Usually we are not informed a priori of what the Israeli government plans to
do with us. However, today informing us is apparently part of their terror
I am now at the University but we will probably be leaving early
as all Palestinian governmental agencies have evacuated their office and
internationals in the Ramallah area have been told to leave the area
immediately. Reports are rampant, breaking news that there is a planned
incursion, occupation, total destruction ... who knows of Ramallah and so we
have to act and act quickly.
I am generally a calm person who deals well under pressure. From the instance we received the news we have printing documents, saving others on floppy diskettes, sending ourselves emails with attachments in order to ensure that we can carry out some activities from our houses if need be. As I save my documents and collect my papers and try to maintain this outward calm, my stomach is turning, my fingers are shaking and thoughts are swirling through my head.
Thousands of students are walking around the campus trying to figure out what is going to happen. Faculty and staff are calling to see what we are going to do. Family members are asking about our safety and trying to get provisions for what seems will be a long stay at home and everyone is wondering what are the "smart measures" that Sharon intends. I think this is part of it. The fear that is within each of us, the terror of not knowing, not being able to plan or make a decision is part of this process.
There are too many indicators that this is not a false alarm. If this is not terror than I don't know what is and I don't know what more we can say or do. I don't mean to worry you, just inform you of what we are going through and ask you to inform others. Finally, while I hope to continue to be in touch via email, please keep in mind that I may be out of touch for a while. Hopefully, Sharon's terror campaign will end with just this threat. Hopefully, we will be able to come to the University on Saturday and all these files we saved will not be necessary. Hopefully, some day the world will wake up and say what is happening is wrong and we will be able to keep working and studying and moving freely with no constraints and no fear.
Wishing you all the best,
External Relations Officer
Birzeit, West Bank
Tel: + 972 2 298 2131
Fax: + 972 2 281 0656
Thursday, March 28, 2002 Nisan 15, 5762, Israel Time: 01:52 (GMT+2)
Last update - 23:37 28/03/2002
IDF concentrates armored forces near Ramallah and Nablus
Military sources: IDF planning 'extensive' operation; PA clears security
By Amos Harel and Jalal Bana, Ha'aretz Correspondents and agencies
Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer.
(Photo: Avihai Nitzan)
The IDF was concentrating armored forces in the vicinity of the West Bank
towns of Ramallah and Nablus Thursday night, ahead of what appeared to be
the start of a wide-ranging military operation, which follows the killing of
20 people in the suicide bomb attack in Netanya on Wednesday evening.
Security sources said the army was planning a "deep and extensive" operation
in response to the fact that the Palestinian Authority had crossed "all the
The sources said Israel was abandoning the policy of restraint it had
adopted two weeks ago, when U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni arrived in the region
in an effort to broker a cease-fire agreement. "There is no longer such a
thing as a unilateral cease-fire. We tried this for a long time, but it has
not proven effective," one source said. "The PA is doing nothing to thwart
terror, and we are the ones that have to do this. Israeli patience has run
The possibility of a limited recruitment of reserve soldiers was also being
considered. Their role would be to perform the tasks usually carried out by
those soldiers involved in the military operation.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat held a press conference
Thursday evening, during which he announced his readiness for a cease-fire
and called for the immediate and unconditional implementation of the Tenet
truce plan. Arafat also condemned the suicide bombing in Netanya.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon convened his ministers at 11 P.M. Thursday to
discuss the response to the suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya on
Wednesday which left 20 people dead and over 100 injured.
Palestinian sources said that the Palestinian Authority security forces were
on high alert and that all government and military buildings in Ramallah
were evacuated in anticipation of a possible IDF strike.
The sources said all military installations in PA cities were evacuated,
that many citizens bought food and emergency supplies in preparation of a
long siege and worried parents took their children home early from school.
Arafat also asked that all foreign representatives leave the city, for fear
that it would be reconquered.
The United States condemned the bombing and said it showed the need for
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to crack down on militants.
Bush said that the "cold-blooded killing" in the Middle East must stop and
called on Arafat to end the violence.
"I call upon Mr. Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to do everything in
their power to stop the terrorist killing because there are people in the
Middle East who would rather kill than have peace," he added.
He noted that Zinni remains in the Middle East to work with Israel and the
Palestinians on a security work plan.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell urged Arafat to broadcast a message to
Palestinians that "they are destroying their own desire and vision for a
Palestinian state." Powell indicated Washington would stick with the Zinni
mission for now. "Every one of these bombings sets us back but at the same
time it renews our determination," he said.