Last night, as we huddled around the radio listening to news reports, we were shocked to hear that tanks had been moved onto the hills surrounding Ramallah. Today, we saw them.
Above: Israeli tank overlooks Ramallah skyline. For me, more than any other, this photo summed up the sense that Ramallah had become Beirut. Photo by Nigel Parry.
There's an old street fighters' proverb that says, "Don't pull a knife unless you are prepared to use it." Although Netanyahu clearly wanted to engage in a bit of territorial swaggering, it didn't seem that impossible to us, on this side of the tank's cannon, that he would be stupid enough to use it.
The feeling that war had been declared through this escalation of weaponry was undoubtedly in the air. A little unnecessary when you consider that the only weapons Palestinian police have were AK-47's, each with 30 bullets or so.
Right: This photo is of the tank moving into position on the hill above Ramallah, kicking up clouds of dust. Photo by Kifah al-Fani
Were the tanks really to roll into Ramallah there would be a massacre. I am willing to bet real money that the soldiers and population here would throw stones at the tanks if they had nothing else.
There was no way with the current mood in town that people would stay passively in their homes while Israel reoccupied the town. There would have to be a massacre.
Left: Above an ancient wall, the barrel of a tank's cannon points directly down at Ramallah.
Many more, out of sight, surrounded Ramallah, as well as other Palestinian towns. Photo by Nigel Parry