It's there in the air, and you know it in your bones, those Israeli soldiers are going to march into the city tonight. For two long days they have had us encircled, waiting for their orders to trample upon Nablus, second only to Jerusalem in size.
My wife is busy storing water, in buckets, in whatever utensils she can lay her hands upon. There's food to be stocked. I drive down to the city centre. It's milling with people, frantically buying canned food and oil lamps for the bleak days ahead. Friends embrace and talk to each other in whispers. I talk to 35-year-old Mirvat Osta about her purchase. "I have bought vegetables and flour to make bread, just in case the invasion drags on," says Osta, breaking away to hug her friend Zahida Toqan.
"Take care," says Osta. "Let this be our final goodbye," replies Zahida, "just in case we aren't alive to say hello again."
At 8 pm sharp, two helicopter gunships appear in the sky. The tanks start rolling in, mowing down the barricades erected at the five entrances to Nablus. There's an...