Hanan Elmasu

Where the streets had a name

Walking the streets of Ramallah these days has become an act of reflection, uncertainty and force of will. Having just returned from a break from Cairo, where I was reminded what it was like to walk the streets of an Arab country without apprehension, with its bustle and life, its smells, shouts, laughter and systematized chaos, I could not help but mourn the loss of those walks in Ramallah. I walk the streets now, wondering what will happen during each journey. Hanan Elmasu writes from Ramallah. 

Days go by...

This is my fifth day of curfew, a new experience for me having left here last October and not being subjected to this new form of occupation. 


Further reports from Ramallah state that, in addition to those being rounded up in Al Bireh, Israeli soldiers have been calling for males, in some areas between the age of 14 - 40, to ‘surrender’ themselves in other areas of Ramallah. House to house raids continue, and those detained are also being held in classrooms in nearby schools and, in one instance, a bakery in lower Ramallah. None of those detained from yesterday or today have been released, so it is unclear what their current situation is. The number of detainees is yet not known. 

Sleepless in Geneva

I too woke up this morning in Geneva to a slew of reports of the Israeli offensive against Palestinians in Ramallah. After trying unsuccessfully to reach family and friends, I met with two Palestinian friends who have been in Geneva this past week, traveling from the West Bank at great personal risk to themsleves, to conduct advocacy work to protect Palestinian children. When they heard the news this morning, they packed their bags and made their way to the airport to try and get a flight back home, fearing for their families alone in the West Bank and of the possibility that they may not be able to return. We spent a tense day trying to fill the time from news report to news report, shocked at the images of tanks rolling down familiar streets.