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News :: International
From Nablus Under Seige
by Rabab Abdulhadi
04 Jan 2004
CALL TO ACTION Jan 4th and 5th
"We are not two different sides. We are rather one in our common struggle for justice in Palestine, for an end to the occupation, for peace for all."
Nablus has been under siege for the last 10 days while Balata refugee
camp has been under siege for the last 18 consecutive days. We have just
heard that every single entrance/exit to Balata has been sealed off
completely. No food or medicine is allowed in.
Medical relief teams are being obstructed and at times completely prevented from passing through.
Activists from ISM (the International Solidarity Movement) were attacked
while carrying out their missions to observe and bear witness on what
the Israeli occupation authorities are brutalizing the Palestinian
population. Beit Foreek has been completely sealed off; its mayor
reports that there are signs of starvation.
Two men and a boy were killed by Israeli military fire since this
morning. The first, Amjad Bilal Masri is a 15 year old boy who was shot
while standing in front of his house. The sniper bullet hit Amjad in the
back. He died on his way to the hospital. The second is Amer Kathym Arafat who
was also shot in the back by a sniper bullet. The third is Rouhi Hazem
Shouman, 25, who was also shot in the back by a sniper. Ms. Majida Masri,
spokeswomen for the Coordinating Committee of Palestinian Political Faction, called
a couple of minutes ago on all Nabulis who are able to get to Rafidiya
Hospital to defy the curfew and join the families of the martyrs in a
collective funeral for the three.
"They were all shot in the back by cowardly snipers. Their only crime was to refuse to succumb to Israeli
occupation designs to empty Palestine from its people."
Reports from Balata indicate that a deliberate starvation campaign is
being carried by the Israeli military which has sealed off the Camp and
refuses to allow food and medicine to get through every single allyway, formal or
informal entrances. A few days ago, the Israeli military shot and injured 4 people who were walking a funeral for an old woman who passed away. No demonstrations or political events were taking place in or around the
The siege of the old city of Nablus and its neighborhoods (Yasmeeneh,
Qaryoun, Habaleh) has been intensified since December 30, 2003. The
Israeli military claims that they were looking for the leader of the Aksa
Martyrs Brigade, Abu Sharkh. They took his brother and wife as hostages, paraded
the wife in a jeep in the old city and forced to call out to her husband
over loud speakers to surrender in return for her freedom. She has been
released only yesterday. No one can get into the old city, but Dr. Ghassan Hamdan
of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committee, who is in the old
city has called on the whole world to immediately intervene to support the
people of Nablus.
He condemned media outlets for neglecting to cover what's
going on, including the largest Palestinian daily, Al-Quds, which has not
reported on what's going in Nablus in its front page. Dr. Hamdan
criticized the Palestinian Authority who have not done anything to aid
Nablus and demanded that "Abu Alaa, the Palestinian Prime Minister, hold
a ministrial meeting in Nablus to highlight the horrible conditions the
city is experiencing under this brutal Israeli campaign."
We have just heard explosions in the old city. It was in Qaryoun
neighborhood inside the Abdelhadi Palace that houses 75 people. The
Palace, built 400 years ago, is a waqf, endowed by Mahmoud Abdelhadi for the use
of Abdelhadi women who have no place to live and no sources of income
(widows, single women who do not work or have no income, and women whose main
breadwinners are disabled). The Israeli military has ordered the 75
people to vacate the palace at 3:30 in the mooring and left them out in the
cold. Mr. Aslan, a neighbor, invited took in all the 75 people and offered
them hospitality and warmth. The families are scattered throughout the old
city (before the more strict siege) and unable to go home. Dr. Mahdi
Abdelhadi, Director of PASSIA, has gone to the Israeli supreme court. The Court
ordered an injunction against the destruction of the Palace but the military
appealed the decision and received a permission from the court to
destroy this historic building "if security needs call for such action." This also
requires your immediate attention.
Nablus has been split again into two parts near Maha's Gate, which is
names after Mrs. Maha Nimr who lived nearby and whose son has been arrested
and is currently being interrogated in Ofer settlement prison (near Ramallah);
no family members or lawyers are allowed to see him until the
"interrogation is completed."
"Tora Bora," as the residents call it, is the mount of dirt Israeli
occupation army has compiled near the destroyed Governate of Nablus (as
well as the prison that was bombed with prisoners inside in 2002 resulting in
the killing of 10 Palestinian policemen who were guarding the prison). Tora
Bora literally separates the two parts of the city and no one can come or go
without risking being shot at by the Israeli military. Children
(including my own nephew Ibrahim and nieces Widad, Noura, and Nada who live in the
eastern part beyond Tora Bora) have been risking their lives to get to
school to take their final exams. Ibrahim, 10 year old, and other kids
almost got killed on December 23, 2003 as he tried to get home. He was
finally able to reach his home a few hours later and only after the
international media, medical relief workers, my other brother, Amer, and
Amal, my sister-in-law and Ibrahim's mother risked their lives, argued
with the soldiers and insisted on getting all the kids home across a
Mustapha Barghouti has described the bloody campaign against Nablus as a
"real war on this city whose other name, the Mountain of Fire, has basis in the steadfastness
of Palestinians and their refusal to allow the Israeli military to break
the Palestinian collective will to continue struggling for their rights."
"There is a completely news blockage of what's going in Nablus," Barghouti
added, explaining that lack of news coverage has to do with "the negligence of
the Palestinian Authority, PA, to assume its responsibility for the
protection of the population."
"Instead," Barghouti added, "the PA is wasting time
and energy in useless meetings with the Israeli occupation government that
is intent on destroying our people's will."
Reporter's Note: This report is partly drawn from word of mouth of
relatives and friends, and partly from Radio Tariq Mahabbeh (you can listen to the
radio station at www.tmfm.net). For interviews and more information, you
may call Amer Abdelhadi at (+972-59-371-372) and Tariq Mahabbeh at (+972 57
You can also reach me (no later than 9:30 p.m.) at (+972 9 237
Please bear with us; phone lines and internet connections are not
working as well as we are told they should.
The People of Nablus appeal to you to declare today (Saturday, Jan.
3rd), tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 4th), and Monday, Jan. 5th international
days in solidarity with the people in Nablus and Palestine.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
(1) Contact Israeli offices around the world and demand an immediate
lift to the siege! For a list of Israeli embassies around the world,
please see: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/israel1.htm
(2) Call media outlets and ask why they are ignoring the news of Nablus,
Balata and Beit Foreek.
(3) Organize protests outside Israeli government offices calling for an
end to the occupation.
(4) Demand that governments around the world hold Israel accountable for
its actions that violate every single standard of international and
human rights law.
(5) Call for divestment from companies that conduct business with
(6) WRITE LETTERS!
Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister pm_eng (at) pmo.gov.il
Shaul Mofaz, Minister of Defense sar (at) mod.gov.il
Sallai Meridor, Chairman of the Executive, World Zionist
Organization/Jewish Agency sallaim (at) jazo.org.il
Josh Schwarcz, Secretary General, The Jewish Agency joshs (at) jazo.org.il
Itzhak Elyashive, Director-General, Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemeth
LeIsrael info (at) kkl.org.il
Copy to the following UN Special Rapporteurs:
Mr. John Dugard, SR on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian
territories dtopali.hchr (at) unog.ch
Mr. Miloon Kothari, SR on the Right to Adequate Housing
cmoller (at) ohchr.org
Mr. Jean Ziegler, SR on the Right to Food dbhagwandin (at) ohchr.org
(7) For Israeli and Jewish groups who refuse to let Israel brutalize
Palestinians in their name, in particular, we send you the warmest
greetings of solidarity and support. We know that you do not condone these ugly
and brutal actions; we are conscious that you are not part of this racist
and colonialist policy.
We are not two different sides. We are rather one in
our common struggle for justice in Palestine, for an end to the occupation,
for peace for all. Together with all those fighting for justice everywhere,
we will create a transformative world; for we dare to imagine the
This work is in the public domain