Life in Rafah - March 2, 2002

I set out to Rafah with Mahmud from work on mid-Thursday. The route to Rafah crosses two roads used exclusively by Israeli settlers, which for us Palestinian kinfolk entails long waits at military checkpoints. On this day we managed to only spend about 30-45 minutes waiting in the sun, as once a few scheduled Eged busses full of Israeli settlers passed, we were free to cross in our taxi. 

Life in Gaza, Week 1, Feb 28, 2002

So far Gaza life has been rather uneventful. The entry was still intimidating, as passing through the Erez Checkpoint is like entering a maximum security jail. I was a little shaken as I walked up to the Israeli guardpost, noticing at my feet one of the telltale ‘Sarajevo Roses’ - a shell hit that peels pavement in the shape of a flower. 

Diary of the Invasion of Ramallah

There was an announcement on Al-Jazeera (news station based in Qatar) that foreign governments were evacuating their essential personnel in Ramallah. The Israeli government warned them that they were planning another incursion into the West Bank towns, beginning with Ramallah. Several friends asked me if I wanted to leave, but I decided against it. I just moved here and I’m tired of going back and forth between Ramallah and Jerusalem. 

Another day, just another day

I came back after a visit to the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Tel Aviv. We went with eight Dutch citizens, to present a petition, signed by twenty-six Dutch nationals, who are working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, most of them with humanitarian and human rights organizations, to pressure the Dutch government to end the humanitarian disaster in Palestine. 

Plunder in Ramallah

Evidence is mounting that the Israeli Army is stealing people’s belongings as they search homes. Even the very precious stores of foods that remain in Ramallah are being plundered. We have been hearing about this since the begining of this occupation on Friday the 29th of March, 2002. 


Alarm, wake up. beepbeepbeep. My hand hits an unfamiliar bedside table, no alarm. My mobile phone. Groggy with not having slept properly in days, feels like weeks. But alert - the exhaustion of adrenaline pushing through my veins, coffee and wine dried on my lips. I can hardly remember what my own bed feels like. 

Ramallah, without water

The water issue is still outstanding in Ramallah. This morning the water crew was able to visit the pumping station after a lot of coordination with Israeli DCO (district coordinating office), even though most times even this coordination does not guarantee protection from Israeli soldiers and tanks. But the situation is so tense they tried to get some assurances that the Palestinian repair crew would not be injured. 


After sleeping at 2am we were startled at 4:45am to an Israeli tank which positioned in front of the National Insurance Building on Jerusalem Road. The Israeli soldiers opened fire on god only knows what. It continued for over 30 minutes then we could hear the Israeli soldiers laughing and giggling while banging or tearing down street signs and the like…a lot of metal was being banged. 

Just another day

Like if it is just another day, I arrive at the office in East Jerusalem. The a-Ram checkpoint was calm this morning after the demonstration of yesterday, ‘only’ about 45 cars were waiting to be checked. My identity was checked like every other pedestrian crossing the checkpoint on foot. 

These children, again

Yesterday, late afternoon, just before I left the office, a colleague in Beit Jala informed me that the children, who lost their mom, 64 years old Sumaya, and her son Khaled yesterday, and the bodies have been evacuated. The children have been in the bathroom of their home in the old city of Bethlehem for two days, since Ambulances and medical personnel, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been prevented access by the Israeli forces, despite the desperate humanitarian crisis.