The first item below was written by Amer Abdelhadi, of Nablus, who has been writing daily for the last few weeks about the state of the curfew in Nablus. We will try to put an archive of these writings on our website soon - www.palsolidarity.org
The second item, " Celebrating the Sabbath " is a personal account written by Jennifer, an international activist in Palestine, witnessing a very powerful form of Palestinian nonviolent resistance -- only one of the many forms of Palestinian nonviolent resistance to a very violent occupation, that's just not sexy enough for the mainstream media to report on.
Sunday, September 8th,2002.
Curfew days are getting longer, in Palestinian minds anyway. The things that are happening on a daily base are repeated over and over like a snow ball with nothing in the horizon to slow it down. On the contrary the only thing that moving forward is Israeli escalation of violence against Palestinians.
It wasn't just another day in the curfew for Nazih Abdelhadi on the eve of August 15th when he received a phone call from his jewelry workshop neighbors to inform him that the army were searching and vandalizing his workshop -near the old city of Nablus- and preparing something. Not a long while later, the same neighbors called again to tell him that the sounds that shook the whole city were actually the sounds of the demolition of the floor where Nazih's workshop was.
I met Nazih whilst walking in the old city when the curfew was lifted few days later. He urged me to go up to his workshop. He was urging everyone to go up and have a look. The whole floor was totally damaged, the sealing was down in several places while the ground was covered in debris mixed with bits and peaces of tape recorders, radios, small TVs and molds for bracelets, rings and necklaces.
The floor was partitioned in three parts; two jewel workshops and a repair shop for small electrical appliances. Does this look like an explosives factory? Nazih was asking anyone who was prepared to listen. The damage was massive and underrated. Everybody was complaining to everybody about their own losses.
Mohannad Fakher-Eldin is the owner of the building that was attacked. No one had suffered as much as me he said. In the April incursion, an Army tank shelled the top floor of the building next door causing it to drop down on mine. I lost all the balconies and all the window frames and glass. This time they finished me and my building for nothing. No evidence of explosives or components was found in any of the workshops, he said angrily
The army had spent quite a while in the Fakher-Eldin building that housed in addition to the workshops, a dental clinic, several textile workshops, a cafe and some warehouses. Everything was vandalized Mohannad said as he took me for a tour in the ruined building. The dental clinic was totally destroyed, all the materials that are used by dentists were mixed together to leave everything behind useless. The cafes was also cleaned out, the Arjeelas - Hubble Bubble water pipes, were wrecked as the soldiers had obviously tried to use them. The chairs and tables were smashed and the coffee beans and tea leafs were mixed together. Out of all places in the city, they picked my building. Who is going to pay for all the repairs? I cannot even tell if I can rebuild aggravated Mohannad said. ?Some realtors informed him that the building may have to be brought down and built again for safety.
I ran a little research and found that the army had found nitric acid in the workshops which is commonly used by all jewelers. They can't expect to convince the world that every jewelers' workshop is a factory for explosives, Nazih said. What's happening here is the result of the world's ignorance and the green light that Americans are giving the Israelis.
Two nights before, the army have surrounded my neighborhood and brought all men between the ages of 15-50 down to the streets where they had their names and ID cards checked. They checked mine through their long printed lists and also through their command using their radio system. If I was on the wanted list, I would be in jail now. Where did they get the explosives factory claims from, Nazih wondered. They blew up most of the jewelers workshops to destroy Nablus, not my workshop alone, Nazih concluded. The Jewelry market is one of Nablus famous trades.
The demolitions are becoming a Business as usual policy for the army; No witnesses are ever available to support the army's finding, no evidence is ever found to prove the charges and no place is left intact to prove anything anyway.
During the curfew, people are prevented from their basic self defense rights. No one is given a chance to see, hear or smell anything that may challenge the Israeli claims. Oppressions are performed just like the curfew; under the world's eyes but without their intervention.
War crimes are taken place for the world to see. The curfew has been imposed on Nablus Nearly three months, EIGHTY DAYS. The world is watching, yet has done little.
Radio Tariq Al Mahabbeh
Nablus Under Siege
P.S. A news flash on Radio Tariq Al Mahabbeh just confirmed that the curfew is not to be lifted tomorrow. That makes 81 days in this curfew. The world community is waiting. I wish I knew what they are waiting for.
Update from Jennifer 09.06.02
Celebrating the Sabbath
Today I came as close as I may ever be to attending an Islamic prayer service with about 1,500 worshiping farmers.
This morning I spent at the small village of Falimia where our small band of 4 international volunteers had been invited back to the community where we had been 2 days earlier, walking through rich, fertile farmland, past rows and rows of greenhouses, and among orchards of fruit-laden olive/orange/lemon trees. The very land that the Israeli military has begun to confiscate and plow under. That day, we had walked along the redspray painted numbers, marked by surveyors where the construction will take place. Marks appeared on rocks as close as 3 meters from people's homes, on the trunks of ancient olive trees and the poles and tarps of industrial-sized greenhouses. And the drinking water beneath the ground would also fall under the ever expanding Israeli Occupation.
Today, we were present to witness the villagers' demonstration of commitment to their land and homes. For nearly 2 hours, the men and boys of the surrounding villages came here to worship, not in the mosque but in the fields among their crops. It was an incredibly powerful sight: young children and cane-supported old men, all farmers, seated on the land cultivated by their fathers and their fathers' fathers' and their fathers' fathers' fathers and on and on. The past and the future together to pray for peace and for assistance from the only resource currently available to them. I watched from the shade of a fruit tree as the men and boys one-by-one washed their hands, their faces and their feet from water of an irrigation faucet. They then carefully slipped their sandles on and walked to a place in the fallow field, spread their prayer mat, removed their shoes and sat silently, listening to the songs of worship. It was an incredibly powerful act of nonviolent resistance and of their refusal of the Israeli confiscation.
At the end of the service, several of them were interviewed by a television reporter and I had my first appearance on mass media television. Regretably,
I doubt this story will reach Israel or the United States. But for today, the villagers thanked us for being with them, for witnessing their struggle, and joining our voices with their prayers in breaking the silence.