‘Let’s start from the beginning’

Let’s start from the beginning. It has been 4 days since [the Israelis] invaded Ramallah. They started entering on Friday morning around 4am and it was really like a war. All that you could hear was shaking from the sound of the tanks and helicopters. You thought at the beginning that it was the start of the war. Clashes started. What do you expect? They were entering with tanks, so there was some resistance, but with kalashnikovs, light weapons.

There was so much bombing.

Of course, we have had so many sleepless nights but this was the worst, actually, worse then the ones before. The people were really surprised this time because they started entering all the homes and shooting at anything - even cats on the streets. The sound of tank bombing was unbelievable. And
they demolished something to do with the electricity so there was no electricity and we couldn’t follow the news so we didn’t know what was going on.

They started by destroying the Muqataa’ [Arafat’s Presidential Compound] where Arafat is. So many were injured and killed.

The next morning they started their mission: ‘fighting terrorism’.

We woke up again with the sounds of the tanks.

The Israelis entered neighborhood by neighborhood, calling men from 15-40 to go outside.

There were 6 tanks in my neighborhood. They crashed through 6 cars, they didn’t have to, there was space for their tanks to go past, but they destroyed the cars anyway. They entered my neighbor’s house with their dogs.

In many places they arrested people. They have been entering buildings where there are students, young people. Many Birzeit [University] students living in Ramallah were arrested. They are still arresting people; 500 people have been detained so far.

It’s never silent for more than half an hour at a time. Today was the worst. Near our home a shopping center was almost demolished. They stopped a few meters away from the building and started shelling it from their tanks. They fired more than 12 missiles from a few meters away. Really, it was terrible.

The worst thing is that so many people are living without electricity or water. And the food is finishing. It will be really serious if this continues. Some people are injured, and some are just ill and they need to get to hospital and get treatment. But the Israelis don’t let any ambulances get though to help people.

Yesterday, 5 policemen were just sitting in their place and the Israelis shot them. It was so clear there was no resistance. All the blood was on the floor, not high on the walls. It was clear they were sitting on the floor when they were killed. They showed it on TV. All of them were shot in the head when they were sitting on the floor.

The Israelis entered all the big buildings here with their tanks. But there are so many normal shops in the buildings; normal shops selling cell phones, clothes, computers and other things. They stole things from the shops, computers so many things. They also stole computers from students and turned their homes upside down.

There are a couple things more I would like to say.

The world is seeing what is happening. History is repeating itself. It’s a fascist world. This is fascism, how they [the Israeli soldiers] are dealing with people, detaining them in big schools and interrogating each one, writing numbers on them.

And the shocking thing is this silence about what they are doing.

These Israeli operations are targeting innocent civilians. People are terrified. The Israeli soldiers are shooting everything. Life here has totally stopped; it’s dead.

This is terrorism against civilians. It is organized terrorism by the state and this is even more dangerous than a bunch of people who do things on their own. This is an organized war against a whole people who have no weapons to resist tanks, and helicopters and F16s.

The West always asks about [Palestinian] attacks against civilians. But they must ask what is the cause of these attacks: the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people, which creates so much anger amongst people. Like at the checkpoints, for example. Every day we have to walk 20 minutes and more across the Israeli checkpoint to reach the University. It takes more than a hour to get through and they sometimes arrest people. Even to get to Al Ram - not even Jerusalem - we have to go through the checkpoints.

This is all about civilians. It’s all about humiliation, about punishing a whole people. This is terrorism.

The second thing I think is very important is the official reaction of the Arab regimes which is very disappointing - this is not new, but it’s especially disappointing now when the whole situation has reached a point where everything has been demolished. There were thousands of people in Jordan and Egypt and in other places and they were faced with the Central Security dealing with them as if they are terrorists. They started shooting gas at the students in Amman — not letting them demonstrate.

This might not be important for the West, but…

Also, the Western media is totally biased. There is so much rage and anger here, especially at the last speech by Bush. The Israelis are fighting the Palestinian people, not terrorism. The whole Palestinian nation is imprisoned. What do they expect? This [Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians] will happen, whether we are with it or against it. What do they expect for people living in poverty, in a hopeless situation and with this daily humiliation that everyone feels. Everyone feels so angry about it every day.

And now they are talking about civilians. Until when do the Palestinians have to face all this? I don’t understand it when they talk of the two sides having to stop the violence. When they say that they don’t distinguish between the criminal and the victim.

One of the top 10 armies in the world is invading a civilian city. People here are helpless, they feel like this situation will never end. They are seeing soldiers with all kinds of weapons entering their homes, doing what ever they like. A few days more and people will have nothing to eat. And people are talking about violence between two sides!

I want to add something else.

We don’t have a problem with Jewish people. We don’t claim that the solution is to throw them into the sea. No. The solution is to live together. We are for a solution to the problem of anti-Semitism. But this, what is happening to us here, is not a solution. This is a solution that kicks Palestinians from their houses. They will never find a solution this way because this is not just. We are human beings too.

It has been 53 years since the Nakba [Palestinian Catastrophe]. And now the Israelis elected Sharon, they thought he could bring them security. But if the Israelis thought that by using violence they could shut up the Palestinians they are wrong.

When Israeli society reaches a point when it wants to live with the Palestinians, not as slaves but as equals, then we can live together.

At the end what are they going to do? Are they going to kill the whole Palestinian nation? There are so many examples like Sharon in history and they have always been defeated.

These circumstances now, where people are living under extremely difficult circumstances, it will never lead to anything.