Report on the Destruction to Palestinian Institutions in Nablus and Other Cities (Except Ramallah)
Caused by IDF Forces Between March 29 and April 21, 2002
(Report Updated April 22)
Palestinian NGO Emergency Initiative in Jerusalem
“The aim of this war (1948) not merely to uproot the Palestinians from their homeland but also to erase it from their memory”
Meron Benvenisti in his book Landscape of Memory (translated from Arabic, 2002)
Table Of Contents
On the night of April 3, 2002 at approximately 9:00 p.m., hundreds of Israeli tanks, armored vehicles and bulldozers entered the city of Nablus from 3 directions; the west, the south and the east. The invasion led to a great loss of human life (71 thus far including five children) and the injury of many more. Less quickly quantifiable is large-scale damage and destruction to the city’s infrastructure as well as to its irreplaceable cultural heritage centered in the Old City (Casbah).
This very preliminary report can only point in a general way to the areas and types of institutional destruction caused by the IDF invasion and cannot clearly assess the specific circumstances in which ancient buildings in the Old City were destroyed or heavily damaged– answers to such questions will have to wait for more specialized assessments. The pattern of damage to public institutions outside of the Old City suggests that primarily destruction occurred due to their being used as strategic military locations by the IDF (i.e.high buildings for sniper positions). At the same time, some confiscation was undertaken at these locations.
While it is true that much of the fighting was for a period centered in the Old City, as well as at various times Askar Camp, Ras al Aein and al Shabaka Street (all areas which suffered the most damage), other institutions located outside of these areas seem to have been particular targets. In specific independent mass media stations suffered a similar fate as those in other towns (such as Ramallah) in which systematic destruction of their offices and equipment was undertaken by the Israeli army. In addition, the offices the Municipality Building suffered destruction and vandalism while being far from centers of fighting.
The following is a very preliminary overview of the destruction to public institutions and cultural heritage sites in the City of Nablus. It is in no way comprehensive but is simply an attempt to make what information has been gathered thus far available to concerned parties.
The Old City of Nablus dates back to 71 BC, and is considered one of the oldest cities in the world. Its buildings belong to different historical periods dating from the Roman, Byzantine, Crusade, Islamic and Ottoman periods. Since the coming of the PNA, in 1994 Nablus Municipality, undertook with the support of international donors a major renovation and rehabilitation project of the Old City. Streets, arcades, houses, public springs, mosques and churches have been renovated under the supervision of specialized international agencies including UNESCO.
During this invasion, the Israeli army has destroyed and damaged large parts of the Old City’s cultural heritage sites. The Old City was hit by rockets, shelled by tanks and then huge drills and military caterpillars went on to make further destruction from the ground. A one dunum area of the Tabaneh Kan’an area was completely flattened by F-16 bombing.
The following is a preliminary report on the damages that occurred to the cultural heritage of Nablus:
1. Al-Khadra Mosque, (more than 1000 years old), was 85% destroyed. The beautifully sculpted and inlaid mihrab was destroyed. The IDF used bulldozers with drill and other attachments.
2. Al-Kabeer Mosque, which is 1800 years old (Being Byzantine Church before), was 20% destroyed.
3. Al-Satoon Mosque, which is 1600 years old (Being Byzantine Church before), was 20% destroyed (windows also shattered).
4. Greek Orthodox Church located in Yasmin quarter, which is 400 years old, was 40% destroyed (Building not destroyed but the Alter place, chandelier, pews, bibles, shattered glass, cracked walls). The structure is too unsafe to be used for prayer. Also outside rooms belonging to the Church heavily damaged.
5. At least 60 houses of different historical periods (1500 AD –1940) were totally destroyed. Over 200 houses were partially destroyed.
6. At least 80% of the renovated stone-paved streets of the Old City were totally damaged.
7. Al-Shifa Turkish bath, which is 400 years old, was hit by three rockets, which caused 50% damage to the bath. The part destroyed was the more important historical section of the baths – the destruction was by apache gunship shelling.
8. The eastern entrance of the Khan (old market) which is 220 years old, was completely destroyed.
9. Many supporting arches and arcades above the streets were severely damaged.
10. 2 soap factories (300 and 500 years old respectively) were completely destroyed. One of them belongs to Kanaan family. Destroyed by F16 bombing.
11. 3 soap factories of between 300 and 500 years old were partially destroyed.
12. 7 Roman water sources were completely destroyed.
The Engineers Union of Nablus evaluated in 21 April 2002 the destruction in the Old City by 80 million US$.
Information: Municipality: Tel: 972 (0)9 2388170, Fax: 972 (0)9 2379718 E mail: email@example.com; Jawwal: 059 237237 (Majed); Cel: 052 201459 (Ayman)
Jawwal: 059 777060 (Ayman)
Alaa Badarna: photographer free laser. Tariq al Mahaba FM. 059 207 635; 057 870035; 09 237 13 72
The premises of Palestinian National Council (PNC) and Palestinian Refugee Department of PLO were occupied for a number of days by IDF forces. Besides using the building as a sniper position (it is strategically located at the entrance to the Old City in a high building) soldiers also vandalized the offices and confiscated data files. The following is reported by two officials who work in the building.
External damage The external metal doors to the building were blown up and completely destroyed
Internal damage VANDALISM: The offices were completely vandalized. 8 windows are broken (Aluminum and glass); 4 Computers were thrown on the floor, broken 3 tables and files from cabinets strewn across the floor. Soldiers defecated in a number of rooms - the offices are filthy.
Confiscation: Hard Disks from PNC offices were taken from a number of offices including all the files related to internal correspondence, personnel and financial accounting.
Impact on work: Palestinian National Council and Palestinian Refugee Department of PLO have clearly suffered considerable financial loss due to the destruction or damage to equipment, furnishings and physical structure. How much data and documentation has been confiscated or damaged is impossible to determine until now.
Information: Said Salameh: Employee at Palestinian Refugee Department of PLO and Bilal Al Shakhshir, PNC member.
Located at the Southern Entrance to the City
(A British Mandate “Taggert Building)
The governorate is housed in a British Mandate “Taggart Building” it is large three storey structure surrounding an inner courtyard. It has been strafed by helicopter gunship on a number of occasions prior to the recent invasion and had already been badly damaged. The following is additional damage to the building incurred during the current invasion. Besides security services offices it also contains regional departments of the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Structural Damage: Six tanks shelled the building for a period of thirty minutes. The façade of the building was severely damaged. Widespread internal damage, especially in the civilian offices. IDF forces then went onto ransack the building.
Confiscation: Hard Disks and many paper files were taken.
Vandalism: Computers, equipment and furniture were smashed.
Information: Alaa Badarna: (local journalist) 059 207635; 057 870035; 09 2371372
(Location: Near Nablus Square)
A number of regional offices of Ministry’s are located in this building including: PLC, Committee for Land Defense (PLO), Institute of General Information (Office of Head of PNA), Development of Women Health Department (Ministry of Health), Front of Popular Struggle (political party). On April 4 around 2:00 p.m., Israeli Military Forces shelled this eight-storey building which may have been targeted potentially because it is a high building near the entrance of the Old City. There are no fighters in side of it during this destruction.
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE: The building from the exterior is moderately damaged:
The windows of the first 4 floors are completely destroyed. Those of the other 4 floors are partially damaged. All internal doors, which were locked, were broken into and badly damaged.
Vandalism: Many files strewn on the floor and damaged furniture.
Information: Ali Salameh (PLC): 059 20 44 10.
The City hall was hit by the bullets during first three days of invasion, many gl are broken. The area is not a fighting area.
VANDALISM: the Statue of Zafer Al Masri, the former mayer of Nablus, was completely destroyed. The parking place was totally damaged. Concerning the municipal Vehicles, 25 vehicles were partially damaged, one ladder car was totally damaged.
Information: Municipality Tel: 972 (0)9 2388170, Fax: 972 (0)9 2379718
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jawwal: 059 237237 (Majed) Cel: 052 201459 (Ayman), Jawwal: 059 777060 (Ayman)
Alaa Badarna: photographer free laser. Tariq al Mahaba FM. 059 207 635; 057 870035; 09 237 13 72
In 8/4/2002, the IDF raided Nablus branch of Bisan Center for Research and Development. All the offices in the building were invaded.. This area is not fighting area.
The Beisan Center’s two doors were broken (one of them by explosives). Video machine destroyed, hard disks taken from computers and computer monitor smashed. Books and papers strewn on floor. Broke small office items. Not possible to assess what paper files missing. One camera was stolen.
Kitchen equipment was also smashed.
Note: Soldiers placed sponges on all faucets and toilets, no explanation for this strange action..
Adress: Allol and Abu Salha Bulding, Hitin Street
Information: from Izzat Abdul-Hadi, Director (Ramallah)
On 05 April 2002 a contingent of IDF soldiers blew up the entrance of the eight story building where the YMCA offices are located in Nablus. The YMCA offices in Nablus include program Rehabilitation, Women's Training, Extension Services, Youth Opportunities and Youth and Community Development Programs.
They entered the offices by force and destroyed the main door, all of the interior doors and windows of the offices. The furniture, office equipment and documents were thrown all over the floors. The soldiers entered all the other offices in the building and destroyed the main doors, the interior doors and windows. All the contents of the offices were searched, many of the offices' furniture, computers and other office equipment were destroyed. “Hally Internet Company”, was subjected to total destruction of all its furniture and equipment.
The building contains 50 to 60 doctors' clinics, offices of lawyers, business and non-governmental institutions..
Information: The East Jerusalem YMCA. 29 Nablus Road, P. O. Box 19023, East Jerusalem Tel. No.: +972(0)2 628 6888(Operator), +972(0)2 628 9307(Direct)
Fax No.: +972(0)2 627 6301, Email: email@example.com
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE: During three days from April 4th to 7th, these offices were shelled. All the glasses were destroyed. Many bullets hit the offices inside. Explosion made 2 computers damaged.
Address: Al Suk Street, Entrence of Balata Camp
Information: Deputy Hussam Khader. Jawwal: 059205 410
On Wednesday 4 April at 1:00, the IDF surrounded and blasted the building from tanks until 3:00. 3 rooms of this station were damaged: one of them is completely destroyed. About 35% of offices destroyed. This station was targeted as there is no fighting in this area.
Alaa Badarna, the photographer, and a sound engineer stayed in the building for 7 days without food and only with water. The International Red Cross was not able to evacutate them. Finally the Associated Press evacuated them.
Now The station can hardly work after this destruction. The team transmit the sound of Al Jazira TV.
Adress Al Adel Street. Abdel Hadi Bulding, 7th Floor.
Information: Amer Abdel Hadi firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 09 237 13 72 and Alaa Badarna: photographer free laser. Tariq al Mahaba FM. 059 207 635; 057 870035; 09 2371372.
During the invasion of Nablus from 4 until 9 April, the Israeli army caused damage to 7 major schools in the city. The main objective was to enter the old city but also to use the space for maneuvering the tanks. These schools are:
1- Al-Fatimeya Girls Schools (in the entrance of the Old City), which is over 400 years old. About 30% of the school is damaged (wall, rooms). Parts of the walls surrounding the school is also damaged; the entrance of the school is destroyed, in addition to some rooms.
2- Rashda Girls School, Parts of the walls surrounding the school were damaged, as well as the gates of the school.
3- Jamal Abdelnasser Girls School (in the entrance of the Old City). Parts of the walls surrounding the school were damaged as well as the gates of the school and some rooms.
4- Hawwash School (in the entrance of the Old City).
5- Abdelraheem Mahmoud School.
6- AL-Ansari School.
7- Zafer Al-Masri School (in the entrance of the Old City).
Damage: In general the damage inflicted on these schools comprises: parts of the walls surrounding the school were damaged, the entrance of the school destroyed in addition to some rooms. All these schools are now closed which prevent hundreds of pupils from continuing their studies in a normal way.
Information: Municipality Tel: 972 (0)9 2388170, Fax: 972 (0)9 2384027, E mail: email@example.com
Jawwal: 059 237237 (Majed), 059 777060 (Ayman), Cel: 052 201459 (Ayman),
It has been extremely difficult to access information from most other towns since they have remained under curfew without break since they were invaded. Also, many re-occupied towns (Jenin, Tulkarim, Nablus etc..) have had no electricity or phone lines for the past week). Below is information on damages to governmental and non-governmental organizations in areas besides Ramallah. All of the following information is very preliminary given that it is based on information from people who have reached sites while the curfew is still on and thus only a very quick picture could be drawn.
Location: Manger Square
This report was made by an employee in the emergency services room set up in the municipality building. He and another 15 emergency workers were in the building when it was invaded by IDF troops. They were detained for a number of hours within the building and then taken to a detention center where he and others were subsequently released. The information he was able to provide was based on his eyewitness account when the events were underway and is very preliminary. The IDF continues to occupy the Municipality building as of April 13th.
Destruction: There has been destruction of many external and internal doors, as well as many windows smashed. A number of interior walls of the building have been destroyed.
Destroyed/ vandalized furniture. Approximately twenty mobile stretchers were taken from the premises; seven of them were returned severely damaged. Also destroyed were three video cameras and a cassette inside one of them was confiscated.
[Employees could make only an initial assessment of damage, due to the ongoing curfew.]
Number of staff: 60
The entrance door was completely destroyed.
VANDALISM: Just before the incursion, the municipality had transferred some archeological artifacts from Tulkarm fearing that they might be destroyed; half of the relocated collection was destroyed. The fire-alarm system, the central telephone system and individual telephones were destroyed. Municipal files were torn and thrown on the ground. The entire library, book shelves and books, were thrown on the floor. Some desks were damaged.
SANCTIONED THEFT: Two municipal computers were taken. In the library, a computer and a camera were taken.
CONFISCATION: All of the municipality's floppy disks were removed.
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE: The windows and doors were broken.
(Information supplied by Mayor,Hamdallah Hamdallah; who has photos and a detailed report on the destruction.)
This charitable organization has a staff of 11 and offers health services and social and cultural activities for women, provides relief for the poor and outreach for the elderly, in addition to operating a preschool (230 children) and daycare (10 infants).
The outside wall was blown up with explosives, which also damaged the building. The gate had several bullet or shrapnel holes in it.
VANDALISM: There was a great deal of superficial damage. All of the glass was found broken.
(Information provided by Itaf Al-Qabbaji )
The Tulkarim branch of the GUPW is engaged in promoting and marketing embroidery and other traditional handicrafts produced by village women in the area.
The door was blown open with explosives.
VANDALISM: All drawers were apparently searched and all files were opened. The office equipment appeared to be intact. Embroidery had been strewn all over the floor and stepped on.
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE : Windows were broken.
(Information supplied by Fawziyyeh Yahya Aboud)
This is a preschool with 6 employees serving 70 children.
External destruction Main door destroyed.
VANDALISM: All of the children's the toys were thrown on the ground and many smashed. The wall-to-wall carpeting has been ripped and in some places removed, the small puppet theater was destroyed.
(Information supplied by Fawziyyeh Yahya Aboud)
For further information on this report contact:
Sari Hanafi, Director of Palestinian Refugee and Diaspora Centre, Shaml : Hanafi@p-ol.com; 050 335 103; 059 47 3798