Faculty, staff and students of Birzeit University

As you have already heard and seen on television, scores of people have been arrested over the past few days, and many homes were invaded. This catastrophe did not spare the Birzeit University community, be it the students, the faculty or the staff. Due to the curfew and the disconnection of phone lines and electricity, the below information is all we were able to get concerning our staff, faculty and students. 

Ramallah is without water

The situation in Ramallah is as follows: many parts of the town continue to be without water. Even with the problems of water solved, it will not reach most homes because 6 out of 9 electrical feeding stations are down. No electricity means no water, no sewage pumping (serious for public health) and no ovens can work to bake bread, among other problems. 

A demonstration at the checkpoint

I need water. I was just caught in teargas. We were at a demonstration before the checkpoint (the one that was previously known as the Ram-checkpoint). Thousands of protesters, Palestinians (a huge number from “inside”), Israeli’s, Italians, French, Dutch, Belgians, Swiss, and other foreigners, and a lot of international media (probably because they are prevented from covering Israel’s assaults on Palestinian cities) were present. 

When Malek Called

We have no bread; I need milk for my two month old baby; I need medicine because I have diabetes; I need medicine for my high blood pressure; I’m scared - I’m alone trapped in a restaurant in Ramallah and the Israeli snipers are on the rooftop of the building I’m in; I don’t know what to do - my children are scared; I’m a doctor - there are 38 apartments in the building I work in and the families here need bread, water, milk - I also need medicine to treat some of the people here. 

My apartment building

From my encircled apartment in Lower Ramallah, I write to you after 5 days without electricity or gas. Hopefully I will survive with my laptop and the lentil soup which I make bearable, day after day, with peppers. Vegetables, bread, and meat seem like a luxury. 

Two letters to a friend in Egypt

People in the International Red Cross do not send any ambulances unless the Israeli army give them a permit. A group of 30 young Palestinians were shot at and, until now, 3 a.m, they have been denied all medical help. This is the third such case documented in Ramallah in the last two days. If you have any medical corps, any contact with humanitarian organisations, please do whatever you can to send them to see what is going on on the ground. 

Curfew lifted for only one hour

I just called my cousin in Ramallah. She told me that she just went out to get some groceries. As she arrived in Manara Square and Israeli soldiers saw her car, they shot in the air to scare her away and make way for an Israeli tank to pass. She told me that they believed that the curfew was lifted until five o’clock, however, according to other sources, the curfew was supposed to be lifted until six o’clock. 

Promises from Palestine

Al-Jazeera TV footage showed the bodies of five Palestinian men executed when Israeli soldiers found out where they’d hidden in a building in Ramallah on Sunday. They had feared for their lives and apparently had good reason to do so. Four were shot with a single bullet to the head. One was murdered with sixteen bullets, mostly fired into his face and chest. Their weapons were confiscated. They lay on the floor, mostly face down. Dark streaks of dried blood covered the walls of their room. Clearly they’d been considered innocent until proven guilty by the great democracy of the Middle East. I wish this were the worst of the crimes now on film. 

Deadly Rumours?

Rumours are flying again. The IDF told the ICRC and UNRWA that the military curfew would be lifted at 2pm. To allow people to leave their houses to pick up bread, water, food, medicines. A friend from the UN calls me with this information; Representative Offices in Ramallah has also been in touch with the IDF, confirming it. So is it true? Can people leave their houses without being shot? Can people get out of Ramallah?