by Sousan Hammad,
I’m sitting in the ISC office in Ramallah. I get a phone call from one of the workers of the organization. I really could not understand what he was saying. He was yelling, “Don’t go outside, they are closing off the streets and the Israeli army are coming, whatever you do, don’t go outside!”….well I went outside..
There were tanks, jeeps and hummers. A line of 20, each following one another. I couldn’t believe this was happening in front of me. The streets are chaotic, everyone running in between buildings to get away from the line of fire. There are more gun shots. I could not make out the other sounds..maybe bombs? I dont know. I ask all those around me what is going on. Everyone was on their cell phone. At this very moment, less than 100 feet ahead of me a van is lit on fire. A black cloud of smoke fills the streets. I hear more and more gunfire. This time it does not stop. I am hearing different stories from different people.
“Two Palestinians were kidnapped by undercover Israeli Special Forces..” No….”Two undercover Israeli Special Forces were kidnapped and are being held in that building over there” Ok Ok, so which when do I want to believe? Sadly, the first one turned out to be the story.
Damaged van (apparently belonging to the Israeli death squad)
The van that was on fire was the vehicle that the two undercover Israeli men came in with. I realized I didn’t have my camera, so I run back to the office to grab my camera. I go back, camera in hand, and get in the middle of the action. At this point, hundreds of young men were throwing rocks and shooting at the Israeli vehicles. The Israelis retaliated with more power, bullets and anger. Everytime the Israelis shot, everyone scattered back behind buildings, waited a few seconds, and then went back to throwing rocks and some were shooting back. The ambulances were in and out. More cars destroyed. More bullets and this battle seemed never-ending.
They finally left after arresting the one Palestinian whom the undercover officers came for in the first place. They came for two, killed one and took the other alive. As soon as the streets were clear everyone runs in, including medics, to pick up more of the wounded. I see blood on the hands of men who were helping pick up the bodies. Some shops were destroyed. What did the shopkeepers and innocent bystanders do to deserve this? What did the Palestinians do to deserve this?
Just when things began to settle down, the marching began. This part almost made me cry, everyone was yelling “Allahu-Akbar!” (God is Greatest) and marching in solidarity. After 35 were injured and 3 dead. They still had the strength to wave the Palestinian flag. I guess the ritual continues from here on.
To get on Sousan’s e-mail list, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org