Christian Aid offices in West Bank destroyed

 Returning to their offices for the first time in three weeks, staff working for both the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP) based in Ramallah and the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC) discovered that they had been destroyed and tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment broken or looted. Sue Turrell, Christian Aid's programme manager for the Middle East, who is visiting the region, said she was shocked at what she found. "I'm appalled by this wanton destruction, there is almost nothing left, " she said. "These are humanitarian organisations and the destruction of their offices and their equipment is going to have grave consequences for the delivery of essential services, such as medical relief, to the poorest Palestinians." HDIP staff say their office was used as a military centre during the Israeli clampdown. Computers have been ripped out and hard-drives removed. Printers, videos and fax machines have also gone. Dr Mustapha Bargouthi, director of HDIP found a photograph of himself with a bullet through it. "This is a clear message," he said, surveying the damage. It is a similar story over at the offices of UPMRC in Ramallah where there are now gaping holes in the walls. Almost all the equipment from their eye clinic has been damaged or destroyed. Dr Jihad Mashal, the director general of UPMRC, said several members of his staff were used as human shields by the Israeli army. "They took Mohammed twice and our other driver was taken several times," he said. "They invaded the Legislative Council and the Ministry of Education using them and went door to door pushing them in front of them."

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