marxism-digest V1 #4624

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Apr 24 07:59:00 MDT 2002


The Palestine Monitor, A PNGO Information Clearinghouse

Information Update
Devastating Damage and Vandalism by Israeli soldiers in HDIP and the
Palestine Monitor
April 22nd 2002

Today the staff of HDIP [Health, Development, Information and Policy
institute] and Palestine Monitor were able to enter their offices for
the first time in three weeks and were met by the sight of
indescribable damage and vandalism committed by the Israeli soldiers
who used the office as an operation centre during the occupation of
Ramallah.

Most of the equipment of HDIP and Palestine Monitor has been destroyed
and files and reports damaged or burnt. The office is in an
unbelievable state of mess and destruction, however at this point it
is hard to estimate the exact damage and loss.

All the computers in the office have been thrown into one big pile at
the entrance, desks and chairs are broken and scattered on top of each
other.  The computer hard-drives have been taken out and the server is
gone, together with all the printers and fax machines. Among the
computers were 12 new computers, which were purchased for the
establishment of a computer-training centre for youth and women. Also
the soldiers have stolen a brand new digital video camera, LCDs, a
projector and educational equipment.

There is clear evidence that the soldiers stayed in the office for a
long period; there are mattresses and covers on the floor, dirty
underwear and clothes are left in the bathrooms and on the floor and a
heavy stench of garbage and rotting food left behind by the
soldiers. The garbage was left everywhere mixed up with books and
documents; even in desk drawers.

The office that belonged to the Palestine Monitor has been totally
emptied; the desks are thrown on top of each other in one corner and
all the computers are gone. Staff at the Palestine Monitor suspect
that Israeli snipers used the office; the office is located on the
corner of the main street of Ramallah and there is a good view of the
street from the window.  Dr. Mustafa Barghouti's office has likewise
been completely cleared out; the hard-drive is left a twisted on the
desk, books and reports are thrown on the floor and the furniture is
missing.

The soldiers used the newer part of the office, which HDIP had
recently rented and refurbished, as a dormitory. They slept on
expensive Bedouin rugs made by a women's project in the Negev, which
they stole from Mattin group, the organization located on the floor
above HDIP, which has been equally vandalized. In addition to damage
in the kitchen, holes in the walls and broken doors, there is
extensive damage to the whole building particularly in the staircase.

Dr. Barghouti had arranged with volunteers to monitor the building
while the soldiers were inside throughout the two and half weeks the
soldiers stayed there. They managed to videotape the soldiers when
they brought out boxes from the office and burnt them outside on the
sidewalk.

The whole place bears witness of random vandalism: Shaving cream was
sprayed in a big pile in the bathroom, Hebrew graffiti on the walls
read: "Thank you for your hospitality" and "This eating area is for
whores" and a pornographic videotape in Hebrew was left behind. Photos
of Dr. Mustafa Barghouti have been burnt with cigarettes and bullet
holes shot in his head at the photos.

The vandalism in and of itself is not surprising considering previous
practice by the Israeli army but it is non the less shocking to see
the damage and devastation. In addition to HDIP and the Palestine
Monitor, hundreds of other Palestinian independent organisations have
been attacked and vandalised. At HDIP more than 13 years of research
as well as valuable bibliographic information and databases have been
lost. This is in fact an attack and assault on Palestinian
intellectual life and all of this invaluable work has now to be
rebuilt. The Israeli army has in short waged a war upon civil society
in Palestine. This will however not break our will to rebuild what is
lost and to continue our struggle for freedom and independence.


For more information contact The Palestine Monitor
+972 (0) 67 325418  www.palestinemonitor.org


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