Fire unextinguished

Once a lively city, the Nablus of today is the victim both of geography and racist geopolitics. With its back to the range of hills and few channels of intercourse with the rest of the country, the Israeli military has had little difficulty in isolating the town. A series of checkpoints choke Nablus economically and culturally, stifling what has traditionally been one of Palestine’s most important urban centers. As one of the centers of resistance, both violent and nonviolent, as well as a bastion of Islamist support in the West Bank, Nablus has earned pride of place near the top of the Israeli government’s hit list and has been targeted with great resentment and vitriol. 

Why kill Nino?

14th July 2005 — There was a bombing in central London last week. We’ve just been to the third funeral since then. Two of the dead were children; all were victims of a campaign to kill and to destroy a society and way of life. We’re not in London, we’re in Nablus, Palestine. The Israeli army came into Palestinian streets and opened fire, killing the last three as they’ve killed thousands before. A little over a year ago Mohammed Alassi, 26, also known as Nino, escaped the wreckage of the car that was bombed, killing the Balata Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade leader Kalil Marshood. Nino was killed late last Wednesday night. 

Taa'been Kalil Marshood

Balata Refugee Camp commemorated the first anniversary of the assassination of Kalil Marshood. Perhaps 5,000 people sat in the hot afternoon sun to watch as bands played, youths performed plays, small girls sang, masked wanted-men saluted, fighters fired in the air and women old enough to be grandmothers danced with guns waived aloft, to a backdrop of rousing music and giant banners. The people had gathered in tribute to the life of a twenty four year old newly-wed known and loved as much for his work for his community, particularly with the children of the camp, as for his membership of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. 

Prisons and parties

On May 18, after four weeks in prison, Jaber Dalany (the Palestinian man with meningitis who was arrested at Huwara checkpoint), was finally presented with charges. As expected, the charges are preposterous, not to mention the fact that they all refer to incidents that supposedly happened more than 2 years ago. The first two relate to membership in Hamas (which he and his family deny) and providing food, shelter, and cell phones to “wanted” men (his brother stayed at his house shortly before being arrested a couple years ago). 

Villagers Open Main Street Near Nablus

What was planned as a demonstration became a direct action against the Israeli occupation: Hundreds of villagers and activists from Israel and abroad opened the main street from Nablus to Asira ash-Shamaliya, which has been blocked for many years. After the outbreak of the second Intifada the Israeli Occupation Forces blocked the main street leading from Nablus to the nearby village of Asira. This street connected more than 10’000 people from this town as well as villagers from Talluza, Far’a, Yasid etc. with Nablus. Besides that, this passage – also called “Saba’atash” (“17”) – is part of the route to the bigger towns in the north, Tubas and Jenin. 

Photostory: Nablus' Old City

The West Bank city of Nablus has historically boasted itself as the commercial and business center of Palestine. The West Bank’s largest city, it dates back some 4,500 years. However, Nablus’ economy, cultural heritage, and population have come under attack during the past four years of Israeli violence. Its Old City walls have acquired a new layer of history in the political graffiti and martyr posters honoring the scores of mostly young men from Nablus who have committed suicide bombings or, far more frequently, were killed by Israeli violence. 

Assassination of resistance fighter in Nablus

Today, Thursday afternoon an Israeli undercover commando killed Ibrahim Smeri, 24, a fighter of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, right outside the Balata refugee camp on the outskirts of Nablus. Around 2pm today, two private cars with undercover units dressed in women’s clothes approached Ibrahim Mohammad Mahmoud Smeri Hashash, as he left from Al-Quds street walking towards the southern end of Balata Camp. After being shot, his body was taken by the IOF forces. 

Israeli Occupation Forces Invade Nablus

Nablus, 11 April 2005 — Early this morning, about two dozen jeeps from the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) assisted by a helicopter entered Nablus and surrounded a house on the Jabal Shamaliya, the northern mountain of the town. During the military operation 15 people were arrested, of whom two remain in custody. Six people were injured and taken to Rafidia Hospital, one of them in serious condition. Although today’s military operation was the largest launched by the IOF during the day for the last few months, it might seem that Nablus is “pacified”. Reality looks different. 

Israel provokes Palestinian resistance groups in Nablus, kills two

Since the announcement of the hudna (“cease-fire”), Nablus hasn’t seen anything like a hudna. Almost every night IOF troops enter the city, especially the refugee camps and the old city. Ray Smith reports from occupied Nablus. Last night the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) again showed their committment to what’s currently celebrated as a cease-fire: Mayoub Mureb Al-Qanni and Issam Hamsa Mansour were killed by IOF troops near the village of Kufr Qalil, right outside the West Bank city of Nablus. 

No rest for Nablus during Eid celebrations

Optimism for a period of peace following the elections has been misguided. In Nablus, Israeli military aggression continues as usual. The army made a special effort for Eid celebrations. On 18 January at 9pm a large number of troops entered Nablus in unmarked vehicles and took up positions in the area. Soon after, a group of medics and internationals reached Old Najah Street near the Old City. More army also arrived, in about twenty military vehicles. If anyone approached the soldiers, the result was “access denied” at gunpoint. Israeli occupation forces blew up a house. Many neighbours had not been evacuated and found themselves amidst bursting windows. The explosion flattened the house completely, also causing severe damage to several of his neighbour’s homes.