Nablus – the lion’s den

God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, the fire next time!” – James Baldwin, in The Fire Next Time.

It is starting to get cold in Nablus. There are fires all around. At night, smoke palls over the city. The old city of Nablus in Palestine is under curfew. Residents have reported the murder of a number of young men and the abduction of others. It is difficult for the Israelis to get their tanks and armoured vehicles down the narrow streets. In nearby village of Nabi Saleh, a young man, Qusay al-Tamimi, darts out with a pistol in his hand. He is shot dead, in the legs and in the stomach. Is Qusay the brother of Ahed Tamimi, whose father once said: ‘my children have known only a life of checkpoints, identity papers, detentions, house demolitions, intimidation, humiliation and violence.

Another Palestinian family in Nablus is in shock. The mother has already lost a son and a husband to Israeli shelling. The noise of gunfights surround their apartment. Her second husband is still suffering wounds from his youth requiring metal plates in his legs. His mind is out of control having been put in detention time and again. His brother-in-law in Australia managed to convince the Senator for Queensland, Claire Moore, to seek help in the Australian parliament. Then Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, put in a word for the detainees when last in Tel Aviv. That was years ago.

This time around, will Penny Wong do the same? The foreign minister made a step in the right direction by refusing to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, rescinding the support of the previous Morrison government.

Meanwhile despite this escalation of murders abductions, military raids and settler violence, the ABC is silent. Usually the journos wait and if the news abroad sparks an outrage that last for days, only then will they report the latest Israeli violence in the occupied territories. Or remain silent until they could be accused of bias.

The ABC reported the massacre at Bucha Ukraine but little is heard of the massacres of Palestinians in Nablus and Jenin on the West Bank, in Gaza, and in Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut. How long will they wait? The ABC will probably not report this latest incident, unless of course Penny Wong wants to get into the fray. But Penny will probably wait too. Our foreign minister already has the Israelis offside.

Meanwhile the Israeli blockade of Nablus is in its eight day. Here is a report from a journalist on the ground, Nida Ibrahim wearing a button on her chest of her murdered colleague, Shireen

Israeli forces continue blockade of Nablus for eighth day

Nida Ibrahim reporting from the Israeli blockade of Nablus

Wed, Oct 26, 2022


Baby Elisa has spent nearly half of her life at this Israeli checkpoint. Born in a Nablus hospital late on Monday, her parents are trying to bring her home to qalqilya city, a trip that often takes around 40 minutes. But it’s been hours due to an Israeli blockade imposed on Nablus more than a week ago.


The baby has a little difficulty breathing, so we want to take her to an incubator. Eileen is one of hundreds trying to leave Nablus through this checkpoint, which is the only way out.

Truck driver 

I’ve been waiting for more than one and a half hours. I won’t make any profit. The gas is expensive, and I’m wasting it on the roads.

Nida Ibrahim

Israel says the siege aims to prevent the growing number of gun attacks. The Israeli army told Al Jazeera more than 170 have been carried out so far this year. An armed group in Nablus called the lion’s den has claimed responsibility for several attacks in recent weeks, and Israeli soldier was killed in one drive by shooting last week. The Israeli policy of collective punishment is not new. For decades, Israel has been demolishing Palestinian homes, blocking roads and imposing measures against whole communities and neighborhoods.

Palestinians say they’re being killed, detained and their lives are getting more difficult. All under the pretext of security. Israeli officials believe the blockade will put pressure on Palestinians to abandon arms and deter them from carrying out attacks. While the Palestinian Authority has succeeded in recruiting some fighters to its ranks, others say, only a political solution will end the need for armed groups. General dissatisfaction with the Palestinian Authority has led to many people supporting them despite the growing restrictions.

Hassan Ayyoub – political scientist

It’s a reaction that people would give legitimacy and give support to any group to any person to any faction if you want, that may come out and show that resilience that we missed for so so so many, many, many, many years.

Nida Ibrahim

Those negotiations and promises of independence and statehood have been going on for decades. And that means baby Eileen and her fellow Palestinians could be looking at a lifetime of waiting. Nida Ibrahim Al Jazeera the occupied West Bank



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