Israeli army terrorises Nablus residents

The Israeli army continued to terrorise residents of the West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian National Authority's International Press Centre (IRC) reported on February 28. IPC reported that at 2.30am that day, an Israeli occupation contingent of 120 armoured vehicles, jeeps and bulldozers stormed into the city for a second time, and began conducting house-to-house raids, removing dozens of residents for interrogation.

On February 27, Nablus mayor Adli Yaish told journalists that the Israeli army had pulled its troops and armoured vehicles out of the city that morning, after a three-day operation that brought life in the city to a standstill. But Nablus district governor Kamal Sheikh said he feared the Israeli army had only briefly halted the operation and would soon return.

On February 27, Associated Press reported that an "estimated 50,000 people were confined to their homes in Nablus, the West Bank's commercial centre", under a blanket Israeli military curfew in the largest Israeli operation in the West Bank in months.

During the three-day invasion of the Palestinian city, Israeli troops killed one Palestinian, injured more than 30 others and abducted more than 150 people for interrogation and detention.

According to the website of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (miftah.org), the Israeli forces seized control of the Gamal Abdul Nasser high school in the nearby town of Toulkarem, turning it into an interrogation centre.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Israeli troops had used concrete blocks to divide Nablus into two halves. PCHR reported that Israeli soldiers also "besieged the National Hospital in the centre of the city and Rafidya Hospital, raided a number of houses and seized control of a number of local television and radio stations, through which they broadcast statements inciting against Palestinian resistance groups".

During raids on the city's TV and radio stations, Israeli soldiers seized transmission equipment and arrested at least one station owner.

The Maan Bews Agency reported on February 25 that Israeli soldiers used the seizure of the radio station based at An Najah University to announce a round-the-clock curfew.

According to a report issued by human rights activists working with the International Women's Peace Service in Nablus, the Israeli soldiers took over the Watani hospital on February 25. Israeli soldiers were forcibly "checking the IDs of all patients, doctors, visitors and staff, in addition to searching every car, handbag and package".

The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on February 27 that "Israeli occupation forces (IOF) prevented on Tuesday an ambulance from reaching a citizen suffering from asthma. A WAFA correspondent revealed that the Nablus resident, Ghareb Selhab, is in a critical condition after being denied access to medical treatment by the IOF.

"After tear gas was fired into his house by the IOF, the 47-year old asthma sufferer had a severe attack. An ambulance was prevented from reaching him for two hours. Selhab is now in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit of Watani hospital… Sources from the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees report that they have been unable to reach 8 people who needed insulin."

AP reported that Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told journalists the Israeli operation would "undermine the efforts" by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah to maintain a ceasefire with Israel. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas condemned "the criminal Israeli assault on Nablus", saying it was designed to undermine Palestinian efforts to form a national unity government.

However, the Israeli army's invasion of Nablus has resulted in all of the Palestinian resistance groups pulling together and calling on the population of Nablus and the West Bank to work together to oppose the occupation.

Joharah Baker, a regular media contributor to miftah.org, reported on February 28, that "for the past three days, there has been no sign of infighting in Nablus, only a strong sense of unity and a realization that ultimately, the only real enemy threatening the Palestinians is the Israeli occupation. People have also realized that the only way an entire city will be able to endure the harsh blows of this power, whose true goal is to bring the resistance to its knees, is to link arms and minds and weather the storm as one strong and united front".

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