The last thing I did before leaving the office yesterday was writing a press release about the five Palestinians found dead in Taiboun building by Dubai bureau chief Maher Shalabi. His story was confirmed by Michael Holmes of CNN.
When I got home, Ghadir, my cousin called me. She lives in Ramallah and called me to find out about the whereabouts of the brother of her flatmate. He has been missing since the afternoon and they were afraid that he was killed, injured, or arrested. I made some phone calls and Hanan, one of our lawyers, just informed me that he was found. He had been hiding somewhere.
Now, I am back in the office. The telephone rings continuously. I called Hassib, my colleague, who is now at Qalandia checkpoint with a group of international solidarity activists, trying to reach Ramallah. “Ten people have been killed [in Ramallah] so far”, says Amer, while talking to his mobile phone. I call my cousin to find out the latest news and that the brother of her flatmate has been located.
According to reports we received at the office from Ramallah, more than fifty tanks are positioned in the center of town. Reports say Israeli soldiers are continuing their house-to-house raids, arresting young Palestinian men. Israeli forces have damaged Ramallah extensively. Cars have been smashed, pavements destroyed.
‘Yes, we have electricity again’, says my cousin. ‘Yesterday, it was cut off for about twenty hours, I was afraid to use my mobile phone in case the batteries would ran out. Now I can recharge it again.’
A report from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society from Ramallah confirms that Israeli forces continue to prevent medical personnel from evacuating injured people in Ramallah.
Yesterday, Israeli forces detained Arkan Khader, a paramedic in an ambulance belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Two patients were in the ambulance. Dr. Wa’el Qa’dan, manager of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, reported that Israeli forces dismantled the ambulance. That same day, at noon, Israeli forces arrested paramedics Khaled Abu Ghosh, Zuhdi Abdel Hafez, Firas Samara and Lu’ay Radad while they were evacuating the wounded. Israeli forces confiscated the ambulance and used it to break into residential homes in the old city of Ramallah.
At around 12 am on Saturday, March 31, 2002, Israeli forces entered Kobar village, northwest Ramallah. They broke into homes and rounded up citizens in the center of the village, near the cemetry. More than one hundred persons are still being held there. The village has been occupied with around eighteen military vehicles, including military jeeps and armed personnel carriers. A curfew has been imposed on the village.
- both pictures: AP Photo/Jerome Delay