The one thing you can usually depend on in life is the steady march of time, but of course Jerusalem has its own rules for this as well.
In Palestine (and therefore East Jerusalem) the 1-hour clock change back for winter happened early on Friday morning while in Israel (and West Jerusalem) it happened early on Sunday morning, leaving two days of confused chaos across Jerusalem.
But it’s not a simple East-West question. Let’s be honest, no-one cares about real clocks anymore, we live and die by what our mobile phones tell us. I’m in the East but my phone has an Israeli contract, so the time change only kicked in on Sunday morning. Meanwhile some friends in the West were picking up phone signals from nearby Palestinian neighbourhoods and their phones switched backwards and forwards several times over the course of the day. Confused yet? You wouldn’t want to be planning a massive event with hundreds of people coming from across the city…oh wait!
It’s just another example of something you would never in your wildest dreams consider to be a political issue. It serves no practical purpose to have different time zones running in the same city but when you place people under strict occupation for over seventy years, they start to look for every avenue to ‘do things differently’ and not be dictated to.
Suddenly everything is political. Even the traffic lights. Yep, people will tell you that the reason that we have precisely 6 seconds of green at the new traffic lights leaving Sheikh Jarrah is because the route from West Jerusalem across to the major settlement of Ma’ale Adumin is a priority route, so they are simply worthy of more green than us. Wow, conspiracy theory? Possibly! Extremely annoying on a day-to-day basis: absolutely.
When I started this blog last year, I remember saying ‘this isn’t a political blog, and I won’t be commenting on the occupation’. There was a backlash against my naivety, and yes, they were right. Everything is political. The lack of recycling bins, food (the hummus war is real), the buildings, the absence of buildings, every spade that goes into the ground, the trees.
The list goes on and that’s why even on a quiet week when I’m thinking I might not have a blog for this week there is always something crazy happening in this place, something worth calling out or commenting on. This week it was clocks and traffic lights.
Where have you found unexpected politics in Jerusalem? I’d love to hear the crazy, bizarre or downright astonishing.