Green flags wave from entrances to houses on either side of the street. Hamas flags. 24 hours after the funeral of Abed a-Rahman a-Shaludi, who committed the terror attack in the Jerusalem light rail, the tensions in his village of Silwan are acutely felt and the rally near his home attracts many residents.
"Hamas were the first to take over the event," K., one of the village's leaders, explains the noticeable radicalization in Silwan, "and in that way they appropriated the shahid."
Meanwhile, the rally reaches its climax. One of the Hamas members is making an inciteful speech against Israel and against the settlers who chose to live in the village.
"While the amount of settlers here increases, so is Hamas' popularity," K. explains. "The Hamas men come to children and tell them: 'Look at the Israelis taking our lands,' and that's how they convince them that violent resistance against Israel is the best solution. Israel's giving terrorism a reason to grow."
'A ticking time bomb'
Fatah and Hamas are fighting for control of Silwan, much like in the other villages of East Jerusalem. While tensions between the two Palestinian factions are evident, there's one issue the two sides can agree on - the residents of Silwan are living inside a pressure cooker.
"It's a ticking time bomb," N., one of the prominent activists in the village, explains. "People here feel like they're being backed against the wall with every step. The Jewish takeover of houses, led by the Ir David Foundation (which aims to strengthen the Jewish connection to Jerusalem) and the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva, makes people here understand that resistance is the only option for them - and then the stone becomes a weapon. The youth feel like throwing stones is their only way to express the rage they feel inside. This is the reality they are born into. They don't know anything else anymore."
N. refuses to accept the claim that a different education could affect the way the rioting youth thinks and acts. "The Jews come to us and sit among us, not the other way around," he says. "So what do you want me to do, sit in silence?"
The accusatory finger, however, is pointed at the police, which Silwan's residents say inflames the tensions in the area. "Undercover policemen come in here with masks on and encourage the youth to start throwing stones," N. claims. "As soon as the mess of their own creation starts, they stop it and detain them."
'The settlers scare the kids'
Silwan's residents reject claims of a "Quiet Intifada" in Jerusalem, saying the situation has yet to deteriorate to that point. However, they warn, the spirit of the intifada is already in the air.
"In the end, there will be a moment in which everything explodes," the village's youth claim. "One more death in Silwan, or the destruction of a house here, could be what leads to a third intifada."
They say Hamas is doing everything in its power to flame the tensions in order to encourage a larger-scale violent outburst.
Meanwhile, tensions are felt in every moment and every corner of Silwan. The Palestinians and Jews live alongside each other in the crowded village, which is considered a neighborhood of Jerusalem, and in the best of cases stay out of each other's way. In the worst of cases, their encounters quickly turn into a violent confrontation.
To one side of the street there's a private security jeep, its windshields cracked from stone-throwing, driving by one of the houses with an Israeli flag flying overhead. The entrance to most of the Jewish homes is barred with an electric gate, and many security cameras adorn the outer walls.
On the other side of the road there's a group of idle Palestinian youth eyeing the jeep, with stares full of hate.
"The new settlers that moved in are trying to be like Abu Ali," K. says. "They walk around with tear gas canisters, playing with them so our kids are too afraid to mess with them. That's how the hatred seeping into our youth starts."
'What does Ariel want here?'The residents have already heard of Housing Minister Uri Ariel's intentions to move to Silwan, and they are furious.
"What does he want here?" K. asks. "He just wants to add another fuse that would lead to an explosion."
Meanwhile, a police vehicle passes by with flickering blue lights, slowly driving downhill - towards the mourning tent put up by the terrorist Shaludi's family.
"Right now everything is quiet here," the village's youth explain. "You see there is no rioting? So why are the police here? It just gives youth a reason to start stone-throwing and no one knows how this would end."
Everyone knows Shaludi in Silwan. He has turned into the village's hero, and signs praising the "shahid" can be found everywhere. This is how a role model is created for the youth of Silwan.
"They grow up and remember what they're going through, and are likely to do exactly what Shaludi did," K. says. "I'm sure some of them will."
Despite it all, the residents of Silwan believe they will come up on top in the end.
"The occupation will end," N. and K. say. "The question is how it would happen - and this remains unknown."