PRESS RELEASE: MARCH 7TH, 2001
In an apparent escalating aggression against the predominantly civil
Palestinian population, heavily armed Israeli military forces raided this
morning at 1:00 AM, local Palestinian time, the town of Surda, the main
entrance to the city of Birzeit, bullldozing the main road linking Ramallah
with more than 50 villages and towns including the city of Birzeit. As
a result, telephone lines and water pipes were totally destroyed. Further,
due to previous closures imposed on adjacent passageways, this road was
being extensively used by travelers from the northern towns of Nablus and
Jenin to Ramallah. As such, over 70,000 individuals living in these communities
have been totally isolated, and denied access to basic life necessities
including food and health services.
The town of Birzeit has become well known as the host of the leading
Palestinian institute for higher education, Birzeit University. With the
recent developments, more than 6000 students, faculty, and staff are prevented
effectively from reaching the University Campus. In addition, communication
facilities have been totally cut off for the University as well as the
surrounding towns entailing that there is no means of maintaining contact
with the outside world, further isolating the University's community.
According to the eyewitness reports of residents in the area, the damage
has been extensive and would require substantial time and resources to
be repaired. As such, the length of time before the residents of ten villages
and towns will have access to methods of communications, water utilities,
food supplies, and health services is unknown.
P.O Box 14
"Never during the past 34 years of illegal Israeli occupation has there
been a worse time for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza."
SHARON'S FIRST ACT - INTENSIFICATIONS OF THE SIEGE
[Palestine Monitor - March 9, 2001]: The first day after Sharon's inauguration
has brought an intensification of the siege imposed upon the Palestinian
Territories. Palestinian villages, towns and cities are now completely
isolated from each other. Our cities are becoming clusters of prisons.
The road that was closed yesterday (March 7th) had been the only route
allowing Palestinians around Ramallah to access the city. Now Birzeit and
Ein Arik areas are completely cut off by trenches, sand barriers and tanks;
the Israeli soldiers manning these points are refusing to allow people
to walk in the area or cross the barricades.
This means that the 68% of the population of the West Bank who live in
rural areas, including the inhabitants of the 90 villages in the Ramallah
area, are cut off from hospitals. Primary health care workers are unable
to access villages and provide essential health services. Thousands of
people are unable to get to their work. Farms face the growing risk of
a disaster in the absence of water and food supplies, which will decimate
both agricultural and livestock industries. The students and staff of Birzeit
are unable to reach their university.
This afternoon Palestinian men and women participating in a Women's Day
March, tried to move the barrier with their bare hands. Soldiers opened
fire upon them with bullets and tear gas.
What is happening now is nothing less than war on the Palestinian economy,
and an escalating aggression against the predominantly civil Palestinian
Never during the past 34 years of illegal Israeli occupation has there
been a worse time for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.