Monthly Archives: December 2011

Israeli Occupation Forces defends attack on journalists in Nabi Saleh

 
After Israeli armed forces opened fire directly at him and fellow journalists, photojournalist Mati Milstein filed complaints with the Israeli authorities responsible. After a five month delay, the IDF Spokesperson responds: ignoring the evidence, defending the IDF for opening fire, disparaging the journalistic relevance of covering Nabi Saleh protests, and insisting journalists on the scene are there at their own risk. 

By Mati Milstein: +972 Magazine: 26 December 2011

Nearly five months ago, on July 29, Israeli reserve infantrymen and Border Police officers opened fire on a group of photojournalists and television cameramen during a non-violent protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Troops from the Alexandroni Brigade then – totally unprovoked – arbitrarily threatened me and fellow press photographers with arrest. Days later, I filed a formal complaint with the Israel Defense Forces, the Israeli Border Police and the Israeli Government Press Office, with all relevant details required for an investigation of the attack.

The GPO kindly forwarded my complaint – adding a cover letter from GPO Director Oren Helman requesting a timely examination of and response to my claims – to key officials in the Border Police and the IDF, as well as to the Foreign Press Association.

The Border Police ignored the query entirely. The IDF Spokesperson Unit failed to acknowledge receipt of both my original complaint and the GPO’s subsequent request for a response. However, via periodic telephone queries to the IDF Spokesperson, I was made to understand that the incident was under investigation and that – due to its complex nature and the multiple military units involved – this investigation would take time. I was assured that at its conclusion I would receive a formal response.

Five months passed. Only in the final week of 2011 did I finally receive a formal response from the Israeli army. With excited anticipation, I opened the response from Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich, of the IDF Spokesperson Unit’s North America Desk.

Leibovich’s letter was a general – and quite inaccurate – proclamation purportedly describing the “violent and illegal demonstrations” and consistent rock-throwing attacks faced by Israeli soldiers in Nabi Saleh.

In a blatant show of disrespect of the very media she is meant to be assisting, Leibovich ignored the details of the July 29 incident, which I had so meticulously provided to her. She instead unilaterally justified the use of force and violence by Israeli security forces against both protesters and media personnel.

Given that Leibovich’s letter made no reference whatsoever to an investigation, it seems clear that the army never did carry out any examination of the violence and threats against members of the media.

Leibovich actually took it upon herself to make sweeping value judgments on the news coverage of the protests, stating that “though the weekly frequency of the demonstrations has removed from them all news value, journalists and photographers frequently come to [cover] these demonstrations,” adding that “members of the media are sometimes caught in the eye of the storm.”

Clearly, conflict photographers face certain risks when carrying out their professional duties – indeed, they are sometimes caught in the eye of the storm – and they consciously accept these risks. Photojournalists, who must be physically close to their subjects, knowingly place themselves in the crossfire. My colleagues and I – Israeli, Palestinian and foreign – have in the past been inadvertently hurt while covering such events, hit by rocks, rubber bullets and tear gas grenades. This is, simply put, part and parcel of the job. No one complains.

However, Leibovich proceeded in her letter to transfer responsibility for harm to media personnel from the heavily-armed and heavily-protected security forces to the journalists themselves: “It is important to note that journalists who enter areas in which there is consistent violent and illegal disorder, such as Nabi Saleh – the responsibility is theirs, as is accepted in other areas of conflict around the world.”

Leibovich fails to understand a critical distinction: There is a fundamental difference between: 1) journalists voluntarily placing themselves in areas where, during the course of their work, they might face potential and inadvertent harm; and 2) soldiers voluntarily opening fire on a group of clearly-marked journalists, even when no protesters or other perceived threats are located in the vicinity of said journalists.

Lieutenant Colonel Leibovich, with all due respect, did you really think no one would notice if you abdicated your responsibilities and ignored both a legitimate complaint filed by an accredited member of the Israeli press corps, as well as the Israeli GPO’s own request for a proper investigation of the attack?

Rather than carrying out your duties, you exploited the circumstances of an unforgivable violent attack on the media to further propagate a propaganda that ignores all – very verifiable – facts on the ground.

Meanwhile, the protests in Nabi Saleh continue, as does the press coverage of these protests, despite Leibovich’s firm belief that this coverage has no journalistic value.

The soldiers of the Alexandroni Brigade have long since returned home, but Israeli military units subsequently deployed to Nabi Saleh continue to open fire on both non-violent protestors and members of the media, making illegal use of the weapons at their disposal. In the interceding five months, one man was killed in the village and numerous individuals have been wounded seriously enough to require hospitalization.

Leibovich failed completely to respond to my charge of an Israeli military attack on press freedom and, furthermore, has provided tacit systemic approval for future direct, tactically-unjustified – and potentially deadly – attacks on journalists.

No lessons have been learned here. The blood – when it comes again, as it surely will – will also be on your hands, Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich.

Mati Milstein’s photography and writing have appeared in Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Bild, Le Monde, Monocle, Daily Mirror, National Geographic News, The Forward and other publications.

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Israeli occupation forces fire live ammunition and teargas, injuring non-violent protestors.

Video by Bilal Tamimi

video by Israel Puterman

Video by David Reeb

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Live Sniper-Fire Injures Protester in Nabi Saleh

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 23 December 2011

Two weeks after the killing of Mustafa Tamimi during a demonstration in the village, an Israeli sniper shot a protester with live 0.22″ caliber ammunition, banned for crowd control purposes.

 

Earlier today, an Israeli military sniper opened fire at demonstrators in the village of Nabi Saleh, injuring one in the thigh. The wounded protester was evacuated by a Red Crescent ambulance to the Salfit hospital. The incident takes place only two weeks after the fatal shooting of Mustafa Tamimi at the very same spot. Additionally, a Palestinian journalist was injured in his leg by a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him, and two Israeli protesters were arrested.

Protester evacuated after being shot with live ammo in Nabi Saleh. Picture credit: Oren Ziv/ActiveStills
Protester evacuated after being shot with live ammo in Nabi Saleh today. Picture credit: Oren Ziv/ActiveStills

The protester was hit by 0.22″ caliber munitions, which military regulations forbid using in the dispersal of demonstrations. Late in 2001, Judge Advocate General, Menachem Finkelstein, reclassified 0.22” munitions as live ammunition, and specifically forbade its use as a crowd control means. The reclassification was decided upon following numerous deaths of Palestinian demonstrators, mostly children.

Despite this fact, the Israeli military resumed using the 0.22” munitions to disperse demonstrations in the West Bank in the wake of Operation Cast Lead. Since then at least two Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by 0.22” fire:

  • Az a-Din al-Jamal, age 14, was killed on 13 February 2009, in Hebron,
  • Aqel Sror, age 35, was killed on 5 June 2009, in Ni’lin.

Following the death of Aqel Srour, JAG Brig. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit reasserted that 0.22” munitions are not classified by the IDF as means for dispersing demonstrations or public disturbances. The rules for use of these means in Judea and Samaria are stringent, and comparable to the rules for opening fire with ‘live’ ammunition.

Contrary to the army’s official position, permissive use of 0.22” munitions against demonstrators continues in non life-threatening situations.

Background
Late in 2009, settlers began gradually taking over Ein al-Qaws (the Bow Spring), which rests on lands belonging to Bashir Tamimi, the head of the Nabi Saleh village council. The settlers, abetted by the army, erected a shed over the spring, renamed it Maayan Meir, after a late settler, and began driving away Palestinians who came to use the spring by force – at times throwing stones or even pointing guns at them, threatening to shoot.

While residents of Nabi Saleh have already endured decades of continuous land grab and expulsion to allow for the ever continuing expansion of the Halamish settlement, the takeover of the spring served as the last straw that lead to the beginning of the village’s grassroots protest campaign of weekly demonstrations in demand for the return of their lands.

Protest in the tiny village enjoys the regular support of Palestinians from surrounding areas, as well as that of Israeli and international activists. Demonstrations in Nabi Saleh are also unique in the level of women participation in them, and the role they hold in all their aspects, including organizing. Such participation, which often also includes the participation of children reflects the village’s commitment to a truly popular grassroots mobilization, encompassing all segments of the community.

The response of the Israeli military to the protests has been especially brutal and includes regularly laying complete siege on village every Friday, accompanied by the declaration of the entire village, including the built up area, as a closed military zone. Prior and during the demonstrations themselves, the army often completely occupies the village, in effect enforcing an undeclared curfew. Military nighttime raids and arrest operations are also a common tactic in the army’s strategy of intimidation, often targeting minors.

In order to prevent the villagers and their supporters from exercising their fundamental right to demonstrate and march to their lands, soldiers regularly use disproportional force against the unarmed protesters. The means utilized by the army to hinder demonstrations include, but are not limited to, the use of tear-gas projectiles, banned high-velocity tear-gas projectiles, rubber-coated bullets and, at times, even live ammunition.

The use of such practices have already caused countless injuries, several of them serious, including those of children – the most serious of which is that of 14 year-old Ehab Barghouthi, who was shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet from short range on March 5th, 2010 and laid comatose in the hospital for three weeks.

Tear-gas, as well as a foul liquid called “The Skunk”, which is shot from a water cannon, is often used inside the built up area of the village, or even directly pointed into houses, in a way that allows no refuge for the uninvolved residents of the village, including children and the elderly. The interior of at least one house caught fire and was severely damaged after soldiers shot a tear-gas projectile through its windows.

Since December 2009, when protest in the village was sparked, hundreds of demonstration-related injuries caused by disproportionate military violence have been recorded in Nabi Saleh.

Between January 2010 and June 2011, the Israeli Army has carried 76 arrests of people detained for 24 hours or more on suspicions related to protest in the village of Nabi Saleh, including those of women and of children as young as 11 years old. Of the 76, 18 were minors. Dozens more were detained for shorter periods

 

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Israeli activist stays in jail in solidarity with Palestinian activists arrested in Nabi Saleh

For the first time in many years, an Israeli activist chose to put into practice the notion promoted by Henry David Thoreau: “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison…”

By Haggai Matar | Translated by Ruth Edmonds December 20, 2011|+972blog

Truth be told: We all should have acted like ‘A’. Every Friday, across the West Bank, Israelis and Palestinians demonstrate together. They stand together opposite the same soldiers, chant the same slogans, give the same speeches, run away from the same clouds of tear gas and the same spray from the disgusting “skunk” machines, and get arrested for the same reasons and with the same false accusations.

 However, it is at that point that the legal mechanisms of racism start kicking in. The Israelis are released from the police station with limited conditions or with similar conditions from court. An Israeli detainee has to be brought in front of a judge within 24 hours. The Palestinians are taken to Ofer Military Prison. From the outset, the military orders that dictate their lives allow the authorities to detain them for eight whole days before they are even required to allow judicial review of the detention. Even then, in most cases, the court will decide to allow an extension and then another extension and then detention till the procedure regarding an indictment has ended. This process can take a number of months and in the end, the arrested Palestinian is released. The arrested Israeli, however, his friend and partner, was free that whole time.

That is how it always is under apartheid law. As a rule, we activists always made sure that if Palestinians were arrested, Israelis are arrested too so as to show solidarity, to protect our friends inside detention and to document the way they are treated. But then we sign the required injunction – and go back home.

Until A. came along. A. was arrested last Friday together with 20 Israelis, Palestinians and internationals at the main demonstration in Nabi Saleh marking a week since the murder of Mustafa Tamimi. Among those arrested was a close family member of the Tamimis, Mohammed Tamimi, as well as Mohammed Khatib from the Popular Committee of Bil’in – one of the most moral, creative, funny, determined, brave and moving people I have ever met in my life. When the time came to sign the conditional release form at the police station (a 15 day-injunction to stay away from Nabi Saleh) A. and another friend refused. They were brought before the judge, refused again, and were sent back to detention. They notified the authorities that they were standing in solidarity with their friends Tamimi and Khatib and they would not agree to be released while the two others were still in detention.

In the end, Khatib was released and so was A.’s friend, who finally signed the conditional release form. But Tamimi and A. stayed in detention – Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Yesterday morning (Monday) A. was supposed to be brought in front of a Magistrate’s Court in Jerusalem, which was expected to extend her detention once again. However, the police had apparently grown tired of A., and decided to release her without conditions – thus almost literally throwing her out of her detention cell.

A. succeeding in communicating an exceptional message of solidarity. She demonstrated, with her action, with her imprisoned body in a disgusting cell at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem, the absurdity of the apartheid laws of the occupation, the way they differentiate between partners in the struggle by their origins, by the nationality dictated to them, by the ID card they carry in their pockets.

The distance between home to jail

The truth is that this is what we all should have been doing. Just like we are arrested together, so should we stay in prison together. We should refuse, all of us, to sign the release forms, all the Israeli activists arrested in the same protest together with all the Palestinian activists. Our community “elders” say that once, it really was like that, in the first Intifada and before. Everyone refused, everyone was jailed together (at the time, they explained, authorities would not separate between the arrestees at the detention center, unlike today).

Bus alas, we do not refuse. We sign. We give up on demonstrations for two weeks in one place and go to others, and then come back again to the place from where we were originally banned. At the end of the day we always go home: to comfortable warmth, to a soft bed, to sleepy cats, to familiar food, to favourite books and to the embraces of lovers. We go back to routines, to work, to tasks, to meetings, to nights out, to Facebook, to the blogs, the newspapers, the greengrocer, the neighbour whose bike is blocking ours, to family dinners, to a light that needs fixing in the hall, to our studies and to the streets that turn into a river when it rains for more than five minutes.

Our friends do not. They stay dressed in IPS (Israeli Prison Service) issued uniform, in a cold tent in Ofer Military Prison, with nothing from home. Remember how Abudallah Abu Rahmah described the months in jail with no shoes and no watch? Well, it’s something like that.

Abu Rahmah, like Tamimi and Khatib, are the men jailed under a government that unjustly imprisons just about anyone. They are the men Thoreau was referring to. And this is the place for the just man to be imprisoned too. A. was doing the most just thing that can be done under the regime we have here.

There is no end to the reasons for signing a release form, for the reasons to return home. It can be said practically that it will not help since, of course, the Palestinians are not released any sooner due to this refusal. It can be said that it just snatches away more good activists who are very much needed on the outside. It can be said that a worthy struggle requires not only fairness but also the well-being of the strugglers, and there is a need to do as much as possible so as to survive and not burn out. It can be said that it is a more sustainable way as opposed to a situation where we will all be in jail. And it’s true. It’s all true. However, despite everything, there is something very right, more right, in A.’s actions. Something that marks clearer than ever before the ugliness of the system. And like a beacon of light illuminates the alternative to this method. Therefore, today, also those of us sitting at home – we are all A.

Haggai Matar is an Israeli journalist and political activist, focusing mainly on the struggle against the occupation. He is currently working at Zman Tel Aviv, the local supplement of Maariv newspaper, and at the independent Hebrew website MySay.

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Mohammed Khatib: On my release from jail

Mohammed Khatib is a leader of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall.  He was arrest on Friday 16 December, along with Mohammed Tamimi from Nabi Saleh and 21 other Palestinian, Israeli and International activists when the Israeli Occupation Forces attack mourners at the conclusion of Mustafa Tamimi funeral.  At the conclusion of the funeral, mourners marched peacefully to Nabi Saleh land and were attack with teargas, rubber bullets and skunk by the Israeli military. The following statement was issued by Mohammed Khatib on his release from prison.  Mohammed Tamimi remains in prison.   Also in prison is Ayala Shani, an Israeli activist, who refused release from prison, instead remaining in prison in solidarity with Mohammed Khatib and Mohammed Tamimi.

 

 

Mohammed Khatib arrested by Israeli Occupation Forces – 16 Dec 2011

Mohammed Tamimi being arrested by Israeli Occupation Forces – 16 Dec 2011

****

Dear friend,

I have just been released from jail, after three days inside. I was arrested last Friday, together with 22 others, in the village of Nabi Saleh, during a demonstration commemorating the murder of Mustafa Tamimi. Our arrest took place as we peacefully protested near the entrance to the Jewish-only settlement of Halamish, which is built on lands stolen from Nabi Saleh.

Minutes after we got to the gate, Israeli Border Police officers moved in to remove us from the scene. Palestinians, Israeli and international activists, we were all shackled and dragged away into military jeeps that transported us to the adjacent military base, which is in fact part of the settlement. 

In the military base, still shackled, I was assaulted by a settler who hit me in the face, leaving me with a bloody nose. Shortly after, the settler also attacked a female Israeli activist who was by my side. The soldiers and policemen present did not prevent the attack, nor did they bother to detain the settler after the fact. Instead, the zip-tie locks on my hands were removed, only for my arms to be bound again, this time behind my back.

Hours later, at the police station, I learned that to cover up their responsibility for my attack, the soldiers have laid a bogus complaint against me for assaulting them. My hands were tied, my face was bleeding, but it was I who spent the night in the inside of prison cell.

Mohammed Tamimi from Nabi Saleh was also arrested during that same demonstration. While the police decided to release all the others, he and I were to remain in jail. During our demonstrations, soldiers often take pictures, to later use them as “incriminating evidence”. This time, the soldiers used one such picture to accuse Mohammed of throwing stones during a demonstration a few weeks or months back. The man pictured in that photograph is not Mohammed Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, regardless, he remains in jail. Military law allows Israel to keep us Palestinians in jail for eight days before seeing a judge, and even then, it is a soldier in uniform who is the so called neutral arbitrator.

As the prison doors closed behind me, my happiness was clouded by the fact that Mohammed Tamimi was not released. The battle for his freedom is only beginning, as our lawyers prepare the petition for his release. If you can, please help us fund legal aid for him and for the countless others who are regularly arrested protesting Israeli Occupation.

I would also like to use this letter to extend my gratitude to Ayala Shani, an Israeli comrade who was arrested with me. She refused the injustice of being released while both me and Mohammed Tamimi were still detained. As these words are written, she is still in jail, despite having been offered her freedom twice already by Israeli courts.

Sincerely,
Mohammed Khatib

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Death rules here: A farewell to Mustafa Tamimi

by Ben Ronen: December 19 2011|+972blog

Translated to English by Judith Ronen

Mustafa Tamimi, Palestinian resident of the village of Nabi Saleh was killed last weekend, when he was shot in the head by a tear gas grenade. Anarchist activist Ben Ronen bids farewell to his good friend.

First memory

“Ola is somewhere, I don’t know, Saddam is in Jordan, back soon, Louai is up there with all the shebaab (youths), Oudai – you know where he is……..in a fortnight he will be released from prison and will return to the village, and Ziad is at a wedding in Ramallah.” “And where is your son?” I ask Abd al-Razak as we sit outside under his olive tree with his wife Ikhlas, just a few minutes before the start of the weekly demonstration. “Mustafa?” He went out early today. One of his friends came by to collect him and they went to Nablus.” Maybe it’s a good idea that he keeps away from the village for one Friday,” I say. “He can be wherever he wants, he’s grown up,” Abd al-Razak replies.

I haven’t been to Nabi Salah for two weeks and coming back now gives me a powerful feeling, a feeling of coming home. Even the knowledge that in just a few minutes this special calm will be replaced by a war-like atmosphere doesn’t change it. On the contrary, it is strengthened by this knowledge, and adds meaning to it. “Were you here when the army came looking for Mustafa?” Abd al-Razak asks me.

“They were always looking for him. They came at night, surrounded the house from every direction. He managed to jump out of the window and get away. I was here inside when I heard them firing. One of the soldiers aimed his weapon at me. He was only a kid, about 19, and I started to yell at him to move the gun away from me. Then the officer came down from the roof to see what was going on. I said to him: ‘I’m a sick man, you come into my home and your soldier points his gun at me?’ The officer replied: ‘I know that your son Mustafa was here, and that he throws stones every week.’ I held my wife tightly and said to him: ‘We also throw stones at you, we all throw stones at you.’ I held out my hands and said: ‘Here you are, arrest me and my wife.’”

In the evening, after the last of the demonstrators had dispersed, the soldiers had abandoned the village and the clouds of tear gas were hanging in the chilly evening air of the pastoral village, I went back to say goodbye to Abd al-Razak and Ikhlas. Everyone was sitting outside, Mustafa too, dressed up stylishly, as was his way.

Second memory

Friday evening. We are sitting at the entrance to the recovery room at Beilinson Hospital, waiting. Two hours ago we were sitting in the doctor’s room and he was explaining to us Mustafa’s condition. Someone was trying to translate his explanation, and I understood that his condition was not as severe as we had thought. It’s going to be alright, they said. One of the doctors emerges and tells us that Mustafa has been transferred to the neurosurgical department. We go up in the elevator and walk towards the admissions desk, Ikhlas is worried but we reassure her. Waiting.

Another nerve-calming cigarette, before making our way back up to the ward. At the entrance, someone stops us saying quietly: “We have just been told that it is a matter of hours until he dies.” I don’t understand – none of us understand – just a few moments ago we were talking about taking everyone on a trip to the beach and to eat in Jaffa and now you are saying that he is about to die? We go into the lobby, Ikhlas’s cries split through the dreadful silence of the hospital. We try to calm her, to comfort her and give her a little hope. But she knows. She can feel it.

Third memory

In a dream. We are standing outside the hospital elevator early in the morning. Ikhlas smiles and says “Let’s go to the beach now” My phone buzzes indicating that I have a message. I wake up with a start. The message says: The doctor said that Mustafa’s brain failed at 5am. He won’t live out the day” It is 7:46am and I slip back into the dream about the beach. The phone buzzes again. It just says: “He died.”

Fourth memory

We are waiting in the lobby of the funeral hall, I look towards the elevator and wait for it to start coming down. The numbers move slowly, the elevator stops, the doors open and a stretcher emerges, bearing a figure shrouded in a white sheet. Living people are in the room, but death is in the air. The ambulance driver has forgotten something upstairs, and we stand silently around the body, waiting for him to return, to save the situation. I sit at the back of the ambulance, as it races along the highway towards the Rantis checkpoint, I reach out and dare to touch him, first his arm and then, his head. I don’t know if this is real or not, but I do know that this is the last time that I will be close to him.

Final memory

After the earth had covered the last piece of the flag that the covered you, I didn’t know where to go. Then, the familiar Friday shouts started. I went closer and saw faces shouting the same familiar slogans, but their faces were different today, their tears were barely dry but they were already holding rocks, going down once again to the roadblock, to the jeeps. One of them hugs me tightly, and says: “Better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.” I nod in agreement and think that maybe he is right and it will never end, but we will not give up.

Ben Ronen is an anarchist activist and a freelance journalist.

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BBC’s video report on the funeral of Mustafa Tamimi and attacks by Israeli Occupation Forces

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Mustafa Tamimi: A courageous Palestinian has died, shrouded in stone

 By Jonathan Pollak: Haaretz, 13 December 2011

The army spokesman was right – Mustafa died because he threw stones; he died because he dared to speak a truth, with his hands, in a place where the truth is forbidden.

Mustafa Tamimi threw stones. Unapologetically and sometimes fearlessly. Not on that day alone, but nearly every Friday. He also concealed his face. Not for fear of the prison cell, which he had already come to know intimately, but in order to preserve his freedom, so he could continue to throw stones and resist the theft of his land. He continued to do this until the moment of his death. 

According to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, in response to the reports about the shooting of Tamimi, the spokesman of the GOC Southern Command wondered on his Twitter account: “What was Mustafa thinking running after a moving jeep while throwing stones #fail.” Thus, simply and mockingly, the spokesman explained why Tamimi was to blame for his own death.

Mustafa Tamimi, from the village of Nabi Saleh – son to Ikhlas and Abd al-Razak, brother to Saddam and Ziad, to the twins Oudai and Louai and sister Ola – was shot in the head at close range on Friday. Hours later, at 9:21 on Saturday morning, he died of his wounds. A gas grenade was fired at him from an armored military Jeep at a distance of only a few meters. It was not out of fear that the person who did fired the shot hit him. He poked the barrel of the rifle through the door of the armored vehicle and fired with clear intent. The shooter is a soldier. His identity remains unknown and perhaps it will always remain unknown. Maybe this is for the best. Identifying him and punishing him would only serve to whitewash the crimes of the entire system. As if the indifferent Israeli civilian, the sergeant, the company commander, the battalion commander, the brigade commander, the division commander, the defense minister and the prime minister had no part in the shooting. 

The army spokesman was right. Mustafa died because he threw stones; he died because he dared to speak a truth, with his hands, in a place where the truth is forbidden. Any discussion of the manner of the shooting, its legality and the orders on opening fire, infers that the landlord is forbidden to expel the trespasser. Indeed, the trespasser is allowed to shoot the landlord.

Mustafa’s body is lying lifeless because he had the courage to throw stones on the 24th anniversary of the first intifada, which begot the Palestinian children of the stones. His brother Oudai is imprisoned at Ofer Prison and was not allowed to attend the funeral, because he too dared to throw stones. And his sister was not allowed to be at his bedside in his final moments, even though she is not suspected of having thrown stones, but because she is a Palestinian.

Mustafa was a brave man killed because he threw stones and refused to be afraid of a soldier bearing arms, sitting safely in the military jeep covered in armor. On the day Mustafa died, the frozen silence roaming the valley was only slightly less chilling than the shrilling sound of his mother’s laments which fell upon it occasionally. 

Thousands of stone-throwers followed him at his funeral. He was lowered into his grave and stones covered his body. Soldiers stood at the entrance to his village. Even the anguish and solitude of separation was intolerable for the army, who set their soldiers and arms to shower mourners with teargas as they went down to village lands following the funeral. While the soldier who shot Mustafa is at large, six of the demonstrators were put behind bars. 

Mustafa, we walk behind your body with our heads bowed and eyes full of tears. We cherish you, because you died for throwing stones and we did not.

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Video: Mustafa Tamimi’s funeral and assault after funeral on mourners by Israeli Occupation Forces

Video by Team Palestina

Video by Haitham Katib

Video by Thameenahusary

 

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Mustafa Tamimi, Martyr in Nabi Saleh

 by Anne Paq: Activestills: 10 December 2011

 

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills.org, Nabi Saleh, 09.12.2012

I have no words now. Just heard about the tragic news about the death of Mustafa Tamimi; 28 year-old resident of Nabi Salih, killed in cold blood by an Israeli soldier who opened the door of the jeep, aimed and shot him in his face, just a few meters away from him. see the pic there just second before Mustafa was hit.

The repression carried out by the Israeli army against unarmed protesters was extremely violent yesterday. Unarmed protesters were attacked by tear gas canisters often shot directly at the level at the heads and by rubber-coated steel bullet. A 15 year old boy was shot like this in the foot and now his foot is broken, another one in the arm for the same result. Even after Mustafa was hit, and we all knew how critical it was after seeing all the blood on the street; the Israeli soldiers kept locking the village and some of them had the nerves to smile and joke, even in front of the family members of Mustafa. This is how cruel this occupation is.

This was such an intense day, I want to write more about it but right now I don’t have the strength.

The truth is that every week when I go to this protest I think that this is a miracle that no-one was seriously injured or killed. Yesterday there was no miracle and Mustafa. He died as the UN was passing by to “observe” and they did not even stop when we told them that somebody was seriously injured and that they should do something. I will always remembered Ola, Mustafa’s sister, who ran to the Israeli soldiers begging them to let her pass so that she can be with her brother (the Israelis stopped the car in which Mustafa was a few meters away after the military gate at the entrance of the village). They did not let her. Her screams are still in my ears.

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills.org, Nabi Saleh, 09.12.2012

To set the record straight- Mustafa was killed INSIDE his village, he was protesting against the occupation and colonization of HIS lands. He did not carry a weapon, just stones. Stones against a fully equipped army, a military armored jeep. He had the right to defend his village, even according to international law, and he did it with courage.

Somebody was killed in cold blood and the guilty person will never be judged in a court. The Israeli army will conduct a useless investigation to whitewash his soldiers. It will conclude that the soldiers were onl responding to “violent riot”. But this is the other way around. Violence is the essence of the occupation. Resistance, despite all the martyrs and suffering will continue. Mustafa will not be forgotten. The brave people of Nabi Saleh will bury their first martyr today or tomorrow but not their spirit of resistance.

I feel honored to know them and document their just struggle. But right now, what I feel is rage, outrage but also the strong conviction that one day, one way or another; justice will prevail.

Mustafa, your struggle is not a vain one and people will carry it further and further…until victory.

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