Media Blackout Over Israeli Atrocities in Nablus

Published: Mon 5 Jan 2004 12:19 AM
Media Blackout Over Israeli Atrocities in Nablus
IOF Kill Palestinian Teen Near Khan Younis
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have tightened the total siege and curfew imposed on Nablus, the adjacent Balata refugee camp and the nearby village of Beit Foreek for the tenth consecutive day, amidst complete media blackout over the atrocities they are perpetrating, while the death toll rose in the northern West Bank city.
IOF shot dead four Palestinians and bulldozed historical sites in the Kasbah (Old City) of Nablus on Friday.
Palestinian witnesses said Amjad Bilal Al-Masri, 15, was shot in the chest by an IOF sniper as he threw stones at an Israeli armored vehicle from a rooftop in the Old City of Nablus.
Al-Masri and Rawhi Shuman - a 19-year-old shot in the chest in a separate incident - died of their injuries in the city’s Rafidya hospital, medics said. Amer Arafat, 25, was shot in the back and pronounced dead upon his arrival to hospital.
During the funeral of the three, IOF shot and wounded another teenager, 17-year-old Mohammed el-Masri. Hospital officials later pronounced him dead. Witnesses said he was helping to carry the coffin of his cousin Amjad el-Masri when he was shot.
“We have a catastrophic situation in Nablus,” Mahmoud el-Aloul, the governor of the city, told Reuters.
Friday was the city’s bloodiest day since the IOF shot dead four activists on December 18. At least two other Palestinians have died of wounds sustained earlier in the city in the past week.
The Palestine National Authority (PNA) Minister for Negotiations Saeb Erekat condemned the killings as “atrocities” and told Reuters he held Israel “fully responsible for the consequences of this escalation.”
He urged sponsors of the morbid “roadmap” peace plan - the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia - to do more to restore peace efforts.
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) on Saturday issued an “Urgent Appeal from Nablus,” urging an immediate lifting of the siege IOF continue to impose on the city, the adjacent Balata refugee camp and the nearby village of Beit Foreek for the tenth consecutive day.
“Nablus has been under siege for the last 10 days while Balata refugee camp has been under siege for the last 18 consecutive days. We have just heard that every single entrance/exit to Balata has been sealed off completely. No food or medicine is allowed in. Medical relief teams are being obstructed and at times completely prevented from passing through,” the ISM said.
“Beit Foreek has been completely sealed off; its mayor reports that there are signs of starvation,” ISM added.
Similarly starvation is also threatening Balata refugee camp.
“Reports from Balata indicate that a deliberate starvation campaign is being carried by the Israeli military which has sealed off the Camp and refuses to allow food and medicine to get through every single allyway, formal or informal entrances,” the ISM reported.
The siege of the Kasbah (Old City) of Nablus and its neighborhoods (Yasmeeneh, Qaryoun, Habaleh) has been intensified since December 30, 2003.
IOF claim they were looking for the leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, known as Abu Sharkh.
IOF detained his brother and wife while they paraded the wife in a jeep in the Old City and forced her to call out to her husband over loud speakers to surrender in return for her freedom. She was released only on Saturday.
In the Qaryoun neighborhood, IOF evacuated 75 people living inside the Abdelhadi Palace. The Palace, built 500 years ago, is an Islamic Waqf, endowed by Mahmoud Abdelhadi for the use of Abdelhadi women who have no place to live and no sources of income (widows, single women who do not work or have no income, and women whose main breadwinners are disabled).
IOF ordered the 75 people out in the winter cold.
Palestinian political and peace activist Mustapha Barghouti has described the bloody campaign against Nablus as a “real war on this city.”
“There is a completely news blockage of what’s going in Nablus,” Barghouti said.
Mohammed Nazzal, one of the Hamas Resistance Movement leaders, has denounced the “Zionist beastly practices” in Nablus, charging that the IOF measures there constituted a collective punishment.
On New Year’s Eve, imams announced over the mosques for everyone to yell from their windows and their roofs “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) together for an hour.
It began with the voices from the mosques, together, "Allahu Akbar" again and again, the voices growing louder and prouder with each chant. Then, a chorus began from the old city, and then the mountains and the camps, ISM reported.
Thousands of different voices, in different rhythms and tones, yelling and chanting together, their sound almost drowning out the noise of the IOF tank fire around them. The voices joined together in strength and solidarity; recognizing but not broken by the pain and suffering felt throughout the city.
Separately in the Gaza Strip, IOF soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian outside an illegal Jewish settlement near Khan Yunis. Palestinian security officials said he was 17-year old.
An IOF source said the shooting occurred on Friday night and the body was found on Saturday.
IOF claimed he was carrying a 60-kilogram bomb and trying to crawl toward the illegal Jewish settlement of Ganei-Tal in the Gaza Strip.

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