Dalal Salamah, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was in Houston on Friday to issue a plea for aid as well as understanding for fellow Palestinians.
"There is a need to talk about our situation," Salamah said in an interview.
"Through the media, people are able to see the attacks and the damage, but the daily life -- how people manage their daily lives. I want to paint a real picture of how they manage to live," Salamah said.
As she spoke Friday, the Israeli army was surrounding the Palestinian city of Ramallah with barbed wire, blocking what was a way to leave and enter Ramallah without passing checkpoints.
The move, according to international aid officials, is the first step in an Israeli plan to encircle all eight major cities of the West Bank, and their outlying villages, including Salamah's home, Nablus.
"There is no semblance of normal life in the camps and villages now," said Salamah.
"In Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, each city and refugee camp is separated from the others. Sixteen cities, totally separated from one another," Salamah said.
"Some people who tried walking (from one village to another) to get milk and bread for their kids died," she said. "They are suffering because they have finished their water, their own wells are empty."
"No laborers may now go into Israel, or between Nablus, Jerusalem, or the other villages," Salamah said. "They must stay in their villages.
"The students in the schools cannot get to the university. Ambulances may come to sick people, but they are forbidden from taking people in the ambulances, they must leave them there," she said.
Salamah said she wants to talk about those things, as well as "the difference between the national struggle (against Israeli occupation) and terrorism."
"We condemn terrorism," she said, adding that suicide bombings carried out in Israel "are acts of young people and some political parties."
"It is condemned by me and by the Palestinian Authority. But how can we explain to the younger generation, they are not allowed to bomb themselves in Israel while the Israeli forces attack Palestinian villages and camps?"
I won't have sympathy for your cause until such time as whoever is actually in charge there genuinely punishes those who aid and abet the suicide bombers. Put someone in charge who actively works to promote peace and stop violence, and then we can talk.Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 25, 2002 to Around the world