Independent Media Center, Israel

Destruction of Palestinian Public InstitutionsTuesday 16 Apr 2002

author: Palestine Emergency Committee

"This is a humanitarian crisis without precedent in its destructive impact on the Palestinian people and its institutions", Joint statement on the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Territories, from United Nations organizations, including UNDP, UNFPA, World Health Organization, UN High Commission for Refugees, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent and UNWRA, among others. Rome, 10 April 2002**


Destruction of Palestinian Public Institutions:

Destruction of Palestinian Public Institutions:

First Preliminary Report --- April 13, 2002

(Palestine Emergency Committee)

"This is a humanitarian crisis without precedent in its destructive impact

on the Palestinian people and its institutions",

Joint statement on the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Territories, from

United Nations organizations, including UNDP, UNFPA, World Health

Organization, UN High Commission for Refugees, International Federation of

Red Cross and Red Crescent and UNWRA, among others. Rome, 10 April 2002**

This is a very preliminary inventory of damage done to Palestinian public

institutions by the Israeli army in the course of its invasion of

Palestinian cities and villages that began March 29th. The information will

undoubtedly be augmented by reports from throughout the West Bank once more

on-the-ground investigations are possible and when communication systems are

working again. Indeed, this report overwhelmingly focuses on institutions in

Ramallah, due to the fact that temporary liftings of the ongoing curfew have

allowed individuals to make preliminary inspections of institutions once

they are no longer occupied by IDF forces. The main focus here is

particularly on ministries and other institutions of the Palestinian

Authority, while ongoing information is being collected on non-governmental

organizations, and the media. However, even the initial findings indicate

several disturbing patterns with very grave consequences. In particular,

institutions of the Palestinian Authority have been subjected to a

consistent pattern of incursions which focus on seizure of records and

financial resources and destruction of technical infrastructure. There has

been a consistent pattern of seizure of documents, hard disk from computers,

paper files as well as widespread vandalism. In addition, is what we have

called- "sanctioned theft" - seizing of equipment which has no

or intelligence value, as well as some theft of money. The private media has

also been subject to extensive and systematic destruction of its technical

facilities. The evidence suggests a policy of de-institutionalizing all

Palestinian media - and not just that of the PNA but Palestine's vibrant

independent TV and radio sector, as well. The limited data on destruction

and theft of non-governmental organizations, is also reported. Due to the

limited data available, it is less clear if the organizations themselves are

specific targets or whether they are primarily victims of general searches,

IDF occupation of buildings for barracks, sniper positions, or lookouts.

The interim agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation

Organization, and the fragile, if flawed, peace that ensued, ushered in a

period of Palestinian institution-building that was unprecedented in scale,

although drawing on the rich experience of developing local institutions,

particularly non-governmental organizations, during the period of direct

Israeli military occupation. While the Palestinian Authority admittedly had

very limited sovereignty, powers and territory, for the first time a

Palestinian government authority directed Palestinian education, health,

civil affairs and social services, among other functions and

responsibilities, and began to plan for economic and social development.

Elections were held in January 1996 for the first elected Palestinian

parliament which brought into being the 88-member Palestinian Legislative

Council and elected Yasser Arafat as President. When Israeli policy and

military action is directed at "dismantling" the Palestinian
Authority, it

not only targets political leaders and institutions of self-rule, but it

also targets vital services for the survival of Palestinian society,

un-doing developmental projects and initiatives crucial to a stable and

democratic Palestinian future.

Palestinian institution-building was strongly supported by the international

community; donor funds to Palestinian governmental and non-governmental

institutions in the 1995-2000 period amounted to 3,313,719,000 USD of which

933,411USD went for social spending, particularly education and health. Up

until October 2000, the Authority also steadily increased its own revenue

collection. Even in the difficult conditions of siege and closure of the

second intifada and the refusal of the Israeli government to transfer owed

revenue clearances to the Authority (its most important source of revenues),

it is vital, as the World Bank and UNSCO state, "to recognize the

functions and achievements of the Palestinian Authority in providing basic

essential services under very adverse conditions during the past five

 months" (World Bank and UNSCO 4 April 2002). The incursions into the

Ministries of Education, Finances and Civil Affairs, as well as the

municipalities, noted below, certainly threaten these services and should be

of great concern.

 The report is based on phone interviews with individuals who were able to

make on-site visits as well as reports issued by institutions that were able

to make preliminary inspections themselves. It includes only those

institutions that could be physically surveyed for damage. Institutions that

are still occupied by Israeli military forces (as stated in the report), are

included only if the external assessment gives some indication of the extent

of probable damage. The ongoing curfew in all of the towns invaded by the

IDF has been the main obstacle to collecting information.

The detailed report contains the following:

Ramallah PNA institutions

Ministry of Civil Affairs

The Legislative Council (PLC)

Ministry of Education

Central Bureau of Statistics

Ministry of Finance

Ramallah/ El Bireh Local Government

Municipality of Ramallah

Municipality of al Bireh

Al Bireh Municipal Library

Ramallah District Chamber of Commerce

Ramallah Non-governmental Institutions

1. Human Rights Organizations:  al Haq, Mattin Group and Mandela Institute

2.Development and Relief Organizations: HDIP and Union of Medical Relief

Committees, Ramallah branch of the YMCA,

3. Private Radio and Television Stations: al Quds University Educational

T.V. and Radio and others in Ramallah

Other Towns:

Bethlehem Municipality,

Anabta Municipality and two community organizations

Tulkarm General Union of Palestinian Women Office

 At this time there is no further information available on the fate of other

occupied or invaded Ministries in Ramallah which include:

Ministry of Culture (IDF continues to occupy it since Friday March 29)

Ministry of Information (IDF continues to occupy it since Friday March 29)

Ministry of Interior (Inside Presidents Compound: shelled -- amount of

destruction unknown)

Ministry of Agriculture (occupied by IDF April 12th exited April 13)

Ministry of Social Affairs (occupied by IDF today April 13)

Health Secretariat (occupied and exited by IDF April 13th)

General Personnel Office (occupied and exited by IDF April 13)

At this time there is no further information on reported damage or IDF

occupation of the following Ramallah-based NGOs:

 al Damir, prisoners rights organization; al Mawarid Educational resource

Center; Law human rights organization, Sakakini Cultural Center (invaded

April 13th); The Young Scientists Club, The Agricultural Relief Committees.

The following NGOs have been invaded by IDF (and visited by staff when

curfew lifted) but have only suffered mild damage from searches includes:

MUWATEN, Birzeit Continuing Education Program, Birzeit Institute of Music.

Report Compiled By:

Dr. Rema Hammami, Birzeit University

Dr. Sari Hanafi, Shaml (Refugee and Diaspora Research Center)

Dr. Elizabeth Taylor



This preliminary report only covers civil institutions of government and has

not attempted to deal with the widespread destruction of Palestinian Police

stations and other security force installations.


1. Ministry of Civil Affairs

Location: Um al Sharayat

The Ministry of Civil Affairs is headed by Minister Jamil al Tarifi. It is

the main address for Palestinians living outside the occupied territories

who want to apply for visitor permits, family re-unification and residency

permits. It also handles the customs and other administrative details for

Palestinian returnees. As such, most of its work is done in liaison with

Israeli officials who vet every application. The Ministry is housed in a

five story building and divided into six departments.

Damage: Extensive vandalism, some confiscation of materials and some theft.

From a preliminary on-sight report by Ministry employees the following

description was provided. The main doors to the Ministry were blown open

(evidence of a blast), inside the main entrance reception area were the

remains of a large pile of burnt documents.

Equipment: Inside the two sections that were visited thus far (there are six

sections altogether), destroyed Xerox copiers (seem to be sledge hammered)

as well as destroyed computers and printers. The central phone exchange

taken as well as a digital receiver in the Ministers office.

Confiscation of Records: Thus far some missing hard drives, but stolen

papers from especially the Ministers office (neighbors told the employee

they saw soldiers carrying out what seemed to be boxes of papers). Many

destroyed documents.

Theft: Door to Minister's office blown open, the safe inside also blown open

and its contents including documents and Ministry finances missing. Petty

cash of 6,000 shekels taken from the finance department.

Other: The employee stated that the entrance and offices she entered were in

complete disarray and severely vandalized. Besides broken equipment, broken

filing cabinets and papers strewn everywhere -- many internal windows were

smashed as well. Additionally, pictures on walls (especially with

Palestinian themes) were found on the floor smashed. Also graffiti sprayed

on walls. The employee stated that she was so horrified at the extent of the

damage and vandalism that she was unable to visit more of the building and

left in tears.


Location: Ramallah / Masyun district

The Ministry serves about one million children, i.e. a third of the total

Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza. It is the main address for

the overall administration of all government primary and secondary schools,

their faculties, as well as archiving of student transcripts. On April 3rd

at approximately 4:00 p.m. 30 APC's and tanks carrying approximately 150

soldiers broke down the ministry's main gates. Four employees in the

Ministry were taken to open doors, in some cases when they had no keys doors

were exploded open or broken open. Reports suggest that at other times even

when staff offered to open doors they were ignored while soldiers forcibly

broke in. Staff were made to stand outside in the cold for more than six

hours while soldiers were inside the building.

Damage: Extensive vandalism, theft and confiscation

External Damage: IDF tanks demolished the main gate to the building and the

main doors of the premises were forced open.

Internal Damage: The IDF forces vandalized the Ministry's offices,

confiscating computers and educational aids and removing or destroying vital

records and documents.  Although it has not been possible for the Ministry

to assess the full damage and destruction wrought, the following specific

damage was noted by Ministry employees who were able to make a brief room by

room survey of the damage when the curfew was lifted for a few hours.

 General: the Ministry's computer net servers were removed

financial office: the main safe  was blown open damaging its contents,

including dossiers, promissory notes, cash, check books and vouchers

-central office: the Israeli forces blew up metal filing cabinets destroying

vital  documents.

- all offices: files have been torn up, and left in huge piles on the floor

-  Storage room:  the IDF confiscated computers, overhead projectors,

sets, and other valuable educational equipment

-  Central office:  The Israeli forces blew up and destroyed all main

They took away or destroyed records and references that are highly important

for official transcripts.

-  Remaining offices in the Ministry:  The forces seem to have

many floppy disks, CDs, files, dossiers and documents but more time will be

needed to more accurately assess.


The Ministry's records, which were confiscated or destroyed, have been built

up over many years. The Ministry hopes it will be able to re-construct

destroyed records for the issuing and certifying of students' transcripts

from regional MOE offices. The MOE is unable to gain full and clear access

to the premises in order to make a comprehensive and detailed assessment of

the damage and losses at this point. However, it estimates the financial

loss merely of equipment, such as computers, videos, TV sets and overhead

projectors, to reach millions of dollars. Most of this equipment was

financed by donor countries and organizations. The main and direct impact of

this destruction, however, is on the one million Palestinian children who

are enrolled in the school system and who constitute the main resource of

Palestinian society in the future.

This data is based on a fuller report undertaken by the Ministry itself. For

the full text please contact Acting Minister of Education

Dr. Naim Abu Hommos,


Fax + 970 298 3222

3. Palestinian Legislative Council (al-Bireh and Ramallah)

The Palestinian Legislative Council (or parliament) has two main buildings

within el-Bireh/ Ramallah. The al-Bireh building is the main administrative

office of the PLC while the Assembly Chambers are based in Ramallah in the

Ministry of Education.

A.      Main Administrative Building in al- Bireh

Damage: Vandalism, Confiscation and Sanctioned Theft

Based on an on-site visit by the PLC director general, and two PLC staff, as

well as witnesses in the neighborhood, the following preliminary report can

be made. Israeli troops broke in late Tuesday night, around 1:00 a.m. on

Wednesday, April 10.The actual break-in was witnessed by neighbors living

across the street from the PLC building.

Destruction: Soldiers broke into the main entrance and subsequently the door

and glass partition of the Economic Committee, the Budget Committee, the

Political Committee, and the Legal Committee. Most of the damage included

breaking and removal of doors and windows. Some equipment was damaged and


Sanctioned Theft: A computer and many files were taken from the Speaker's

Office. A computer was also taken from the technical departments office.

Confiscation: Files and documents taken from the Speakers office and the

Chief Clerks office. Hard drives taken from computers. All the computers

were open in the personnel department.

Vandalism: The Library and the Public Relations Unit have suffered extensive

vandalism, books and files were thrown all over the floor. The door of the

"Hansard" (sound and video equipment) office was broken, documents

thrown on the floor, but the equipment was left intact.

The IT Unit, Information Department, and Director's General office did not

sustain any damage. Cars and vehicles parked on the streets were damaged,

and troops took keys of vehicles from the Technical Department. Telephones

are operating at the Council, and the Council has electricity.

(The above information  is based on ARD report provided by Dr. Mahmoud

Labadi, PLC director general, and two PLC staff Faisal Zakarneh, and Ahmad

Abu Dayyeh, along with Amin Sbeih of ARD/PLC2 project)

B.  Legislative Council Chambers in Ramallah Ministry of Education

The Chambers of the Legislative Council are where the 88 members meet when

the PLC is in session. The Chamber auditorium includes not only seating for

the council members, but expensive technical equipment for computerized

voting, video coverage of sessions and a closed circuit communications

system to link it with the administrative building in el-Bireh.

Damage: Destroyed Doors; Confiscation of Video Archive of PLC Sessions

At approximately 4:00 p.m. on April 3rd, around 150 soldiers, with 30 tanks

and APCs, forced their way into the Ministry of Education's Compound. The

soldiers detained four employees of the Ministry of Education's compound,

including Mr. Salah Soubani, and made them walk in front of the soldiers and

open doors.

A group of about 50 soldiers forced Mr. Soubani to accompany them to the

Legislative Council Chambers, next to the elementary school, on the grounds

of the Ministry compound. They asked several questions about the Chambers:

Who attends the meetings? What do they do in the sessions? Do people work

there or live there?

Any door that could not be opened with a key, was blown up with an explosive

charge. [Several people living in the neighborhood heard the explosions.] A

door to the school was blown up and the door between the school and the PLC

Chambers was also blown up. The soldiers looked through every room of the

PLC wing. They took all of the video-cassette tapes from the lower video

room, at least a hundred tapes of Council sessions, put them in plastic

bags, and carried them away. As far as Mr. Soubani knows, no equipment was

stolen or damaged in the raid.

The soldiers did not appear to be from a special unit. They wore basic green

army fatigues. They did not use names when they talked to each other,

instead they called each other by numbers, except for one soldier who was

repeatedly referred to as "Sharon".

When the rooms were inspected today, April 4th, Mr. Salah Soubani confirmed

that sound (Hansard) and Video equipment seemed to be in place and intact.

The above  report is based on ARD/PLC2 project interview with Mr. Salah

Soubani, director of the Information Department at the Ministry of


4. Ministry of Finance Central Office

Location: Sateh Marhaba Area

There are three buildings of the Finance Ministry in Ramallah. The Central

Office in Suteh Marhaba has been visited by Ministry employees once the

curfew was lifted, the other two (one in the Industrial district and one

downtown) are occupied by the IDF and cannot be visited. The Central Office

houses the Ministers office as well as a number of main departments

(Accounts, Payroll, General administration etc.). It was broken into by a

group of soldiers on approximately the 4th day of the invasion of Ramallah

according to neighbors.

Damage: Broken doors, Extensive Confiscation of Computers and Computer Hard


Destruction: Broken entrance doors and many internal doors destroyed, as

well as windows. Elevator badly damaged. Destroyed Computers. Destroyed


Confiscation: Computer skeletons strewn on the floor, due to many hard disk

drives being taken. The most hard hit section in terms of taken computers

and hard disks seems to be the Payroll department. Documents strewn on the

floor suggests that paper files may have been taken but the employees did

not have time to assess. Other computers were found with their screens on.

Other comments/ Impact: The general director suggested that the main

destruction and loss was of the Ministry's financial records and accounts.

The Ministry is in charge of disbursing salaries, health and pension

payments to all government employees including teachers, hospital workers,

the police as well as government bureaucrats. The GD says that given the

loss of information, public sector employees face not getting paid in the

foreseeable future until the records can be re-established. In addition,

files for back pay and insurance may have been lost as well.

Information based on interview with General Director Mr. Sami Ramlawi tel.


5. Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS)

Fieldwork Administration Section

Location: Radio Road near Lions Square (al Manara)

The Central Bureau of Statistics is headed by Dr. Hasan Abu Libdeh. The main

section of PCBS is in Balu'a  area and is where most of the statistical

bases and reports are housed, as well as administrative records and

finances. That building was invaded by IDF troops during the first

re-occupation of Ramallah in October 2001. At that time soldiers confiscated

hard disks and vandalized a number of the offices. As of this writing (April

13th) the Balu'a office has not been touched. However, the Fieldwork section

in downtown Ramallah  which serves as the administrative center for

fieldwork has been invaded on four occasions. The department is located in a

four-storey residential and commercial building and is composed of four


Damage: (Only covers first three invasions - as yet no confirmed information

on damage wrought by April 12th  break-in). Two broken doors, some broken

windows -- both in the course of soldiers entering into the building. Damage

is relatively light and there is no extensive vandalism.

Comment: The director of the section said that that it has been entered by

soldiers on four occasions; March 30th, April 3rd and April 8th and 12th.

Based on visiting the site after the first three incursions he thinks the

main aim was general search since the apartments they entered (two) only saw

light vandalism such as broken cupboards and some strewn papers. Equipment

was not damaged. However, neighbors report that on the most recent incursion

into the building (April 12th) they heard explosives being used.


We have only been able to gather preliminary information based on on-site

visits about the following:

Ramallah Municipality

El-Bireh Municipality

Ramallah Chamber of Commerce

El-Bireh Municipal Library

1. Ramallah Municipality

Damage: Extensive vandalism, potentially some confiscation and theft

Ramallah Municipality is located near Clock square, it contains departments

of administration, the court room, engineering, health, sanitation,

archives, surveying  and finance.

 On the evening of Saturday, March 30, a contingent of Israeli soldiers

forcibly entered the Municipality and remained inside for approximately 12

hours. The building was empty when the soldiers entered. The main door was

forced open by spraying it with over fifty bullets of different calibers.

The Municipality, was empty when soldiers broke in, nevertheless they

remained there for approximately 12 hours.. Based on a preliminary site

visit, by municipality staff once the curfew was lifted they report the


"Every department was vandalized,. Furniture was turned over and damaged,

paper files and documents were tampered with, dispersed and thrown to the

floor, surveying plans and building license files were destroyed, office

doors were broken; glass windows, doors and partitions were smashed, and

extensive damage was inflicted on the PCs and computer network. Many of the

PCs were damaged; the CPUs and hard disks either damaged or taken by the

soldiers, and so was the main server. Two steel safes were blown open which

contained important documents pertaining to the work of the Municipality and

some petty cash. Internal concrete block wall partitions were destroyed, and

extensive damage was sustained by the heating, electrical and computer cable


The Municipality staff has not been able to make a complete assessment of

the damage nor determine the extent of the missing equipment, documents and

other items.

The forced intrusion into the municipality was witnessed by reporters and

guests staying at a nearby hotel.

2. Al-Bireh Municipality

Based on data provided by municipal engineers who were able to briefly visit

the building when the curfew was lifted.

Damage: Destruction of outside walls, doors, furniture, computers, municipal

works jeep destroyed, some confiscation of files and hard disks, extensive

vandalism, theft

Destruction: An IDF contingent arriving in tanks broke into the building on

the second day of Ramallah's invasion (Saturday March 30th). The tanks broke

down the outside walls of the municipality and crushed the municipal works

jeep parked outside. Entrance and internal doors broken down. Shattered

windows. Broken furniture. Five computers destroyed  (some for hard disks,

others just vandalized).  Fax machine shattered.

Confiscation: A number of files seemed to be missing and at least two hard

disks taken from computers. The municipality was unable to see what other

documents were taken as yet because of the amount of papers strewn on the


Sanctioned Theft: $12,000 surveying equipment missing


A number of offices were in complete disarray, with overturned furniture and

broken file cabinets. Destroyed files. Computers, central telephone system

and alarm system no longer function.

3. Al-Bireh Municipal Library

Located Near al-Bireh Municipality.

The library building was visited by municipal engineers briefly when the

curfew was lifted. A contingent of soldiers invaded the building on the

second day of the invasion 30th March

Damage: Primarily vandalism, destruction of computers, broken doors and

windows, Confiscation of books and journal

Destruction: External doors, shattered windows, 3 computers broken.

Vandalism: extensive papers and books on the floor

Confiscation: One computer screen was on suggesting that its hard disk had

been taken. A substantial amount of books and journals seem to be missing

although exactly how many (and what type) cannot as yet be assessed.

4. Ramallah Chamber of Commerce (New Building):

Location: (Nazlat Rukab's across from Ramallah Post office)

Based on on-site visit when curfew lifted by Director of the Chamber of

Commerce, Mr. Salah Odeh

The Ramallah Chamber of Commerce serves the whole district of Ramallah. The

Chamber of Commerce owns two attached buildings with the Chamber housed in

two floors in the new main building across from the post office. In the new

building a number of offices were rented out to the private sector (doctor's

clinic, a development research institute, lawyers office etc.). The private

businesses only had their doors broken open and were searched. The offices

of the municipality were widely vandalized. There are no working offices of

the C.C. in the adjacent (old) building, which is mainly rented out to

private businesses and associations. The old building suffered extensive

fire damage (see below under NGOs the offices of the Palestinian Teachers


Damage: External doors blasted, internal doors blasted or broken down.

Smashed computers and Xerox copier, extensive vandalism

On Sunday March 31st a Contingent of soldiers broke into the Chamber of

Commerce building. They blew down the main entrance to the five floor

building. The front entrance was completely blackened by the blast. On the

3rd floor, where the offices of the Chamber of Commerce are located, they

also blew open the door with explosives. The large brass sign at the

entrance with the C.C.'s insignia was shattered completely and the stairwell

blackened by explosive blasts. Inside, the first office they entered

suffered the most damage. Four computers were destroyed (thrown on the

ground and smashed), the Xerox copier was also thrown on the ground and

broken. There was wide-scale vandalism throughout the other offices with

files and papers strewn on the floor. Whether hard disks or paper files were

taken cannot yet be assessed. Furniture in the president's office was

vandalized. The door to the 5th floor conference room was blown open but

nothing seems to have been touched inside. Also the door to the roof was

broken open but again there was no other visible damage. Electricity lines

throughout the building were hanging from the ceiling, there is no

electricity functioning in the building.


As of this writing we have been able to collect briefs on the following:

Human Rights Organizations: al Haq, Mattin Group and Mandela Institute

Development and Relief Organizations: HDIP and Union of Medical Relief


Charitable Association: Ramallah branch of the YMCA, al Nahda Women's

Society for the Hearing Impaired

Private Radio and Television Stations: al Quds University Educational T.V.

and Radio  and others

1. The Health Development Information Policy Unit (HDIP)

Location: Ramallah Main Street

The Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP) was

established in 1989 by a group of experienced researchers and health

practitioners committed to improving the status of health care for all

Palestinians. An independent, non-profit organization, HDIP specializes in

policy research and planning concerning development issues and health care

in Palestine and its publications are widely used by international and local

development agencies and planners. HDIP also advocates on health care issues

relevant to marginalized groups like women, youth and the disabled. HDIP has

served as a consultant for numerous international organizations, including

the World Bank, the World Health Organization, UNDP, UNICEF and

international and local NGOs.

HDIP is located on Main Street, Ramallah, in the same building complex that

houses the economic development and rights organizations, Mattin Group, and

Al Haq, the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of

Jurists.All are currently occupied by IDF soldiers who are using the offices

as a base, with tanks stationed in the Al Ahliyyeh Street crossing Main

Street, and barbed wire preventing access.

On the night of 30 March 2002, a staff member staying in the Al Haq office

reported Israeli soldiers invading the building at 11:20PM and that both Al

Haq and HDIP had been entered by Israeli troops.

Damage: The extent of the damage cannot be assessed as Israeli troops are

currently in control of HDIP offices and environs. Residents have reported

soldiers removing cartons and other items from the building. HDIP had

recently expanded its offices into a very large space below the current

offices of Mattin Group which HDIP had refurbished and purchased large

amounts of new computers, office equipment and furniture.

2. The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, Ramallah

Location: Ramouni Building, Ramallah off Main Street

The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees is a grassroots

community-based health organization founded in 1979 by a group of

Palestinian doctors and health professionals to address the problems of the

decaying and inadequate health infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza

under Israeli military rule. Now one of the largest Palestinian

non-governmental organization, UPMRC runs 25 permanent primary health care

centers, fourteen labs and numerous mobile health units. Its approach is

preventive, with an emphasis on education and participation. In February

2001, UPMRC won an award from the World Health Organization.

On 1 April 2002, Israeli tanks shelled the Ramouni Building in downtown

Ramallah and soldiers ordered all the inhabitants out of the building, which

houses a main office and emergency medical center of the Union of

Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (reported on Haaretz web site of the

same day) Doctors, staff and about fourteen Italian volunteers, including

Member of the European Parliament Louisa Morgantini, were detained by

soldiers; television footage showed some staff made to kneel in a nearby

parking lot. Soldiers entered the building and searched offices.

Damage: At least one shell entered the office of the UPMRC causing a wall to

collapse. The Director of UPMRC, Dr. Mustapha Barghouti, reported that most

equipment was destroyed, including computers and a photocopier. Access to

the Ramouni Building to access damage in more detail is restricted due to

continued army presence in the area. Other UPMRC facilities invaded by the

IDF on 31 March 2002 were the UPMRC Youth Club, the UPMRC Optometry Center,

and the UPMRC Technical Aid for the Disabled Center.

3. Mandela Institute for Political Prisoners, Ramallah

Description: Mandela Institute for Political Prisoners (named for Nelson

Mandela) was established in 1990 to provide assistance to political

prisoners. Its activities now include the provision of legal and material

aid to prisoners detained by both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities,

and to their families, and the training of Palestinian police forces in

human rights issues.

Type of Damage: The premises of Mandela were occupied for some days by the

Israeli Defense Forces. The following is reported by a member of Mandela's

Board of Directors, who was able to make one visit to the office during the

lifting of curfew.

1. External damage The external metal doors to the building, in which

Mandela's offices are housed, were blown up and completely destroyed

2. Internal damage  VANDALISM : The offices were completely vandalized.

Computers (3 counted) were thrown on the floor, broken furniture and files

from cabinets strewn across the floor. Soldiers blocked the toilets leading

to sewage over-spilling and ruining fitted carpets. Soldiers defecated in a

number of rooms -- the offices are filthy.

B. CONFISCATION: The hard drive of the main computer has been removed. Its

contents include Mandela's data base. Due to the imposition of curfew, it

has not been possible to check whether other files or documents have been

confiscated or destroyed.

C. STRUCTURAL DAMAGE: The IDF used Mandela's office to fire into other

buildings. As a result 5 office windows were completely destroyed, including

the aluminum frames. All internal doors, which were locked, were broken into

and badly damaged. .

Impact on work

Mandela has 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 under the present curfew.

4. MATTIN Group (Human Rights)

Location: Main Street Ramallah

MATTIN Group is a voluntary partnership specializing in international human

rights and humanitarian law enforcement. It was occupied on March 29th by

the same armored infantry and sniper force that occupied al-Haq and HDIP,

which adjoin it in the same building.

The main entrance door of the office was torn down on the day after the army

had occupied the premises. Neighbors reported that a large force had entered

MATTIN's premises and were both carrying in and bringing out a large

quantity of unidentified objects.

During the lifting of the curfew on Tuesday, April 2, one of the senior

staff members of the organization attempted to gain entry into the office,

but was not permitted to do so. Based on a soldier's statement, all internal

doors, as well as the internal walls connecting MATTIN's space with al-Haq

and HDIP appear to have been broken down by the soldiers.

In addition to records, computers, and office equipment, among the archives

the office contains an irreplaceable collection of unpublished documents,

concerning International Humanitarian Law  related diplomacy and other

similarly important unpublished materials accumulated over a 19-year period.

On Monday, April 8, another attempt by a staff member to approach the office

was rebuffed by the army. The office building is blocked by barbed wire

which spans the street on which it is located, and always guarded by at

least two army vehicles, including tanks and APC's. Because nobody has been

allowed inside the premises, it is still unclear just how severe the damage

to the office is, and what has been vandalized, confiscated, and looted by

the occupation forces.

5. AL - HAQ Human Rights Organization

Location: Main Street Ramallah

Description: Founded in 1979, Al -Haq was the first Palestinian human rights

organization to be established in the occupied territories and is the West

Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists. Through

activities, such as monitoring of human rights violations committed by both

the Israeli and Palestinian Authorities, it has a long and internationally

recognized role in promoting respect for human rights within Palestine.

 Type of Damage: This report was given by a staff member of al-Haq. It is

based on two quick visits he made to the offices when the curfew was lifted.

 External Damage: The two front doors broken open and badly damaged.

Internal Damage:

VANDALISM: Furniture broken and over-turned such as couch and  filing

cabinets. Content of filing cabinets scattered all over the floor; drawers

forced open and contents rummaged through or scattered 3 computers and one

printer thrown across floor and broken. Al-Haq has not yet had the

opportunity to inspect their laptops for damage

 SANCTIONED THEFT: As yet, can only confirm1 lap top computer stolen

CONFISCATION: Computer hard drives removed on a number of computers as well

as internal electronics likewise taken, leaving only the frame.

STRUCTURAL DAMAGE: One window smashed; 3 inner doors broken open and

damaged. Ceiling in places has been smashed from inside

Impact on work

Al Haq has been working for 24 years and has built up an extensive archive

of documents. The full extent of the impact of this vandalism on their work

depends largely on what can be salvaged from their records and documents.

These are scattered across the floors of their offices. Due to the curfew on

Ramallah, staff have not yet had the chance to see whether any papers or

documents are missing.

6. Ramallah YMCA (Branch of East Jerusalem YMCA)

The YMCAs offices in Ramallah serve not only young people in the town but it

also serves young people in the surrounding villages through its extensive

field programs. It runs a number of important programs for youth, including

vocational training for young women, vocational counseling for girls in

schools, and the career guidance for young people going into the workplace.

It also assists in constructing community youth centers in surrounding


(Based on preliminary reports issued by the YMCA Main Office in East

Jerusalem and based on accounts of people who either witnessed some of the

destruction, and staff who visited the premises briefly during the lifting

of curfew.  It has been impossible to make a full assessment of the damage

due to the ongoing curfew).

The YMCA's premises in Ramallah comprise three offices.The building is

designated by a large outdoor sign on the building.  On 8 April 2002 a

contingent of IDF forces blasted open the main entrance to YMCA building and

the guard's office. They badly destroyed the elevator and there was

extensive vandalism in a number of offices including destruction of

equipment (it seems computers, overheads and other training aids. Reporters

for NBC television living in a neighboring building tried to prevent the

destruction, by repeatedly telling the IDF forces that these were YWCA

premises, funded largely by USAID.  The soldiers ignored them and went on

detonated the garage, destroying also the vehicles inside: one car and one

large van containing valuable educational material, which was used to tour

villages for educational work.

 7. Private Radio and TV Stations

The following is based on an on-site visit when the curfew lifted and

interviews with station managers undertaken by technical consultant to al

Quds educational Media, Wassim Abdullah and excerpted from an extensive

report that he wrote which is now posted at a website along with pictures of

the destruction. See

There are 5 private TV stations and 5 private radio stations in Ramallah, as

well as the official Palestinian authority radio and TV stations. Most of

these stations are located in and around the town center, an elevated area

suitable for maximum broadcasting

coverage. In the totality of the Palestinian Authority areas there are

almost 50 TV and radio stations, more than in any surrounding country. This

independent media was contributing to the building of civil society by

fostering an appreciation of free media, training in technical skills and

reporting, creating local programming, and developing an innovative sector.

The stations benefited from grants and support from the international and

local community.

A. Al Quds Educational Television

Location: on the third floor of the College of Nursing in al-Bireh, near the

entrance to Ramallah.

The TV station is operated by Al Quds University and broadcasts children's

programs in addition to public service announcements, medical information

and emergency services contact information. The institution was open and on

air with a cartoon show when Israeli soldiers broke in. Two staff operators

were held for several hours, eventually released and warned not to return.

Tanks and armored carriers are still on the campus of the college,

preventing anyone from entering. The station has remained off the air since

the takeover.

External destruction: The 40-watt relay TV transmitter and microwave

receiver atop the Bakri building in the Minara of Ramallah was destroyed.

Internal destruction: It is assumed that the state-of-the-art studio and

operations center have been completely destroyed, since soldiers

systematically destroyed almost all other TV stations in the

Ramallah-al-Bireh area. Contents of TV studio: cold lighting, super quiet

air conditioning system, cameras, audio and video mixers, players/recorders,

two AVID suites, a computer lab, microwave studio link and our new 250 watt

TV transmitter, a UPS, a comprehensive children, social and cultural library

of films, computers for the staff complete with audio, video and data

networks, office machines.

B. Al Nasr TV

Total destruction of equipment/extensive vandalism: Microphones, tapes,

CD's, monitors, mixers, players/recorders, etc were found spread over the

floor of the station and completely smashed by sledgehammers.

C. Manara radio station

Total destruction of equipment, extensive vandalism

D. Ajyal and Angham FM radio stations

Location: Bakri building, Ramallah center

The doorman of the building was forced to open the station door to soldiers


used sledgehammers to destroy the two studios, the internet streaming and

editing computers, the 10 Kw and 3 Kw transmitters and the entire music and

program library. Destruction was total.

E. Love and Peace FM radio station

Total destruction of equipment/extensive vandalism.

F. Al Quds FM radio station

The building in which it is located was bombarded and set ablaze. No one has

been able to enter the building to assess damage.

Also ceased broadcasting and feared destroyed: Amwaj TV, Amwaj radio and

Al-Watan TV. The buildings where they are situated are still occupied by

Israeli soldiers and no one has been able to enter to assess damage.


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.


1.Municipality Building

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


Anabta Village (Tulkarm District)

[Employees could make only an initial assessment of damage, due to the

ongoing curfew.]

1. Anabta Municipality

Number of staff: 60

External destruction

The entrance door was completely destroyed.

Internal destruction

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.)

2. The Anabta Women's Charitable Organization

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).

External damage

The outside wall was blown up with explosives, which also damaged the

building. The gate had several bullet or shrapnel holes in it.

Internal destruction

VANDALISM: There was a great deal of superficial damage. All of the glass

was found broken.

(Information provided by Itaf Al-Qabbaji )


1. General Union of Palestinian Women, Tulkarim

The Tulkarim branch of the GUPW is engaged in promoting and marketing

embroidery and other traditional handicrafts produced by village women in

the area.

External destruction

The door was blown open with explosives.

Internal destruction

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)

2. Rawdat Abna' Al-Ghad

This is a preschool with 6 employees serving 70 children.

External destruction Main door destroyed.

Internal destruction

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)

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