The phone line went dead

The phone line went dead. The land line. Cut. The battery on her mobile phone went dead hours ago; she hasn’t had electricity for two days. Before the lines cut we could tell her where the tanks are in Ramallah. Where they tanks were moving. Ask her how much food she had left, how long her supplies might last. She could call other people in Ramallah, and find out where the Israeli troops were. The loud noises, the shelling, how close is it? What has been hit? Where are they?

She can’t leave her house, she does know that there are snipers outside.

We had told her that the Israeli army had announced that this invasion could take weeks. Months. But now the lines are dead, no electricity, no information. The tanks are storming around, the shelling is still loud around her, yet-

She doesn’t know that the water in some areas has been cut by the Israeli invasion troops. We can’t tell her to fill anything she has with water. It could be days, weeks. But maybe her water has already been cut. Maybe she had a couple of water bottles in the fridge, perhaps not.

She doesn’t know that the troops are coming into her area of Ramallah now. That they are going house to house, pulling people out. We can’t stay on the phone and talk her through what she should say, what she should do. How she should repeat over and over again, as the soldiers bang or shoot or break
her door down - that she is a woman, alone in the house, and has no weapons. I am a woman, I am alone, and I have no weapons. Do not hurt me. Do not hurt me.

We can’t tell her that no matter how scared, she has to stay near the door as they come in, and be there when they enter. Be visible. Don’t hide, it might be worse.

But it has now been over two hours since the lines cut. One hour since the reports of the Israeli soldiers going house to house in her area of Ramallah, one hour since we found out that another friend’s house has been taken over and occupied. Just down the street.

And now, we are the ones who don’t know what is going on, how she is. If she has water, if she has food, and – when the soldiers stormed into her house - if she said the right thing.

Note: this entry was originally composed the second day of the siege, but the insecurity, water and electricity cuts, as well as house searches, are unfortunately still very current - AB