It looks like an earthquake hit the center of Nablus, a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, as Israeli troops pulled out Saturday.  A massive pile of rubble was all that was left of the Muqata’a, the Palestinian governmental complex.  At least six Palestinians were killed and dozens more wounded by Israeli gunfire, tanks and shrapnel in the city this week.

Nearly 200 more were taken prisoner by Israeli forces and brought to prison camps in Israel where over 8,000 Palestinians are currently being held.

The governmental complex was destroyed by a massive Israeli military force which used bulldozers, tanks, and large amounts of explosives to tear apart several city blocks of buildings which housed the Palestinian governmental buildings in Nablus, including the prison and police.

"They destroyed all vestiges of Palestinian sovereignty in Nablus while we watched, helpless to stop them," said Rafa’a Rawajba , an officer of the Palestinian Preventive security service.  The security service, which many Palestinians see as the only force able to maintain control in what would otherwise be utter lawlessness in Palestine, has been completely destroyed in Nablus.  

More than 1200 employees of the service are now without offices or any official papers.

The real tragedy for the 300,000 residents of Nablus city is the loss of their civil papers archive, including Birth certificates, identification papers and passports, all of which are now covered with dirt and rubble after the interior and civil affair ministry was leveled to ground.

Rawajba said, "The Israelis have devastated the national memory of the city, the computers which saved all the information are now destroyed under many tons of cement."

Palestinian civil defense teams and ambulance vehicles rushed to the destruction site immediately after the Israeli pullout, searching for survivors under the rubbles.

Nablus mayor Adli Ya’eesh was among the Palestinian officials who inspected the ruins of the governmental headquarters.  With his office destroyed, the records of the government buried in rubble, and no way to maintain a police force, Palestinians note that the Israeli forces have succeeded in only one thing by destroying the Muqata’a government complex: making it impossible for Palestinians, in the Nablus area at least, to govern themselves.

*this article was sourced from the International Press Center and local sources