Under siege in Ramallah....conditions of life in Ramallah
hazel_motes52 at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 2 09:08:01 MST 2002
Under siege in ramallah.. what we need
Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 12:49:37 -0500
I am the director of the Khalil Sakakini Cultural
Centre in Ramallah (Http://www.sakakini.org). As I
am under siege at home, i am sending out this email to
journalist friends, & others, to ask to please get
our message out & disseminated further.
I hope this message will not become morbid fodder
for chain emails to draw pity, or prayers, or donations,
but rather actions. We are doing our bit by
resisting & or standing steadfast, & ask the world to please
do its bit in the name of our common humanity, each
according to his her/own capacity. We do not want to
become the red indians of the Arab world, but simply
want to live free, in peace & dignity on this land.
I will start by a few paragraphs' overview of the
situation "live" as i see it, & follow it with 9
suggestions of what we would please like to see
happen in the media & elsewhere in the outside world.
Firstly tonight -Sunday- we have heard numerous
reports of 30 Palestinian policemen executed in cold
blood by Israeli soldiers in a building where they
sought refuge on Irssal street in Ramallah. This was
after 5 Palestinian officers were executed by being
shot to the head & then had their corpses thrown on
the pavement for hours on Friday. Ambulances are
prevented from reaching their destinations & 2
hospitals have either been broken into (Arabcare) or
shot at (Nazer Maternity Hospital). If this
continues, it will be another Chechnya or Sarajevo in the
Personally, I have been shut at home since Friday
morning, like all the tens of thousands of
inhabitants of Ramallah & El-Bireh, & no prospect of an end
We did not have electricity for one day, but thank
God it got reestablished today Sunday.
One of the employees of the Sakakini Center had the
Israeli army burst into his village (Kobar)
yesterday, destroy belongings & arrest his younger brother,
alongside 30 other young men from the village.
The cleaning lady of the Center lives in a house
with an outhouse for toilets. For 3 days the Israelis
have been posted by the door to her house & preventing
all exit. When the eldest today sneaked out to the
outhouse, the Israelis caught him & beat him. His
school teacher father tried to intervene, the
Israelis beat him & arrested him.
One of the board members of our center was arrested
with all the employees of the office building where
he was working late Thursday night. They were all
blindfolded & had their hands tied & placed in one
room for 16 hours. The Israelis destroyed some
office furniture & stole hard drives from computers. They
all untied themselves once they realized the Israelis
had gone on to bigger prey..
My brother in law & his wife & their 3 under-10 year
old kids are without phone & electricity since
Friday & cannot go live w/ someone else as they would be
My next door neighbor's 70+ year old father lives
near Yasser Arafat's office. The Israelis broke into
his home Friday, broke everything w/ the butt of
their rifles (TV, sinks, furniture, etc.. ) & then stole
There are reports also of Israeli soldiers breaking
into banks & change offices & jewelery stores &
stealing money & jewelry.
In El Bireh, they arrested Saturday 150 young men
between 16-45 years of age after calling out for men
of this age bracket to get out, they are grouping
them in Ramallah's Old City.
The only local private TV station in town that used
to air hourly news & advice (Watan TV) has been seized
by the Israelis on Friday, & they are now airing
pornographic films. Journalists have been ordered
out of Ramallah today Sunday.
All neighborhoods are abuzz with talk of who is next
in Israeli home incursions. As for me & many others,
there is the human instinct of crying out for help
when in danger.
What we have done: With our means we have made phone
calls to appeal for help & pressure on the
international community to a number of high level
officials in a number of neigboring countries, as
well as sent appeals to the media like this one.
Below are 9 modest &/or utopic suggestions &
1- This is a long siege please keep the pressure to
have our story told & appeals for action continuous.
2- The Centre's admin.& finance director, Ms. Manal
Issa has collected about 10 testimonies by children
around her describing conditions under siege as well
as drawings she has scanned. These testimonies in
Arabic can be obtained directly from her at:
issamanal at yahoo.com. I will translate them tomorrow
to englsih & have them available. I am also asking that
anybody who gets this email directly or forwarded,
ask us for copies of these testimonies to have them
published as widely as possible.
3- Please ask for pressure on the international
community & decision makers to lift the siege on us.
We need tens & hundreds of letters daily to:
president at whitehouse.gov & vice.president at white
4- If you do not want that, please write mainstream
news organizations in the US about the siege.
5- We need daily demonstrations in front of Israeli
6- We need appeals from Arab artists to western
European artists for concerts/demonstrations/appeals
to decision makers to lift the siege.
7- We need action by Western/European artists for
events to ask for the siege to be lifted on us.
8- If you work for a publication, please keep a
section for daily news or weekly news from the
interviews with witnesses to repression/the siege,
children's testimonies, & information from
9-The disastrous health picture can be obtained by
calling the Ramallah Hospital & talking to its
director Dr. Atari or to the Deputy minister of
who is stationed there Dr. Munther Sharif
(972 2 2
10- Please give us your suggestions for action & for
what you need from us to better help us.
Thank you to the Muharraq Club, Bahrein TV, &
Dubai's Nadwat al Thaqafa for hearing us already..
Thank you all & we all look forward to hearing from
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