Palestinians in Nablus today lived through a real war. A war you expect to see only in movies. Only difference here: we get to see it and watch for real.
Students just out of schools can be seen walking all over the city streets and in all directions. People felt safe; the Palestinian Police were expected to re-operate in the city again. This was taken as a promise to restore normal life and hence people were finally seen again running everywhere enjoying the first sunny day that replaced a week long rain storm and cold whether.
The army burst in the heart of the city when the curfew was supposed to be lifted and streets were full. What happened next was only supposed to be in the movies.
The three hour special military operation (as was known to be called) ended with killing two bystanders and injuring 22 others.
The sight was horrifying. Loud shooting of heavy artillery was heard just before the shouting of people calling for ambulances. There were screams and shouts from offices and shops which where in the army indiscriminant fire.
Blood filled the streets which became deserted in a very short time. Unfortunately not short enough for some unlucky ones. Two killed and twenty two injured. Properties and vehicles were not also saved.
We later found that the operation targeted the arrest of Tayseer Khaled, a political member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He wasn’t militant nor was he on a wanted list.
Three other men were seen pushed into an armored vehicle. His assistant, a man he was visiting in the same building and a technician who happened to be an-unlucky maintenance routine tour.
The army could have avoided a fancy show-off operation like that unless they are determined to denying us the peaceful approach to a long and brutal one sided war that was declared on us since the occupation began.
It was like watching one of those super fictional movies set in the future where armored vehicles are seen everywhere shooting aimlessly in all directions. Soldiers with black painted faces and pointed heavy guns bursting into a commercial building full of shops and shoppers, their children and elderly.
Our studios are next door to the targeted building. We were listening to the continuous fire but not being able to look down much because we were in the line of the army fire. One of our reporters, Ala Badarneh, was out of the building when the ‘operation’ started and he kept us informed.
As Ala was watching the developing story that was taken place next door to us, he interrupted his own presentation of the news several times to report witnessing people fall from injuries and murder.
We were lucky we only lost one screen which shattered as the tanks used anti-armor missiles to disperse stone throwers! Other people had their vehicles crushed or their display stands burnt kicked by a despiteful soldier for the hell of it.
The more I think about, the more I see determination for hatred by the Israeli government towards us. What else explains the reason why a big and fancy force was used to storm a commercial building full of civilian shoppers in the middle of the daily rush to arrest a man who was not even on the run.
Why arresting him anyway? He was a political leader. He wasn’t militant nor was he known to incite others to be militant. What are the legal grounds here anyway? The army should not have been there in the first place. Occupation is NOT legal.
Was anyone thinking about the mother, the family, or the loved ones of the 16 or 34 years who were killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time?
The truth is the two victims and the 22 injured were actually in the right place at the right time. They were walking in the safety of their own streets at the right time like any other people their age in the whole world. A world that brags about freedom rights. The Israeli army, on the other hand, were in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong circumstances and for the wrong reasons.
It is day 242 since the attack began June 20. We, Palestinians, are still blamed ….. for breathing.
The world is watching, yet has done little.
Amer Abdelhadi lives and works in Nablus. He is general manager of Radio Tariq Al Mahabbeh, TMFM 97.7