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From Nablus Under Seige

by Rabab Abdulhadi Monday, Jan. 05, 2004 at 8:12 AM

CALL TO ACTION Jan 4th and 5th "We are not two different sides. We are rather one in our common struggle for justice in Palestine, for an end to the occupation, for peace for all."

Greetings from Nablus Under Siege.

Nablus has been under siege for the last 10 days while Balata refugee

camp has been under siege for the last 18 consecutive days. We have just

heard that every single entrance/exit to Balata has been sealed off

completely. No food or medicine is allowed in.

Medical relief teams are being obstructed and at times completely prevented from passing through.

Activists from ISM (the International Solidarity Movement) were attacked

while carrying out their missions to observe and bear witness on what

the Israeli occupation authorities are brutalizing the Palestinian

population. Beit Foreek has been completely sealed off; its mayor

reports that there are signs of starvation.



Two men and a boy were killed by Israeli military fire since this

morning. The first, Amjad Bilal Masri is a 15 year old boy who was shot

while standing in front of his house. The sniper bullet hit Amjad in the

back. He died on his way to the hospital. The second is Amer Kathym Arafat who

was also shot in the back by a sniper bullet. The third is Rouhi Hazem

Shouman, 25, who was also shot in the back by a sniper. Ms. Majida Masri,

spokeswomen for the Coordinating Committee of Palestinian Political Faction, called

a couple of minutes ago on all Nabulis who are able to get to Rafidiya

Hospital to defy the curfew and join the families of the martyrs in a

collective funeral for the three.



"They were all shot in the back by cowardly snipers. Their only crime was to refuse to succumb to Israeli

occupation designs to empty Palestine from its people."

Reports from Balata indicate that a deliberate starvation campaign is

being carried by the Israeli military which has sealed off the Camp and

refuses to allow food and medicine to get through every single allyway, formal or

informal entrances. A few days ago, the Israeli military shot and injured 4 people who were walking a funeral for an old woman who passed away. No demonstrations or political events were taking place in or around the

funeral.

The siege of the old city of Nablus and its neighborhoods (Yasmeeneh,

Qaryoun, Habaleh) has been intensified since December 30, 2003. The

Israeli military claims that they were looking for the leader of the Aksa

Martyrs Brigade, Abu Sharkh. They took his brother and wife as hostages, paraded

the wife in a jeep in the old city and forced to call out to her husband

over loud speakers to surrender in return for her freedom. She has been

released only yesterday. No one can get into the old city, but Dr. Ghassan Hamdan

of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committee, who is in the old

city has called on the whole world to immediately intervene to support the

people of Nablus.



He condemned media outlets for neglecting to cover what's

going on, including the largest Palestinian daily, Al-Quds, which has not

reported on what's going in Nablus in its front page. Dr. Hamdan

criticized the Palestinian Authority who have not done anything to aid

Nablus and demanded that "Abu Alaa, the Palestinian Prime Minister, hold

a ministrial meeting in Nablus to highlight the horrible conditions the

city is experiencing under this brutal Israeli campaign."

We have just heard explosions in the old city. It was in Qaryoun

neighborhood inside the Abdelhadi Palace that houses 75 people. The

Palace, built 400 years ago, is a waqf, endowed by Mahmoud Abdelhadi for the use

of Abdelhadi women who have no place to live and no sources of income

(widows, single women who do not work or have no income, and women whose main

breadwinners are disabled). The Israeli military has ordered the 75

people to vacate the palace at 3:30 in the mooring and left them out in the

cold. Mr. Aslan, a neighbor, invited took in all the 75 people and offered

them hospitality and warmth. The families are scattered throughout the old

city (before the more strict siege) and unable to go home. Dr. Mahdi

Abdelhadi, Director of PASSIA, has gone to the Israeli supreme court. The Court

ordered an injunction against the destruction of the Palace but the military

appealed the decision and received a permission from the court to

destroy this historic building "if security needs call for such action." This also

requires your immediate attention.

Nablus has been split again into two parts near Maha's Gate, which is

names after Mrs. Maha Nimr who lived nearby and whose son has been arrested

and is currently being interrogated in Ofer settlement prison (near Ramallah);

no family members or lawyers are allowed to see him until the

"interrogation is completed."

"Tora Bora," as the residents call it, is the mount of dirt Israeli

occupation army has compiled near the destroyed Governate of Nablus (as

well as the prison that was bombed with prisoners inside in 2002 resulting in

the killing of 10 Palestinian policemen who were guarding the prison). Tora

Bora literally separates the two parts of the city and no one can come or go

without risking being shot at by the Israeli military. Children

(including my own nephew Ibrahim and nieces Widad, Noura, and Nada who live in the

eastern part beyond Tora Bora) have been risking their lives to get to

school to take their final exams. Ibrahim, 10 year old, and other kids

almost got killed on December 23, 2003 as he tried to get home. He was

finally able to reach his home a few hours later and only after the

international media, medical relief workers, my other brother, Amer, and

Amal, my sister-in-law and Ibrahim's mother risked their lives, argued

with the soldiers and insisted on getting all the kids home across a

checkpoint.

Mustapha Barghouti has described the bloody campaign against Nablus as a

"real war on this city whose other name, the Mountain of Fire, has basis in the steadfastness

of Palestinians and their refusal to allow the Israeli military to break

the Palestinian collective will to continue struggling for their rights."

"There is a completely news blockage of what's going in Nablus," Barghouti

added, explaining that lack of news coverage has to do with "the negligence of

the Palestinian Authority, PA, to assume its responsibility for the

protection of the population."

"Instead," Barghouti added, "the PA is wasting time

and energy in useless meetings with the Israeli occupation government that

is intent on destroying our people's will."

Reporter's Note: This report is partly drawn from word of mouth of

relatives and friends, and partly from Radio Tariq Mahabbeh (you can listen to the

radio station at www.tmfm.net). For interviews and more information, you

may call Amer Abdelhadi at (+972-59-371-372) and Tariq Mahabbeh at (+972 57

830 333).

You can also reach me (no later than 9:30 p.m.) at (+972 9 237

2891).

Please bear with us; phone lines and internet connections are not

working as well as we are told they should.

The People of Nablus appeal to you to declare today (Saturday, Jan.

3rd), tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 4th), and Monday, Jan. 5th international

days in solidarity with the people in Nablus and Palestine.



WHAT YOU CAN DO:

(1) Contact Israeli offices around the world and demand an immediate

lift to the siege! For a list of Israeli embassies around the world,

please see: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/israel1.htm

(2) Call media outlets and ask why they are ignoring the news of Nablus,

Balata and Beit Foreek.

(3) Organize protests outside Israeli government offices calling for an

end to the occupation.

(4) Demand that governments around the world hold Israel accountable for

its actions that violate every single standard of international and

human rights law.

(5) Call for divestment from companies that conduct business with

Israel.

(6) WRITE LETTERS!

Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister pm_eng@pmo.gov.il

Shaul Mofaz, Minister of Defense sar@mod.gov.il

Sallai Meridor, Chairman of the Executive, World Zionist

Organization/Jewish Agency sallaim@jazo.org.il

Josh Schwarcz, Secretary General, The Jewish Agency joshs@jazo.org.il

Itzhak Elyashive, Director-General, Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemeth

LeIsrael info@kkl.org.il

Copy to the following UN Special Rapporteurs:

Mr. John Dugard, SR on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian

territories dtopali.hchr@unog.ch

Mr. Miloon Kothari, SR on the Right to Adequate Housing

cmoller@ohchr.org

Mr. Jean Ziegler, SR on the Right to Food dbhagwandin@ohchr.org

(7) For Israeli and Jewish groups who refuse to let Israel brutalize

Palestinians in their name, in particular, we send you the warmest

greetings of solidarity and support. We know that you do not condone these ugly

and brutal actions; we are conscious that you are not part of this racist

and colonialist policy.

We are not two different sides. We are rather one in

our common struggle for justice in Palestine, for an end to the occupation,

for peace for all. Together with all those fighting for justice everywhere,

we will create a transformative world; for we dare to imagine the

impossible.

In solidarity,

Rabab Abdulhadi

Nablus, Palestine

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