Weekenden i Ramallah 19-23.september 2002
Fra Sam Bahour, Forretningsmand i Ramallah
What more is there to write. Today is our 4th day under 24-hr lockdown and their is no indication that this curfew will be lifted tomorrow. As you are seeing on TV the Israelis are proceeding to do what they know best – destroy!
Personally, I’m not surprised. As the first article below, “Fruitless Foursome” explains, the world community started to set the end game – one that, as weak as it is, Israel has no intention of accepting, so it is expected that they will create a new reality – something that they are experts at. Also, as the last three articles in this message show, Israel’s economy is starting to show the pains of occupation, and thus, we should expect Sharon to escalate his
tyranny against us in order to move domestic attention of Israelis to an external problem – today it is Palestinians, tomorrow Iraq, the next day Syria, and so on.
As I write (6pm Sat), thick black smoke billows above Arafat’s headquarters compound. Something is on fire but we cannot tell what. The wind is moving the smoke clouds over all of Al-Bireh. Also, we can hear explosions in the city.
For the last two nights we have returned to the escalation we lived through this past April. At around 3 pm the unmanned plane starts wizzing overhead, out of sight but making a wizzing sound for hours on end. A nerve wrecking tactic. At 9pm the Apache helicopters, usually 2-3, start flying at low altitudes over Ramallah and Al-Bireh. They stay in the air overhead for 1-2 hours. Then the tanks and APC’s rumble through the streets. The children are horrified. Parents are in deep depression.
Last night the IDF destroyed what remains of Arafat’s headquarters. The windows of our house shook with each explosion. The number of tanks roaming the streets are three-fold now. We can hear the Israeli soldiers on loudspeakers at night calling for all in Arafat’s headquarters to surrender. Every hour or so during the night a tank fires a shell at the headquarters. We now sleep during the late morning hours after day break when it is relatively more quiet.
Before the last suicide bombing I hope it was reported that a 10 year old was shot in the chest with 6 tank machine gun shells in front of Al-Amari refugee camp (a few minutes from my home). His name was Abdel Salam Sumerin. We heard the barrage of gunfire and heard the ambulances but only learned of his death via the media. Some say he ventured out of the curfew to but his father cigarettes from the refugee camp store, others say he threw a stone at a 60-ton tank — it does not rally matter to me – he did not deserve to die, any more than the Israelis on the bus in Tel Aviv did later that afternoon.
In a separate, similar incident, a Palestinian girl was wounded in Kafr Usserin near Nablus after residents who have been under curfew for over two months confronted soldiers.
As we ration our supplies and try to fill the long days Areen asked me a question while I was sitting on our outdoor veranda staring at the Pesgot settlement (where my family has land that was confiscated). She asked, “Dad, do the settler kids go to school when we are under curfew.” I explained that they did, knowing that the Israeli media machine will one day say, see they teach their kids to hate us!
My wife is worried she says it looks like this is as bad as it can get – no school, no supplies, no work… I tell her to be thankful – we sill have running water and electricity. I wonder what Sharon and Peres will tell their people after Arafat is long gone and we still demand our freedom and an end to occupation…more importantly, I wonder when the Israeli public will stop believing their myths.
I pass the following materials with the hope that a cumulative effort will one day bring the occupation tumbling down like Apartheid before it.
Fra Rita Giacamann, der er sociolog og lærer på Bir Zeit Universitet :
It has been so stressful again here in Ramallah, not only strict curfew and the sounds of bombing and shooting basically all night, but today, emergency has meant that many people, simple ordinary citizens, are in a serious need of assistance:
– two old people on their own right behind the Muqata’a (the president’s compound) with all their home’s glass shattered because of the detonations of the past two days, swimming in dust. The woman has just come out of hospital and now she has an attack of coughing and they need to be evacuated to their son’s house, but they cannot even step out, and the ambulance is not allowed to reach their area by huge tanks that threaten to shoot
– the old father of a doctor friend and his wife going through the April like detonations all over again now in September, and right next door, shattering the glass of their home for the 10th time probably, and still thinking that we have to withstand all this as there is no other choice. He insists on keeping himself and his wife seated or in bed, and not hiding in the supine position on the floor when detonations takes place, as he finds the thought of dying while lying on the floor like that totally indignant! The last time in April the stress was so high this father went into the heart attack mode in the middle of the night. His son, the doctor, stayed on the line with the wife, the doctor’s mother, through the night, and nothing that we did could get the ambulance or
anyone else to that area up till 8 am. He was lucky enough to survive. While he was in hospital, the army came at night again and bulldozed the pavement infront of his house and the house’s front wall and brought the rubble right to the front door. In the morning, the mum was very shocked to find out that she could not open the front door, but the thing that made her angriest and saddest was the destruction of her garden, including her precious Yasmineh (her jasmin plant).
– the wife of a friend with their house occupied by the army, phones taken away and no contact with the outside world. She and 3 little girls stuck inside one room, locked up, the husband in Jerusalem finding out about the occupation of his house from neighbors who still have phones, feeling terrible about the wife and his knowledge that the children have no milk. Several homes have been occupied in that area, but I do not know the exact number. I know of at least 5-6
– others with not much food at home any more and not knowing what to do, with tanks right infront of the houses, constant bulldozing and bombing and that dust, but day and night. We can even see the dust cloud coming up after a detonation and after we go through the shock of the noise which resonnates right through the Wadi and shakes our windows. With the sound, we rush out to the veranda and watch that awful dust cloud, going high up, above the building that stand on the hill and separates us from the Muqata’a area, where whatever is left of the president’s compound lies.
– The sound of my 6 year old nephew crying just after a blast today, a crying of an abnormal sort, of a child’s desparation at no longer being able to cope with what is happening around him any more. The family ran out of milk and very soon, even bread.