Back at the hospital we waited anxiously for a phone call or any news from the other group. After what felt like hours, they came through the front door of the hospital—and they were smiling. I breathed a sigh of relief. They told us that six of the group had managed to make it inside, including four Americans; this was crucial, because up to that point there had been no Americans in the compound. Because the US was Israel's benefactor, protector and ally, having American citizens inside the compound would make it extremely difficult for the Israelis to launch an assault. I had an anxious moment as I tried to find out what had happened to my roommate Nikolaj, a Dane, and nobody seemed to know where he was—but then I finally found someone who verified that he had been among the group that made it inside. I wasn't surprised. Nikolaj was a scout, always full of energy, and he walked twice as fast as anyone else in our group. I'm sure he was the first one to the door. All in all, the action had been a great success.
Some of the group headed back to Jerusalem or to houses where they'd been staying in Ramallah, while many of us remained in the hospital overnight. This was not simply a matter of accommodations: the IDF frequently raids hospitals, taking injured men out of their beds or sometimes out of live operating theaters (as I was to learn later from a doctor in Hebron)—just one among a litany of violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention committed on a regular basis in the West Bank and Gaza by the Israeli occupiers. ISM volunteers would frequently stay in hospitals to attempt to stop this from happening, or failing that to at least act as witnesses. We were placed in two rooms and given mats and blankets to spread on the floor. We were also given a dinner by the hospital staff, cooked especially for us. I had heard about the graciousness and hospitality of the Palestinians, and now I was experiencing it firsthand.
We talked with the hospital orderlies, and they told us some of what had been happening during the Israeli invasion over the past few weeks. One older woman had come to visit the hospital; the cast on her leg was causing her pain, and she could no longer bear it, so she broke the curfew to come and have it looked at. As she left the hospital, leaning on her cane for support, she was shot by an Israeli sniper. She cried out for help, but when the hospital staff tried to go outside to bring her back inside the snipers would fire at them as well, driving them back. They continued trying to help her but the Israelis would not let them reach her, and eventually she bled to death—within a few feet of a hospital entrance.