers the same way he budgets for a delivery of rotten tomatoes. Tuesday’s demonstrations for Nakba Day were quieter than expected, and Muhana decided to keep the shop open, though he was empty for most of the morning.

Towards noon, Muhana received some good news. Neighborhood youth trying to block the road by burning wooden pallets were broken up as police arrested a fifth suspect. Women outside the suspect’s home swore and spit at the security forces who took the teenager away. Muhana refused to reveal his political opinions, but he was happy about one thing: with the youth dispersed, the daily potato delivery would be able to get through. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/16/12)


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