On Friday February the 3rd during the weekly popular resistance protests in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, Israeli border police fired tear gas canisters at head level directly at a group of unarmed protesters who were perhaps 25 to 30 meters away from the border police and who were merely chanting, nothing more. It should be noted that the border police are known for their vicious disproportionate and violent reactions to these kinds of protests, more so than the army itself. One tear gas canister lightly grazed the cheek of a Palestinian female protester, before hitting a French activist in the back of her head and, still propelled by its velocity, continued its course to hit a Dutch activist in his waist.
The video above, shot by local activist Nariman Tamimi, clearly captures the moment and leaves no room for doubt as to what hit the French activist, contrary to the lies emitted from the IDF spokesperson and other Israeli officials on Twitter who initially and outrageously claimed that the activist was injured from a rock thrown by a Palestinian.
Firing tear gas canisters at high velocity directly at unarmed protesters has become the staple of the Israeli army’s reaction in popular resistance protests. Two months ago, Nabi Saleh resident 28 year old Mustafa Tamimi was killed after an Israeli soldier opened the back door of the armored jeep and shot a tear gas canister at Mustafa’s face from a distance of three meters. The army has paid lip service to conducting its own investigation within the incident, which if carried out will be anything but impartial.
Today I sat down with the French activist, 20 year old Amicie P. and her Palestinian fiancé Aram S. to discuss the details of the actions that took place yesterday. The injury seemed pretty serious at first, owing to the fact that there was a large amount of blood, so it was a huge relief to see Amicie sitting next to me casually smoking cigarette after cigarette with a bandage swathed around her head.
Do you remember the moments right before the Israeli border police fired at us?
Amicie: “I was discussing with Diederik [the Dutch activist who was injured in his waist] about when we were going to leave to Ramallah. We agreed to stay for five more minutes. I wasn’t aware of when I got shot. I just felt something hit my head. It hurt me so much. I fell down and couldn’t seem to get up. People were carrying me because I wasn’t able to stand on my feet and the Israeli [border police] were still shooting at us. I wasn’t able to run. The medic Muhanad Saleem was screaming at them to stop shooting.
“I was really so afraid. I didn’t know if my injury was serious or not. I saw a lot of blood and thought of Mustafa and how he was killed in December.”
Aram: “I have asthma. I inhaled a lot of tear gas and couldn’t think clearly. I tried to help her then found myself away from her. I went mad when I heard that she was taken to one of the Israeli jeeps but it turned out that that didn’t actually happen. I was afraid they were going to deport her because she didn’t have her passport with her.”
Amicie: “The soldier asked if I were Palestinian. They wanted to take me inside one of the jeeps. They were shocked when they found out I was French. One of the soldiers panicked and took me behind from where the rest of the soldiers were standing, behind a jeep. I didn’t know if he wanted to arrest me or not but he wanted me to go inside the jeep.”
Activists carry injured French woman while the teargas canister burns in the background (photo: Omar Rahman)
In Nabi Saleh on Friday a French citizen–in the village for her first time–was struck in the back of the head by a high-velocity teargas canister fired by an Israeli soldier. The woman was part of a small group of activists that were walking down the main road out of the village, which was being closed off by a group of soldiers.
Although some youth from the village had been previously throwing stones from the hilltop above, the activists were unarmed and merely chanting slogans. When the group was approximately 25 to 30 meters away, the soldiers immediately began firing teargas canisters and rubber bullets directly at the people without warning. The group of around fourteen people turned to run and the girl was hit in the back of the head/neck area and dropped to the ground. A few of the others stopped to pick her up and a number of them were hit by rubber bullets.
A video shot by Bilal Tamimi, a resident of the village who was standing next to the soldiers, shows the entire incident. The teargas canister clearly ricochets off the girls head in mid-flight.
In response to the incident, Major Peter Lerner of the Israeli military began tweeting that “IDF soldiers on site” reported that she was hit from behind by Palestinian youths throwing stones. The video and eyewitnesses, including myself, can testify that this is false. There were no Palestinian youth standing behind the girl and she was struck after she turned to run from soldiers firing their weapons directly at unarmed activists. After witnesses and video refuted Major Lerner’s baseless assertion, he altered his story and tweeted that the Israeli military will investigate a teargas canister that ricocheted “off the ground.”
Palestinian activist holds blood-soaked kuffiyeh that Fthe rench woman was wearing when struck by canister (photo: Omar Rahman)
Photo by Activestills
Photo by Activestills
The trailer of the documentary, We are Nabi Saleh!
We are Nabi Saleh’ is the portrait of a Palestinian village in resistance. Various aspects of the Israeli occupation are reflected in this village with only 500 inhabitants.
This little village in the West Bank will never be the same when in 1977, forty Jewish families move into an abandoned British fortress, only a few miles from Nabi Saleh. With the coming of this colony (Halamish) begins the infamous scenario.
A checkpoint is installed at the entrance of Nabih Saleh, olive trees are cut for security reasons and orders for the demolition of houses follow.
In 2009 the source of the village has been taken over by the colony. From that moment, every Friday the residents of Nabih Saleh organise a protest march towards the source. Every Friday the protest is beaten down with injuries and arrests as a result.
The creators of the documentary “We are Nabi Saleh” followed the protests for six months and stayed several weeks in the village to make a unique portrait of Nabi Saleh.
The first view of We Are Nabi Saleh is expected in April.
Check out http://www.wearenabisaleh.com/ for more info.
Stay tuned: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jan-Beddegenoodts/211554788917904
video by Bilal Tamimi
Demonstrators run in a cloud of teargas during a protest against the occupation in the west Bank village of Nabi Saleh, January 27, 2012 Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
Demonstrators carry an injured photographer during a protest against the occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, January 27, 2012. Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
Filed under Reports, Video
Demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, Kufr al-Dik and Kufr Qaddum took place this week in somber weather.
Demonstration in Kufr Qaddum Video Credit: David Reeb
Dozens joined the weekly protests in Nabi Saleh this week. The march proceeded from the center of the village towards the main roads where several jeeps were awaiting the protesters. Heavy showers of both rain and tear gas caught the march on its way, as well as the notorious “skunk”, a water cannon spraying foul-smelling water. Despite this, the protesters kept on chanting and marching for about 20 minutes. Most of the protests went bank into the village as showers intensifies, however a small number of determined local youth remained in the fields and some clashed erupted between them and the soldiers. During the clashes the army shot rubber coated bullets at the youth, lightly injuring one young boy.
Demonstration in Nabi Saleh. Photo Credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills
In Qaddum, more than 200 people joined the demonstration. They marched towards the main entrance to the village while cheerfully singing and chanting. A line of soldiers was awaiting the march, and as soon as it was in sight began shooting large amounts of tear-gas canisters directly at the protesters. Another group of soldiers, based on the hilltops also threw tear-gas canisters into the populated areas of the village, including into houses. Clashes persisted for less than an hour, following which protesters dispersed voluntarily, making their way back to the village in a symbolic victory march.
A similar demonstration was also held in Kufr al-Dik, no injuries or arrests were reported.