In April 2002 the Israeli Army invaded the cities of the West Bank, they started with Ramallah and Baitlahem leaving Nablus and Jenin to the second week. The operation Definitive shield marked Nablus’s bloodiest battles since the 1967 occupation. 90 people were killed some were active combatants, most of them were civilians as many houses were uprooted with bulldozers and jet fighters. After 2 weeks the Israeli Army announce a full control over the old city of Nablus(the city major battle field).
An Israeli soldier in the old city of Nablus
After another 2 weeks the Israeli army left Nablus center to relocate its troops on the city entrances, the army will return once for one week, before they return a month later to stay for more than 90 days.
Soldiers stopping a Palestinian medic in Nablus
In September 2002, I moved to a public school called Qadri Touqan, the school was build next to Joseph tomb, near Balata refugee camp in the east side of the city, while I lived in the west side of Nablus, to be more accurate, in the far west. The trip normally would take 30 minutes “for a city like Nablus, this is pretty long”, yet in the only time I went to this school, the trip took me 3 hours.
It’s started at 6:30 when I woke up, I changed into my school gray uniform, and left to catch a bus or a taxi to the city center, me and some friends walked for 20 minutes before realizing that the Israel army is blocking the main street, car were not allowed to pass through, so, we walked towered the tank and the 2 armored carriers parking next to it. We passed with no delays, yet, one of us were detained and released few hours later.
Armored soldiers carrier in the street of Nablus
I found a car to take me to downtown, where I took the bus to school, but the bus can only take you to what we called then “Tora Bora”. No I am not talking about Afghanistan, I am talking about the streets in front of the governmental compound, The street were turned into a deep hole, with a huge dirt barrier after it, leaving one street open with at least 3 tanks and soldiers carriers standing guards, checking the people IDs, allowing no one to pass, so I did what everyone else did, climbed up and walked from behind the destroyed compound, and walked away from the Army.
Finally I had no more opsticals between me and school, accept the fact it was 2 kilometers away, I looked for a car to take me to it, soon, I realized that I had to walk. I walked for at least 30 minutes, before I reach the schools, went to the principle office to check in my papers, by the time I reached my class the student were going for the lunch break. It was the last time in this school, next day I moved to another school closer to my home.
An Israeli soldier in a house in the old city
I can hardly describe Nablus in 2002, but I hope this post drew an image of how Nablus looked like in September 2002, the following picture from Nablus serve well as visual aid.
Blowing up residential building in Nablus
Soldiers patrolling the old city of Nablus
Placing explosive in the walls, to pass to the other side
Israeli soldier in house in Nablus searching it.