- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 31, 2002

From combined dispatches
JERUSALEM After a tense night surrounded by Israeli tanks and troops, an American trapped alongside Yasser Arafat in the Palestinian leader's offices left yesterday with a delegation of humanitarian workers.
Adam Shapiro then made a relieved telephone call to his family in New York City. "He said 'I'm out, I'm out, I'm out,'" said Mr. Shapiro's brother Noah.
Mr. Shapiro, a 30-year-old volunteer medic, had entered the compound Friday afternoon in an ambulance to evacuate Mr. Arafat's guards who were wounded in exchanges of fire in the Israeli assault.
The army's takeover is part of a major military offensive carried out in retaliation for attacks on Israeli civilians.
Mr. Shapiro had spent the night sitting on the floor in a room in Mr. Arafat's three-story office building, which has been surrounded by Israeli forces since Friday, said his fiancee Huweida Arraf.
Mr. Shapiro managed to send an urgent text message to his fiancee yesterday morning. "Phone lines have been cut. Need Red Cross." After that, his mobile phone battery went dead.
Miss Arraf, 26, said a small group of foreigners was able to enter Mr. Arafat's compound later yesterday, despite initial objections by Israeli soldiers. The visitors delivered humanitarian supplies and cared for some of the wounded.
Miss Arraf said Mr. Shapiro later walked out of the compound with the visitors. A second volunteer medic, 24-year-old Caoimhe Butterly from Dublin, decided to stay because she has medical training, Miss Arraf said.
Mr. Shapiro, a volunteer paramedic for the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, has been living in the West Bank town of Ramallah for three years, Miss Arraf said.
Mr. Shapiro, of Jewish American background, and Miss Arraf, from an American Palestinian family in Detroit, met in Ramallah while volunteering for the International Solidarity Movement, a group of international activists opposed to the Israeli occupation.
Miss Arraf said Mr. Shapiro told her that two of the wounded Palestinians in the compound needed oxygen, including one who had suffered a mild heart attack.
At one point, Mr. Shapiro had called her to tell her about the meal he had shared with Mr. Arafat.
"I don't think there's a lot of food. He was like, 'I just had breakfast with the president," Miss Arraf said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide