In solidarity with the people of Palestine
The Birds Outside the Cage
Terror and Freedom on the West Bank
By ELIZA ERNSHIRE
Ramallah, West Bank.
The Israeli army arrived in our street at 2 am yesterday morning.
For the past two weeks they have been in Ramallah every night and we knew it was only a matter of time before we would directly experience their invasion tactics. Every morning we had discussed where they had been the night before and how much damage they had inflicted. We had discussed whom they had arrested and who had managed to escape. We had listened with utmost sympathy to the stories of those caught in the apartment blocks that were being searched: to the women who had no time to cover themselves decently, to their husbands taken in nightdress and without shoes.
We had listened to the explosions from neighboring areas of Ramallah and had wondered not if but when our street would be targeted.
It was on August 14 at 2 am.
The only warning we received was a phone-call 10 seconds before the army arrived, telling us that the Israelis were at the Legislative Council, 5 minutes away.
We were still up as my flat-mate was traveling at 5:30 am and we were packing and talking about visa issues and what to do if her visa was denied.
The phone call and then the horrible sound of 10 jeeps and 2 tanks and an arrest-van.
And instant spotlights and shooting and explosions.
Then rocks hurled at our door (aren't Palestinian youths imprisoned for years for throwing rocks?), and four Israeli soldiers at the door with their faces painted and all pointing M-16's at our heads. They were shouting at us in Hebrew, ordering us outside.
We decided that we would distract them if we could to give any poor hunted man as much time as possible to escape.
We also gave the neighbors some relief by giving voice to their anger; a privilege for which they would have been shot.
The soldiers of the two jeeps at our doorstep got sick of dealing with us after 10 minutes and as flares exploded over our heads and heavy gun-fire filled the open paddock next to our house, they began to shout at us to get inside.
We went in and sat on the verandah overlooking the paddock in the spotlight of three other jeeps while soldiers raked the field with bullets. They were shouting at the empty field in the vain and arrogant belief that some wanted man would suddenly appear and they would receive the promotion for his capture. We were shouting back.
They said "come out!" so we did... rest here.