As the Israeli army invades Ramallah, fear and anxiety deepen among many Palestinians — but so does solidarity.
By Zena Tahhan
The past few days in the occupied West Bank have been particularly difficult. Violence, killings, and military raids are common here, but Palestinian cities are now facing even deeper uncertainty and instability.
The Israeli army imposed a military closure on the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, and closed major checkpoints between cities.
The closure, raids, and restrictions on movement followed two drive-by shootings carried out by Palestinians this week near illegal settlements. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in one of the shootings, and in the other, several Israeli settlers were wounded, including a pregnant woman whose baby was delivered prematurely and later died.
As events began to unfold on Wednesday, the Israeli army raided Ramallah and stationed soldiers at Al-Irsal Street, a main street in the city. Within minutes, Israeli soldiers invaded the area, parading their presence very close to the Palestinian Authority’s Presidential Compound and President Mahmoud Abbas’ residence.
Soldiers killed four Palestinians in separate operations across the West Bank, and over the past several days, dozens of Palestinians have been rounded up in widespread arrest raids. Palestinian youths have been confronting Israeli soldiers at checkpoints and near settlements. Soldiers have been responding with tear gas and bullets, killing at least one teen.
This is the ‘de facto’ capital of Palestine? some Palestinians quipped. A video of an Israeli soldier trying, but failing, to climb a short wall turned into a meme of Abbas offering the soldier a ladder.
“The scene removed the veil from the eyes of many Palestinians — particularly [those] living in the Ramallah bubble — that we are living under the false pretense that there is a state and we have independence,” said Fadi Quran, a Ramallah-based activist. “Israel reminded the Palestinians that this is an illusion, and humiliated the Palestinian Authority,” he added.
Palestinians are used to electricity cuts, night raids, arrests, restrictions on movement and killings, but beneath the veneer of normalcy and jokes reigns an atmosphere of anxiety.
Since the closure was announced, events have...Read More