inside Al Fara Refugee Camp

John O'Neill johnfergaloneill at
Wed Aug 7 14:45:09 MDT 2002


Just to clarify the situation here because I think some of the irish media
have got it a bit wrong.

I am currently Al Fara refugee camp north of Nablus city. In line with the
general israeli policy of punishing the innocent relatives of palestinian
activists or the families of those guilty of suicide bombings, the army has
marked a house in this camp for destruction. This house belongs to the Al
Ghoul family one of whose sons carried out a suicide bombing a month and a
half ago. The family is innocent of involvement of this terrible crime and
this is borne out by the fact that although two other brothers were arrested
after the bombing they were released shortly afterwards, despite the fact
that the israelis can and do detain palestinians for months or even years
without trial.

The army has targeted the family home for destruction. As a consequence of
this a family of 12, including 6 children, have had to abandon their home.
The current situation is that the army could arrive and destroy the house at
any time but they normally do this between 12 and 4 in the night.

Im staying in this house with 3 other international volunteers, all from the
USA, every night. We are doing this in the hope that the army will not
destroy the home because of our presence or at least will take more care
when exploding the house so as not to destroy the surrounding houses, which
is what they usually do. we also hope to document their activity if we are
removed from the house. The neighbours have abandoned the nearby houses
because of this, so that right now around seventy people are homeless.

Just to stress that there is no physical danger to us, as the army must
enter the house to lay charges and our presence here has been well
publicised. The army have no presence in the camp and if the decide to act
it will be a quick affair. The only risk is arrest and deportation. The
important point is that this policy of collective punishment of innocent
people for crimes they did not commit is now being carried out on a wide
scale across Palestine , further deepening the suffering and despair of
ordinary people.

There is another irish citizen, Salah Afifi, currently staying in a similar
house, in Nablus city, I spoke to him by phone, yesterday and everything is
ok with him at the moment. I have also spoken to Caoimhe Butterly, who has
been in Palestine for a few months now, shes staying in Balata refugee camp
outside of Nablus.

Thanks for the calls and messages and please keep passing on the info to
others, the only hope the people of Paletine have now is that the outside
world cares about their plight and that they have not been completely



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