RAMALLAH, Aug 11 (JMCC) - Dina's cafe, located in East Jerusalem, has become a respite for people across the socio-political divide of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Its clientele includes a broad-base of Israelis and Palestinians that enjoy its rich coffee and diverse atmosphere.
It is the only place in town where a former Hamas minister for Jerusalem, hiding out in the nearby Red Cross headquarters as he fights deportation from his native city, rubs shoulders with a former Fatah minister for Jerusalem -- while the Israeli police official responsible for enforcing legal actions against both of them sips his coffee at an adjoining table.Read
Dina's is strategically placed midway between two symbols of conflicting claims to sovereignty in this divided city: the shuttered Orient House headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the barbed wire, armed guards and electronic gates of the Israeli Ministry of Justice. Israeli lawyers and their clients meet at Dina's to go over testimony before heading off to the Israeli District Court on the corner. Palestinians demonstrating in support of Sheikh Raed Salah, the Islamic Movement leader recently sentenced to jail at the District Court for spitting at a police officer, drop by for strong coffee before heading home.
Orient House officials exchange the latest gossip over double-strength espressos. Muslim women in full hijab sit alongside young Jewish women in strapless tops. The last Israeli military governor of Hebron sips a cappuccino, while at nearby tables foreign diplomats from the nearby offices of the Spanish Cooperation Agency and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency tuck into sweet desserts.
On Friday afternoons, exhausted left-wing Israeli and Arab demonstrators throw down their placards and take shelter here to recover from their beatings by Israeli police at the nearby protests against the Israeli takeover of Arab homes in Sheikh Jarrah. A few minutes later, the police officers who beat them flop down at a nearby table. They see eye to eye on very little, but the house rules at Dina's forbid noisy confrontation. All sides agree on ice-cold lemonade...
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