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New York Activist Reports from Bethlehem:
International Group Plans to Act as "Human Shields" Tonight
Kristen Schurr
30 Mar. 2002, Bethlehem

Contact: Amanda Ream, 212-541-4226 x241, Direct Action for a Free Palestine Bethlehem, Palestine Friday, 29 March 02 Report from Bethlehem by New York Human Rights Observers: International Group Plans to Act as "Human Shields" Tonight

Over 10 New Yorkers are in the West Bank as part of a coalition of international groups. They are sending reports as violence takes over in Bethlehem and the surrounding region.

"Troops are surrounding Bethlehem where the International Solidarity Movement of 100 is currently stationed. There is no way in or out. The area and all checkpoints are completely closed. A suicide bomber detonated inside a West Jerusalem supermarket at noon today. The ensuing Israeli attack depended on where the suicide bomber was from. She is from Dehesha refugee camp in Bethlehem. Her video-taped statement was released on Fatah TV around 2pm. Israeli tanks are rolling into Beit Jala, a town connected to Bethlehem."

"Thirty-five Italians are inside Dehesha refugee camp as observers and human shields. They have been staying at Ibdaa Cultural Center nearby for the past week. The sound of F-16s is in the air, as is an unseasonable hail and wind storm, which is making conditions even more chaotic. The ISM will spend the night as human shields at Beit Jala, or in Ad Doha guarding would-be bulldozed homes, or as shields and observers inside Dehesha. Ramallah is under siege. Two buildings inside Arafat's compound have been taken over. There are bodies strewn about the compound. There are 60 internationals inside Ramallah. All power has been cut off, but their hotel runs on a generator so they may be able to get information out. Some internationals are riding inside of ambulances, which are being fired upon."

"There are 10 dead (eight Palestinians and two international journalists) at Al Aqsa in Jerusalem, the scene of now-Prime Minister Sharon's arrogant visit to the Muslim holy site which marked the beginning of the second Intifada."

Report from Kristen Schurr Bethlehem, Palestine cell: 011 972 56 622017

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