Under siege in Ramallah....conditions of life in Ramallah

John Cox 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

Dear All:
 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
 making.

 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
 soon.
 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
 shot at.

 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
 some money.

 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 &
 requests:
 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
 house.gov
 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
 embassies.
 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
 siege,
 interviews with witnesses to repression/the siege,
 children's testimonies, & information from
 hospitals.
 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
 health
 who is stationed there Dr. Munther Sharif
(972 2 2
 298
 2220).
 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
 you soon,
 Adila Laidi.
 


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