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Background: What is INTIFADA?:
An Arab word meaning 'abrupt waking up from sleep' or to 'shake off' something. It is the word used to describe the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, breaking free from the compromised position they are in.The second Intifada began in October 2000

The following is a snapshot of how independent/activist news sources relayed events of the latest Intifada from Palestine. The timeline is taken from Palestine and Israeli Indymedia. The eyewitness reports are from a variety of independent information, alternative media sources and email lists.

Until the 1940s, the Jewish underground in Palestine was described as "terrorist". Around 1942, as news of the Holocaust spread. the terrorists of Palestine, suddenly began being described as "freedom fighters".
Eqbal Ahmad, Terrorism: Theirs & Ours, Seven Stories press, 2001

In order to prepare properly for the next campaign. it's essential to learn from every possible source. If the mission will be to seize a densely populated refugee camp, or take over the casbah in Nablus, then [we] must first analyze and internalise the lessons of earlier battles - even how the German army fought in the Warsaw ghetto.
Amir Oren, editorial in Ha'aretz - israeli daily newspaper - Jan 25 2002

March 30, 2002, 12:15: Bethlehem: IMC-Palestine is experiencing intermittent mortar shelling from the vicinity of Beit Jala. Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF)* have invaded Beit Jala. Palestine prepares for all-out war with Israel.

20:00: Ramallah: Electricity and water are cut off. International observers confirm Red Crescent ambulances are being targeted by the IOF. Tanks surround Bethlehem. Israeli aggression at checkpoints has been growing the last few days. This afternoon, an 18-year-old woman suicide bomber from Deheishe camp struck in Jerusalem. Arafat says he is ready to be a martyr and is calling all Palestinians to take up arms.

I'm sitting in the hot sun on the roof of the Bethlehem TV building. It's near the centre of Bethlehem, next to a major crossroads called Bab al-Zqaq and the main dual carriageway between Deheishe refugee camp and the largely Christian municipality of Beit Sahour. The flat crackle of automatic rifle fire echoes down from the old city, along with the occasional thud of tank shells. From the road below, separated from me by a low parapet, comes the occasional ear-buzzing bang of gunfire from the bored Israeli soldiers. They know we're in this building, and they don't like us, so it's just a form of sporadic harassment.

I'm here, at the moment, as a volunteer with Palestine Indymedia Centre (http://jerusalem.indymedia.org). The site went live a couple of days before the biggest re-invasion of Palestinian towns and cities in years - the return of the tanks to Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin, Qalqiliya, Tulkarm and Hebron.


Bloody hell. Just got out of Ramallah. I had been staying at the hospital - it was safer and I was useful there.

Sometimes there was not enough food. Everybody not anaemic donated blood. The patients that were able to make it to the hospital in time had gun shot wounds. I saw many corpses with close range wounds - execution style. The morgue is over-full.

The Israelis are lying about what is happening - they did enter Ramallah hospital on Sunday, I was there. The press is censured, unable to report what is occurring as they are also prevented, detained, threatened, injured, or escorted out. I hear that news in the States is very pro-Israeli. Americans need to be aware that their news is very biased. They need to re-evaluate their definition of terrorism and who the terrorists are.


April 01, 2002 Three international activists are shot at in Bethlehem, with Australian activist Kate Edwards (AKA Sharron) injured critically needing emergency surgery in a Beit Jala hospital to remove bullet fragments from her stomach.

April 03, 2002 Tanks enter Nablus. Estimates suggest 200-300 tanks deployed around the city are meeting resistance from Palestinian defenders.

The refugee camp is nothing like I expected - no tents or shacks, but small stone buildings - 3m x 3m units per family. Eleven thousand people live in 1km square. Everywhere you go there is art work, murals and graffiti on the walls. Art lives on. Every street is covered with posters of martyrs - those killed while fighting, or just victims of the IOF. A lot of the posters are of young boys.


April 03: Jenin: Israeli attempts to invade the camp with tanks are prevented by fierce resistance. Four more dead, including a nurse and a four year old boy.

April 04, 1530: Nablus: Israeli forces take over the An-Najah University. They are also in Balata and Askar refugee camps. Five confirmed dead.

There is no water or electricity at the hospital. The nurses in the neonatal unit must be taking turns ventilating the babies by hand. Some of the babies will die without oxygen - of all the indisputable innocents.


April 04, 17.00: Nablus: Eyewitnesses say Palestinians civilians are being forced to walk in front of tanks as the IOF sweeps the area.

April 05, 0917: Nablus: The old city has been under helicopter attack since the early hours. Eleven casualties reported since last night.

The general theme is the tribal theme. The only voice (allowed in Israel) shouts that we are in a war between two tribes: a tribe of human beings, of pure good - the Israelis - and a tribe of sub-human beings, of pure evil - the Palestinians. The same voice says this is a war of life and death. Only one tribe will survive, so, even if we are not purely good, we must lay morality to sleep and fight to kill - or else the Palestinians will throw us into the sea.

This is not a 'war against terror'. This is a war OF terror, a war in which, in return for Palestinian guerrilla terror, we employ the [IOF] in two types of terror; the visible one - the killing and destruction which some try to explain away as 'defence'; and, the silent terror of occupation, of humiliation , of deprivation and robbery, of alternating exploitation and starvation. This is the mass of the iceberg, the terror that is a greenhouse for counter-terror.

Does Israel have a monopoly on labelling its rivals as Nazis? Supporters of the essentially Nazi idea of deporting all Palestinians, have been part of our Knesset and "legitimate" political map since 1984. Recent opinion polls show 35per cent of the Jewish public supports this 'solution'.

Assaf Oron, a Jewish Israeli Army "refusenik", Jerusalem.indymedia.org, Passover Eve March 29, 2002

April 05, 0340: Nablus: A woman dies when the IOF shelled her home. She is Zaha Sartech (30). Resistance is strong and, having disabled eight tanks, is keeping the Israeli military at bay around the perimeter of the old city.

April 06 1630: Clashes begin in Rafah. IOF amassing around Rafah, Khan Younis, Karni and Erez. The Gaza Strip is under complete closure and has been internally divided into four sections.

Got woken up by machine gun fire and tank shells. Things have quietened down now. Curfew has apparently been lifted until 5pm, although we don't know if that's Israeli 5pm or Palestinian. A group of internationals in the street breaking curfew yesterday encountered a group of Palestinian lads who'd just been released [from Israeli cells] and accompanied them to comparative safety - as the IOF often release people during curfew so they can arrest them again for breaking it.

SARAH IRVING, from BETHLEHEM via e-mail 11:51am APRIL 8

Curfew was reinforced an hour and twenty minutes earlier than announced on television, with no obvious warning to civilians other than the sudden resumption of gunfire. The sporadic fire at the IMC office where we are living, has increased considerably since Israeli Indymedia [in the hope of preventing the IMC being bombed] told the IOF our exact location, and the IOF put it out on their radio station..."

SARAH IRVING, from BETHLEHEM via e-mail 09:12 APRIL 9

Broke curfew yesterday to get [name snipped] clean clothes, and ended up trapped in the hotel whilst the IOF shot at journalists to keep them out of the street whilst they looted shops. We snuck round a back way, with about fifteen pitiful journos following us from about twenty yards, cameras trained, hoping they'd get some pictures of international chicks with no flak jackets getting blasted. There are a couple of really cool press out here, like Bob Fisk and Khaled from Bethlehem TV and the crew from Al-Jazeera, who are very brave and capable. But the rest seem to spend most of their time cowering round corners whilst Palestinians look bemused."

SARAH IRVING, from BETHLEHEM via e-mail 08.14 APRIL 10

April 06, 2030: Nablus: Medical Relief sets up six field hospitals. One, a mosque in the old city, reports 50 people injured, three of those critically. There are five corpses in the room in which they operate. Israeli snipers shoot at any one trying to enter or leave the mosque. In the Askar refugee camp, Israeli helicopters shoot missiles leaving seven people injured. An ambulance given permission by the Israeli military to collect them has its tyres shot out.

We could not get through the checkpoint so travelled over the mountains by foot to get here. There were helicopters and drone planes flying overhead and I had my first encounter with the dreaded settlers. They are armed and very angry. We got to a village and an Arab family took us in. The grandfather had been arrested. He told us of the brutal treatment he received from the IOF, stripped naked, kept on his knees, no food or water for 2 days. His son is still being held. Next day, we walked for two hours into a deserted Nablus (city of 180,000) bullet holes in everything, this is the Holey Land we joked.

MARY KELLY - IRISH NURSE AND ISM (International Solidarity Movement) ACTIVIST via e-mail APRIL 11

April 06 18:00: Jenin: Al Razi hospital: Medics watch helplessly as 28-year-old Nidal Al Haj bleeds to death inside the hospital yard. Israeli snipers prevent anyone attending him. Fifteen dead bodies are reported in different locations. The Israeli army is systematically bulldozing houses in the camp, home to 15,000 Palestinians. They drop tear gas from helicopters. In the afternoon, occupation soldiers announce they will ceasefire to allow the women and elderly to get water. As those fetching water reach the camp's entrance, all are detained. Shortly after, residents say the Israelis call out to the resistance fighters to surrender to save the lives of the detained civilians. Detainees are seen strapped to the tanks and personnel carriers, which then resume their bombardment. The Israeli officer heading the Jenin reoccupation offensive is removed from duty having failed to take over the camp.

First Day April 3: I hear tanks and helicopters. The Israeli troops have entered Jenin City. All day the muezzin from the mosque is calling out for resistance: "Calling all Palestinians, Hamas, Fatah, Jihad. Resist the Army. We are on alert!" By Saturday, they have entered the camp. There are so many tanks. Snipers are everywhere.

The resistance tried to stop the Army from taking the camp and six Palestinians were killed and two Israeli soldiers. That's what the Israeli reports say. The resistance said Israelis will only take the camp over our dead bodies. The resistance used rocket-propelled grenades for the first time and three Israeli tanks were destroyed. The resistance leaders say "there are a lot of surprises in store for the Israelis".

SATURDAY, APRIL 6 9.30am: Israeli troops broke into our house and took over the rooms. They broke furniture and seem very angry. They are rubbing dark camouflage cream on their faces. Some were nervous and I could see the hatred in their eyes. One of the soldiers spat at us. Then some soldiers took my father into a room using him as a shield while they were shooting out from holes they made in the walls. They moved all 24 - neighbours, cousins and relatives - into my uncle Sophi's room.

SUNDAY, APRIL 7: An Israeli soldier was shot in our house. He was seriously injured. There is blood all over his face and he is screaming. The other soldiers put bandages on his face and his arms and later, they put a drip with glucose in his arm. Later, he screams for his mother.

I am afraid they will take revenge. They scream at us in Hebrew. They tell us not to go near the window. One soldier is so angry he bangs his head against the wall. The Apache shells the camp all day and the soldier tells us: "We will not leave this place until all the armed men surrender." The Palestinian resistance keeps saying: "We will never surrender." The only muezzin left in the camp continues all day, telling the fighters to resist.

MONDAY, APRIL 8: The Apache keeps shelling. The houses are burnt. No one knows how many people have died inside their houses. Today there is fighting also in Nablus, where my uncle and aunt live. Today, Israeli reports say two Israeli soldiers are killed and five injured and 50 Palestinians are killed. Palestinian sources are different. They say there are hundreds of Palestinians killed. The radio also says there is a massacre here in the camp and the world knows nothing about it.


April 08, 20:02: Jenin runs out of water, food and medical supplies. People are drinking waste water.

The IOF are not allowing rotting bodies to be collected from the streets; they shoot at people who try to bring home the dead but do not shoot at the cats and dogs that have started to eat them.


April 09, 2002: Nablus: Israeli forces continue shelling. Twelve residents are killed. In Askar refugee camp, Israeli forces kill two residents. Hafed Sabra (60) and Amjad Abda (11). During the raid of the old city, the Israeli army take 1000 residents to Hawara military base. They close a field hospital at Al-Beik mosque. Loudspeaker announcements from jeeps say: "We are stronger than you - you are weak - there is no-one here to help you."

April 09, 2002: Jenin: More than one third of the camp has been destroyed.

April 10, 2002: Jenin: Israeli forces dig large holes in the Haret al-Hawarish area. Eyewitnesses see Israeli troops putting bodies in the holes.

TUESDAY, APRIL 9: A pregnant neighbour called Hyam comes knocking at our door. She is having pains and is frightened. The soldiers scream at her to go away but she has nowhere to go, she says. She goes out on the street again with her little daughter who is waving a white cloth, like a flag. But they shoot at them anyway. When Hyam gets back to her house, her husband is gone, he has been arrested by the Israelis. Her other children were taken by her neighbour.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10: There is a radio report of a suicide bomber in Haifa on a bus. He came from Jenin. When the Apaches circle, the children put their hands over their ears and the Israelis tell them not to be afraid. "The Army knows we are here, you won't get rocketed," they say.

FRIDAY, APRIL 12: Another suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Every day is the same. On the news, I hear 13 Israeli soldiers are killed in Jenin camp. I don't know where it is, because there are explosions all the time. One of the soldiers says to my father: "Now we will not leave until every Arab is dead."

DIARY of REEM SALEH (15) who lives in the Jenin refugee camp. She told an indymedia translator that she once wanted to be a teacher or a nurse but now wants to be an amlieh esteshhadieh, a suicide bomber.

Things in Bethlehem are bad, but things are bad elsewhere. Do we cancel food drops here to go to demonstrations against that bastard [Colin] Powell in Ramallah, leaving Bethlehem without internationals? God we need more people. We kind of thought that Powell's presence might at least inspire a brief pullback and give people a little respite. But not even that seems to be happening. The entire international community has sold out the Palestinian people.

SARAH IRVING, from BETHLEHEM via e-mail, April 12

April 13: Ramallah: After several attempts on his life, the IOF arrest one of the most popular figures of the Intifada, Marwan Baghouti - a senior Fateh leader and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Ariel Sharon says: "Like in every democratic country he will be tried and put in prison."

April 15: Khader Shkirat, General Director of Palestinian human rights group LAW, visits Barghouti, at the Russian Compound ('Moscowbiya') in Jerusalem. His hands and legs are shackled to a small chair, angled to slant forward so that he cannot sit in a stable position. Due to nails sticking out of the chair his back is bleeding. He is not allowed to sleep. Position abuse, known as 'shabeh', is a favourite of the Israeli General Security Service ('Shin Bet'). Barghouti's interrogators have told him they have his son in detention in Ashkelon and they are going to kill him.

The Intifada will not stop until there is an end to the occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. The shortest way to achieve this is to make the occupation have a high price. Our strategy is to fight. The [PA] leadership is not prepared for this, but the people are.

One month ago we called for the establishment of an Intifada government. This means to allow all the Palestinian factions who are united now (and this is the first time they are all working together on the ground) to have representatives in the Intifada government: to formally adopt the policy of the Intifada as the policy of the government. This is a good solution until we are somehow able to have general elections. The PA refused this, but the people have welcomed the idea.

from: A Conversation with Marwan Barghouti by Toufic Haddad February 2001, BetweentheLines.org

The thought of any activists cosying up with a corrupt dictator such as Arafat is a worrying one.


April 13, 2002: Jenin: Israeli army chief, Brigadier-General Ron Kitrey, tells Army Radio it has killed hundreds of Palestinians in Jenin. Fighting ceases when the Palestinian resistance ran out of ammunition. Unarmed men are being rounded up within the camp and taken for summary execution. Waddah Fathi ash-Shalabi, 35 and Abdul Karim Yusif Sa'adih, 38 are shot dead in front of a group of 150 men.

We entered Jenin camp on the morning of the 14th. It was a closed military zone, but the few soldiers that saw us, did not intervene. The lower portion of the camp appears to be almost deserted, except for wandering goats. Every house has been damaged in some way.

Bulldozers have cut a 10 metre wide path from the north to the south of the camp so the tanks could get in. Many people have families buried inside, under the rubble.

The destruction in the centre of the camp is total. an area of 5000sq ft that is nothing but rubble in what was once the most populous, and poorest area of the camp. It was also the area of the strongest resistance.

Estimates vary between 250 - 350 homes demolished, and 450 to 600 families, perhaps 2000 people, homeless. We saw bodies of six people killed inside their homes.  They'd been there for about six days and it's been hot - decomposition is rapid. You know exactly where a body is because you can smell it.

Today, there is no food, water or electricity in the camp. We met two UN trucks that have been prevented access by the Israeli military for eight hours. They were happy to let us take whatever we could carry. To my knowledge the only international organisation in Jenin is Amnesty International who brought lawyers, took statements from some of the refugees, and filed cases against the Israeli government.


On Thursday 12th April, in Bethlehem, I was filming tanks attacking ambulances. One of the soldiers shot at me, hitting my car about 10cm from my head. When he realised I wasn't shot, he told me to approach him slowly, to put my camera down, and take off my flak jacket and hardhat. They blindfolded me, put me in a tank, and took me to Etzion.

Etzion is not just a settlement. It is a new prison. When you enter blindfolded they ask you: "Are you a man? You will be a woman soon!" as they kick you in the groin. They shout abuse at you, about your mother, your sister and your God.

They put me in one of the tents, with 41 other people. The youngest was 16, from Ayda camp. The oldest was 65, from Beit Jala. Rami, the Druze soldier, is in charge. He shouts in Arabic. He is about 20. He especially dislikes Palestinians. Once he pointed his gun at us and said that he would shoot us. He said he could just claim it was a mistake and no one could do anything.

The food was tinned military rations. They would open the can and put it in front of you, still blindfolded and handcuffed. You had to ask to go to the toilet. When you call, you're told to shut up. When you call many times, you are kicked in the head and body. One of the prisoners wet himself and started to cry. They make you stand if they think you are going to sleep. Sleep is just a few stolen moments. It was too cold to sleep at night.

Khaled's statement on release from prison 14 AprIL 12:52

April 16, 15:15: Nablus: The Israeli military cut the phone lines and destroy the water supply. Of the four camps in Nablus, at least two, Balata and Askar, have been without food, water, and electricity for 13 days. The camps are sealed off by soldiers and tanks. As of last night, they are shelling the camps.

There are few patients in the hospital, not because there are few injuries or deaths, but because ambulances are not allowed to reach the dead and dying. A Red Crescent ambulance driver told me he has been arrested four times in a week. They are forced to take off their clothes, handcuffed, blindfolded and made to stand in the sun for two or three hours while the soldiers shoot their guns. He showed me the bullet holes and broken windows in the ambulance.

Yesterday a boy found an unused tank shell. It exploded and left his eyes burned shut, his body blackened and blood pouring from his stomach. His cries revealed a voice in the process of changing. He could not have been more than 12 years old.

Mary Kelly - IRISH NURSE AND ISM ACTIVIST - via e-mail April 15

April 16, 2002 16.30: Nablus: A group of internationals, attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the Askar camp are intercepted by the IOF.

Today we planned to take food and medicines to Belata and Askar refugee camps which have been under attack and curfew for weeks. We were six Palestinians - a Doctor and 5 paramedics - and 25 activists - 15 from France, 5 from the UK, 3 from US, 2 Danes and myself from Ireland. We met an army checkpoint with IOF soldiers and one tank. We declared our mission, showed our passports and got through to Belata.

Our efforts to visit Askar were stopped by two tanks which blocked our way. The soldiers fired warning shots from machine guns. We turned back and were stopped at the same checkpoint but this time they did not let us through and wanted to punish us for taking food to Belata. They made us wait for two hours. Suddenly, we were surrounded by four tanks and two police vans. Machine guns were fired into the air. Things escalated quickly. We were told that they wanted to arrest the Palestinian doctor and the five paramedics, but that we [the internationals] could leave. We refused to leave without the Palestinians. They warned us that things would get ugly if we did not obey. We quickly formed a protective ring around our Palestinian friends. A concussion grenade exploded into our group, then the soldiers started beating us kicking, punching and rifle butts were used. They managed to drag the four Palestinian men away from us, beat them, forced them to kneel and handcuffed them. We were very shocked to put it mildly! Many of our group were injured, especially the men, but we still had the two Palestinian women in our midst. They threatened us with more violence but we refused to move and linked our arms tightly around the women. They destroyed the film in our cameras.

We refused to leave until they returned the four men. A stand off situation went on where we expected another attack from them. We let them know we would not move until they returned the four men. After what seemed like a lifetime, they returned the prisoners to us and allowed us to go home. They beat us but did not win.


April 19: Nablus: IOF raids in Naseiriah neighbourhood kill one. In Nablus, seventy Palestinians, including many children and women, are killed during the attack. They are buried in a mass grave during a 5-hour lift of the curfew imposed on the city.

April 19: Gaza Strip: Fifteen Israeli tanks attack the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early Friday, killing at least three Palestinians in the Brazil neighbourhood. A 15-year-old boy is shot dead in the Sweidiah neighbourhood.

April 22: Gaza Strip: Four Palestinian children are wounded, including a three-year-old shot in the head, when Israeli troops fire on them as they threw stones at Israeli bulldozers.

April 24: Ramallah: A delegation from the EU, holds talks with Arafat today. This is the ninth day that the moqata'a (presidential compound) has received no food or water. The Israeli authorities refuse to allow the injured out. One activist has a broken back, another went out to speak with some of the soldiers and was told: "Tell them to come out, then we will shoot them."

International law forbids the building of the settlements, but 34 new settlements have been constructed in this year alone. Collective punishment is illegal. But Israel has now escalated from interrupting food shipments to completely shutting off water to the city of Ramallah, endangering the lives of 120,000 people. The shelling of innocuous Palestinian civilian structures such as power plants, schools, and sewage facilities, is occurring at an alarming rate. Unarmed civilians are being killed on a daily basis. Israel is making a mockery of international human rights law, and by its tacit acceptance, the UN is severely eroding its credibility in the region and beyond.

Neta Golan and Ian Urbina, moqata'a Compound

April 25, 14.00: A group of over 50 internationals join a 1000-strong Palestinian civil society march to protest against the continued siege of their town, and to demand an immediate withdrawal from Palestinian territory.

16:00: Seven people are injured at the protest in Ramallah, one of them with a bullet to the head, who dies hours later. Although clearly unarmed, tear gas, sound bombs and live ammunition are used.

The Director of the Red Crescent in Jenin was killed with a doctor when their ambulance was bombed by an IOF tank in March. Two medics were killed in Gaza and two in Turkharem. Over the past 19 months, 225 medical workers have been wounded. Many [people] have died due to ambulances being stopped and shot at, and many women have given birth in horrifying circumstances while being held up at checkpoints.


April 25, 2002: Jenin: A truck bringing aid from the USA is turned back by residents of the camp. The boxes, including baby clothes and toys, are marked 'a gift from the United States'. Some of the goods were clearly manufactured in Israel. One man points to the destruction caused by two US made Apache helicopter missiles and says: "This is the biggest gift we got from America."

April 27 12:00: Nablus: A woman in the Kalandiya camp, holds close the body of her dead child, torn apart by an explosive "dum-dum" bullet. Pointing at her other sons she cries: "I did not hate Israelis, nor did my sons. I don't want to hate them. I don't want my sons to kill their sons. Help us."

April 28, 17:00: Bethlehem: A group of 20 internationals force their way through barbed wire to gain access to Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity.

8am, we went to a briefing. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, was to help break the month-long siege at the Church of the Nativity and get food and a team of international observers inside. The Israeli army had been shooting indiscriminately at the church ever since 26 people had been allowed to leave safely a few days earlier. Two parts had been set on fire by the army the night before, and a man had been killed there that morning. The hope was that the killing would stop once there were internationals inside.

We travelled to Bethlehem via back roads to avoid checkpoints, switching vehicles from time to time, decamped and walked in small groups to be less obvious.

Someone brought card and a marker pen and drew a map. "There's the church, there's the square, these are the alleyways we'll approach through. This is the barbed wire we'll have to go over. There's a tank here and another one here. There are snipers here, here, here, here and here." Oh. Not just security cameras then?

We stuffed toilet paper in our ears in case of stun grenades. We soaked scarves and hankies in case of gas. We were told, if we were shot at, they'd almost certainly be shooting over our heads, in front of us or at the ground, so under no circumstances should we run or get on the ground.

I've never been so scared in my whole life. Perched on a step with Kate and Marcia, Trevor and the two Nathans. Feeling my pulse thundering through my temples. Trousers falling down. why didn't I sew a top button on them? Out of the alleyway, into the wide square, tanks in front, the church ahead, a shout, no shots, a roll of barbed wire approaching, how am I going to get over it without getting caught up? My hands are full. Walking though it, pulling my trousers along with me, walking as fast as my legs will go, ignoring the shouts, the backs of the people in front my only focus, dimly aware of a khaki man running, glancing across at him grabbing someone, can't see who, wrestling them down, walking faster, wanting to run, people ahead running, still no shots, running too.

Shield the door and the doors open and hands are reaching out, taking the food we're passing in, a woman pushes through into the church. That's not meant to happen, all the food bags are in. The door closes. We've done it. A quick hug of pure joy. "Faster. Come on." Israeli troops in front of us, blocking the way, linking arms, trying to push against the line. Pulled apart from each other, still clinging to Trevor's arm. Jeff bleeding. Sitting down, legs round Marcia, physically lifted from the ground and carried into the Peace Centre, dumped on the floor. Skulking in a corner hiding the dictaphone tape recording of the action in my pants.

Bizarrely, a khaki man says to Huwaida: "We're not at the University of Michigan now you know." At some point in some other life, they were both at the same college in the US, this Israeli soldier and this Palestinian-American activist.

The soldiers were unimpressed: "We were really close to a Final Solution and now you've ruined it." Final solutions frighten me. There had been signs of an intent to storm the church and end the siege with an intense burst of violence, potentially the deaths of many of the refugees inside. Yeah, we ruined it, and amidst all the uncertainty of being detained by them, there was a defiant high, which their fury only fed.

We were separated and asked to call the people in the church and tell them they had to come out. Apparently the Palestinians inside the church wanted the internationals to leave, but rather than simply ask them to go, they had asked the negotiators to ask the soldiers to ask us to ask them to leave. Yeah right.

After a while I climbed out of the window of the office I was locked in, reached up to the rafters above and swung myself onto the roof of the Peace Centre. I knew the trapeze training would come in handy one day. The stars looked amazing up there, the moon just past full, so much more real than the tanks surrounding it. There was nowhere to escape to and eventually they got me down.

Hands bound, we were put in a lorry and taken to the Bethlehem checkpoint. The women were taken out, tied hands and feet and put on the floor of a van. We were driven to the middle of nowhere and they opened the back doors. Bastards. they were going to dump us in the arse end of beyond at two in the morning, having taken all our ID and phones.

JO WILDING - UK ACTIVIST after deportation

My first glimpse into the darkness was of two armed Palestinians, dressed in flak-suits, crouched aiming rifles at us as we passed through the gate. As the gate was closed, torches were lit, our faces checked, then the door to the main church opened. We walked through to a rousing reception from the 150 or so Palestinians waiting on the other side.

Spokesmen of the various factions formally welcomed us, thanked us and made it clear we were free to leave at any time. We explained that we intended to stay until the siege was concluded.

It was explained that there were IOF snipers on or in most of the surrounding buildings. We were shown the sniper crane. This crane 100-200m in height, which looked down into church complex, was fitted with a camera and rifle remotely controlled by an IOF soldier on the ground.

The church itself is a complex of courtyards, offices, gardens, halls, priest's quarters, towers and tunnels. We were shown an office burnt out by IOF incendiary devices. One man had been killed by a sniper, while fighting the fire. All the windows in the upper reaches of the church were smashed and the walls pockmarked with bullet holes.

We were shown a bell tower where a few weeks earlier the bell ringer had been shot and killed, and a rooftop area where we were told an IOF assault team had been repulsed with fatalities on both sides.

There were thirty priests from the Armenian, Franciscan and Greek Orthodox traditions who share the church in an uneasy alliance of faiths. Of the approximately 150 Palestinians, about two thirds were civilians the remaining third armed. All those present were adult males excepting a handful of nuns and the three female international activists. It was clear that all those present were there of their own accord and that reports of a hostage situation were totally unfounded.

The Palestinians had not eaten properly for weeks. Many were gaunt, all looked thin. A few people were obviously ill. One man was falling in and out of consciousness and occasionally having fits.

ALISTAIR HILLMAN - UK ACTIVIST - report posted on www.squall.co.uk after deportation

April 29: Bethlehem: Nidal Hueida, 28, is shot dead in the compound of the besieged Church of the Nativity.

The sniper crane afforded the IOF a view into the otherwise invisible courtyards of the church. This crane was routinely raised, lowered, and moved. People would get used to a habitual safe route around the complex, which would suddenly be rendered dangerous. It was in this way that many of the deaths and injuries occurred. While we were there, one man was shot. We had been speaking with him the day before. He was friendly, the father of eleven children. The IOF claim he had been pointing a gun out of the church. The Palestinians claim he was hanging his washing out to dry.

Food was distributed by a committee, which arranged the cooking of one meal a day. A typical meal for one person would consist of between half and one cup of a weak spiced soup containing maybe five pieces of pasta or a sprinkling of rice, a few leaves and perhaps 10-20 lentils. On sparse days, some people would cook up a weak salty soup of mustard leaves found in the gardens, and others would fry lemon leaves until edible. While we were there, three deliveries were made: our delivery; the only token effort by the Israelis that included pot noodles (a press stunt - enough for 10 people); and a delivery by Bethlehem women. It was an exceptional week in terms of deliveries.

ALISTAIR HILLMAN - UK ACTIVIST - report posted on www.squall.co.uk after deportation

April 29, 04.00: Hebron: Israeli forces enter the Palestinian port of Hebron. Nine Palestinians are killed and 25 wounded. Several buildings are destroyed, including a television station. Throughout the day Israeli tanks patrol the city while sporadic shooting is heard. A curfew is in place. Ninety Palestinians are arrested 'suspected' of being connected to Saturday's attack against the Israeli settlement of Adura.

May 01: Hebron: Overnight more than 300 people are detained following what witnesses describe as the 'targeting of students'. Student houses are attacked and one is firebombed. The IOF is preventing fire crews from attending.

May 02: Gaza: Sabha Abu Ghanem, 48, is hit in the chest as Israeli tanks and bulldozers are used for incursions in the centre and south of the Gaza Strip.

May 05: Bethlehem: The siege at Nativity Church continues. There are conflicting reports in the media concerning the situation and treatment of some of those inside.

The last days were exhausting. Time and again, the negotiations appeared to be hours from closing and then would break down. One event of note occurred a few days before the end when we were asked to leave by a Palestinian "go-between" negotiator. He claimed the negotiations had finished, that we were to leave immediately, and that the Palestinians would leave one hour after us.

We were in contact with a representative in the compound in Ramallah who was in direct contact with Arafat. We were told that we should not leave as the negotiations were in no way closed. Italy was not accepting the exiles and no agreement had been reached as to how the weapons in the church would be decommissioned. The "go-between" spread rumours and caused a situation where it appeared we were deliberately holding up the proceedings. Tensions between us, and some of the Palestinians, were high.

Later that day, our consulates applied similar pressure. I explained that they were misinforming me, and they should not bother to contact me anymore. By nightfall, Italy's refusal to accept the exiles was in the press, and tensions dropped.

Next day, many Palestinians thanked us for not leaving and seemed aware of the trickery that had been attempted. We were lucky to have contacts we could trust both inside and outside the church which enabled us to make the right decision for the people in the church and to avoid the political wrangling.

ALISTAIR HILLMAN - UK ACTIVIST - report posted on www.squall.co.uk after deportation

May 06: Internationals held: Nathan Musselman, Nathan Mauger, Tom Kaoutsoukos begin a hunger strike in solidarity with Trevor Baumgartner, Huwaida Arraf and Jo Wilding who are themselves in the fifth day of a hunger strike in protest at their detention. Today, two of them are hospitalised and, despite tests showing their blood sugar levels to be dangerously low, they are returned to detention. At least two have been deported without due process. The rest are denied information or access to lawyers. The men are being held at Kiryat Arba, an illegal settlement in Al-Khalil (Hebron). 152 foreigners have been refused entry to Israel since April 3, including a Greek team of doctors, Italian members of Parliament, and British, Belgium and French peace campaigners.

May 06: Hebron: Dozens of tanks, which had been gradually pulled out in the past weeks, come back in force. Soldiers brake into houses and offices, destroying equipment indiscriminately. Hundreds of inhabitants are arrested and ordered to strip almost naked, to show they are not wearing explosives.

May 07: Nativity Church, Bethlehem: Under arrangements brokered by the US and EU, 13 Palestinian militants will be sent into exile in Cyprus while 26 others will go to jail in the Gaza Strip. The other Palestinians inside the church are interrogated then set free in an effort to end the 36-day standoff.

May 07: Israeli forces move back in to Deheishah camp.

May 09: Apaches and F16's sporadically shell the Balata refugee camp. Tanks are again moving on the Jerusalem road.


Palestine Indymedia http://jerusalem.indymedia.org

Israel Indymedia http://indymedia.org.il

Women in Black http://www.womeninblack.net/

Hebron Christian Peacemaker Team http://www.prairienet.org/cpt/hebron.php.

LAW Society (Palestinian human rights group) http://www.lawsociety.org/

Palestine Solidarity Campaign - http://www.palestinecampaign.org/

Electronic Intifada http://www.electronicintifada.net

International Solidarity Movement http:// www.rapprochement.org