Monthly Archives: July 2012

Several wounded in nonviolent anti-occupation demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, Ni’lin and Bil’in

By IMEMC: 27 July 2012

In central West Bank, Palestinians organized anti-wall and settlements protests in the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and al-Nabi Saleh. Israeli troops used chemical water in addition to tear gas to suppress protesters.

Protestors avoiding tear gas during the demonstration in Bilin Friday (Photo: Rani Burnat)

Israeli and international supporters joined villagers after the midday prayers at all three locations. Troops used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to stop the protests. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation and treated by field medic.
In other news, Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protest at Al-Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah wounding four people including a 9-year old child. The villagers marched after the midday prayers towards the confiscated lands, however, Israeli troops stopped them by firing several rounds of rubber-coated steel bullets and a number of tear gas canisters. Nine-year old Mohammad Tamimi was hit in his arm with a tear gas canister and was moved to the hospital for treatment.
Three others were wounded with rubber-coated steel bullets however, their wounds were described as minor.
In northern West Bank, at the village of Kufur Qadduom, villagers accompanied by international supporters were attacked with tear gas as soon as they reached the road block isolating the village form the surrounding villages and towns. Local sources said that several residents were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Meanwhile on Friday, in southern West Bank, several residents were also treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli soldiers attacked the villagers of Al Ma’sara as they organized their weekly anti wall and settlements protest which called this week for boycotting Israeli products.
Residents and international supporters marched near the construction site of the wall and were faced with tear gas fired by Israeli troops operating in the area.

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On the First Friday of Ramadan: Popular Demos Across the West Bank

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 20 July 2012

Hundreds of Palestinians across the West Bank march to their lands despite scorching heat and military repression

 

 

 

On the first fasting day of Ramadan, hundreds of Palestinian men, women and children participated in popular marches to reclaim land and resist the occupation. Demonstrations began shortly after Friday prayers in Bil’in, Kufr Qaddoum, Nabi Saleh, Ni’ilin and al-Ma’asara.

Two Israeli activists were arrested in Nabi Saleh, where protesters succeeded again in approaching the confiscated fresh water spring. Although the army declared closed military zone in the area and made efforts to remove protesters, settlers were allowed to bathe and were even guarded by an army battalion throughout their stay. As protesters made their way back to the village, the army rushed after them and invaded the village, shooting tear-gas and rubber-coated bullets inside a residential area.

Demonstration in Nabi Saleh 2012-07-20

Demonstration in Nabi Saleh 2012-07-20

In al-Ma’asara, dozens marched towards their lands that have been confiscated for the construction of the Wall. Although on weekdays farmers’ access is usually uninterrupted, on Fridays it is always halted – exemplifying the crude and arbitrary use of martial law t0 deny basic rights of movement and political organization. Army forces physically blocked the road leading from the village to the agricultural lands, resorting to violence against demonstrators to enforce the closure. A similar state of siege was declared in Kufr Qaddum, where demonstrators marched towards their lands that have been recently confiscated for the construction of a new Jewish-only settlement. The demonstration was dispersed with disproportionate force, used stun grenades, tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets against demonstrators.

Demonstration in al-Ma'asara: Photo Credit: RRB/Activestills

Demonstration in al-Ma’asara: Photo Credit: RRB/Activestills

Bil’in’s weekly demo made its way from the center of the village to Abu Lamon grove, near the stretch of the Wall.  When they made it to the Wall, they were met by the army that quickly started shooting tear-gas canisters and used the “skunk”, a water cannon spraying foul-smelling liquid to deter protesters from approaching the fence. Some protesters required medical treatment.  In Ni’ilin, Friday prayers in the olive groves were followed by a march towards the wall that was met by a volley of tear-gas. No injuries were reported.

 
Bil’in
Video by

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Two Israeli activists arrested at Nabi Saleh demo

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A weekly protest took place in Nabi Saleh on Friday as Muslims celebrated the first day of Ramadan, a local committee said.
Dozens of Palestinian and international peace activists took part in the demonstration, urging the Arab world to protect Jerusalem and its holy sites.
Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets towards demonstrators, the local committee against the wall said.
An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers dispersed the demonstration using riot dispersal means. Two Israeli citizens were arrested, she added.
Palestinian residents of Nabi Saleh and their local and international supporters demonstrate each week against a nearby settlement’s encroachment toward lands owned by the village.
In December 2011, a tear-gas canister killed Mustafa Tamimi, a resident of the village.

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Israeli Occupation Forces raid Nabi Saleh, register and photograph​ residents

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 18 July 2012

Israeli army raided Nabi Saleh, registered and photographed residents The soldiers searched many houses and made a record of the residents

At 1:30 past midnight last night, large forces of Israeli army raided many of the houses in the village of Nabi Saleh including of Bassem, Naji, Bilal Tamimi, without having any warrant.

Soldiers also attacked Bilal Tamimi, the local photojournalist, took his cameraand deleted its memory and handcuffed him for a while. In addition soldiers attempted to arrest Bassem Tamimi’s wife, Nariman, who documented the night raid to their house with her camera.

Accompanied by dogs, soldiers have searched several houses, while making a record of the residents and their houses and photographing them.

Video by Nariman Tamimi

Nighttime raids on Nabi Saleh targeting protesters take place on a regular basis, terrifying families and children. The raids, in addition to arbitrary arrests of the residents, are part of Israeli army campaign to deter villagers from organizing the weekly demonstration.

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 villagecouncil. 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 wellas 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 completelyoccupies 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 banned 0.22″ munitions by snipers has also been recorded in Nabi Saleh. The use of such practices have already brought about the death of Mustafa Tamimi and 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. Due to the wide-spread nature of the disproportionate use of force, the phenomenon cannot be attributed to the behavior of individual soldiers, and should be viewed as the execution of policy.

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 intohouses, 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 2012, the Israeli Army has carried 98 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 98, 31 were minors. Dozens more were detainedfor shorter periods.

Two of the village’s protest leaders – Bassem and Naji Tamimi – arrested on protest-organizing related charges, were recognized by the European Union as human rights defenders. Bassem Tamimi was also declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, recently denounced his conviction by an Israeli military court and Human Rights Watch warned that he did not receive a fair trial.

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Naji Tamimi released from Israeli Occupation Prison after 2 months in jail for participating in non-violent demo

Naji Tamimi was released from Israeli military occupation prison on July 15, after spending two months in prison. Naji was arrested on Nakba day in Nil’in village when he participated in a non-violent demonstration marking the Palestinian Nakba.   His arrest came only months after he had been released from spending a year in Israeli military occupation prison for the “crime” of organising unarmed demonstrations in Nabi Saleh against Israel’s occupation and ongoing settlement expanision which saw more Palestinian land belonging to Nabi Saleh residents being stolen by the illegal Israeli colony of Halamish.

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Photos: Israeli Occupation Forces target International solidarity activists in Nabi Saleh

Photos by Oren Ziv: Activestills

Demonstrators  march during the weekly protest against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, on July 13, 2012. The Israeli army arrested at least 9 Israeli and International activists during the protest.

A Palestinian youth is seen after he got hit  by a foul smelling chemical liquid shot from the “Skunk” water cannon, sprayed inside to his house during a protest against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, on July 13, 2012. The Israeli army arrested at least 9 Israeli and International activists during the protest.

Israeli soldiers try to arrest a worker of human rights organization B’tselem during a protest against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, on July 13, 2012. The Israeli army arrested at least 9 Israeli and International activists during the protest.

Israeli soldiers arresting international activists during a protest against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, on July 13, 2012. The Israeli army arrested at least 9 Israeli and International activists during the protest.

A Palestinian medic treats an injured International activist after she was arrested by Israeli soldiers during a protest against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, on July 13, 2012. The Israeli army arrested at least 9 Israeli and International activists during the protest.

A Palestinian man removing broken glass from a window after his a house was sprayed with a foul smelling chemical liquid shot from the “Skunk” water canon during a protest against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, on July 13, 2012. The Israeli army arrested at least 9 Israeli and International activists during the protest.

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Israeli Occupation Forces to arrest and deport International solidarity activists living in the West Bank

 by Saed Bannoura: 11 July 2012: IMEMC & Agencies

Israeli Ynet News reported that the Israeli Central Command Chief, Nitzan Alon, signed an order granting the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority “the right” to search for, and arrest, internationals illegally living in the occupied West Bank, in order to deport them”.

Alon described the foreigners residing in the West Bank without a permit from Israel as “infiltrators’, and said that they all must be sent back to their countries.
Under this order, the army will be allowed to arrest foreigners in the Palestinian territories, move them into prisons in Israel until all deportation measures and documentations are concluded.
Alon said that this decision was made due to what he called the “large number of infiltrators currently residing in the West Bank”, the Ynet said.
Israel is in control of all border terminals in the West Bank, internationals living in the Palestinian territories face numerous hardships and obstacles as Israel refuses to renew their entry visas.
Israel also prevented dozens of international peace activists from entering the occupied territories, by placing an “Entry Denied” stamp on their passports, preventing most of them from entering the country for 10 years.
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank does not control border terminals, and cannot issue entry visas.
Internationals living in the occupied West Bank cannot renew their visas due to the fact that the P.A cannot issue such visas, and Israel refuses to grant them visas due to the fact that they live in Palestinian areas.
Israeli restrictions against internationals living in the West Bank are also forcing the separation of hundreds of families where Palestinians are married to Arab or international spouses as Israel is refusing to grant them family reunification documents.

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Israeli activist arrested in Nabi Saleh and held in detention for 3 days on false charges

by Mairav Zonszein: +972 Magazine: 9 July 2012

IDF allegations that Israeli activist Elyakim Nitzany threw stones in Nabi Saleh had no evidence and no basis. Despite that, he was held in jail for three nights before being released. Another case of unfounded police claims.

Towards the end of the weekly protest in Nabi Saleh last Friday, a military jeep entered the village and a group of Border Police officers stormed out and arrested Israeli activist Elyakim Nitzany on the charge that he had assaulted IDF soldiers by throwing stones. (Two Palestinian women and an international activist were also arrested at the time, all of whom have since been released without charge.)

Read more on this issue: > Nabi Saleh: A tiny village’s struggle against occupation > Child arrested in night raid as repression of Nabi Saleh continues

Three days later, on Monday evening at about 6pm, he was released after a Jerusalem District Court judge ruled that there was no evidence to substantiate the soldiers’ allegation of assault. He was however indicted for “reckless behavior” and will face court proceedings for this charge. (In many cases, the very act of protesting the status quo can constitute “reckless behavior.”)

Attorney Gaby Lasky told +972 that the three Border Police officers who filed the claims against Nitzany requested that the judge hold him in custody until the end of proceedings, which could last years. The judge decided to release him Monday evening but barred him from engaging in any weekend popular resistance protests in the West Bank for the next the months – a highly irregular period of time.

According to Lasky, Nitzany’s prolonged custody was baseless and constitutes an infringement of his rights. “The same prosecution that demanded he be kept in custody reached the conclusion that there is no evidence to support the charge brought against him. In such a case, they should have released him [already on Friday] at the police station.”

In other words, since nothing changed between Friday evening and Monday, as far as the prosecution’s basis for its severe allegation of stone-throwing, there was no due cause for holding him all that time.

B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli, who has been documenting protests in the West Bank for years and was with Nitzany in Nabi Saleh on Friday, told +972 she she saw him throughout the demo and that he did no such thing. She signed an affidavit asserting as much.

Michaeli said it was a typical day of protest in Nabi Saleh: the IDF used tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and skunk water to disperse demonstrators. Palestinian youth eventually began throwing stones and clashes ensued between them . “No one is denying there were stones thrown but he [Nitzany] was not one of them. There were clashes throughout the day, but those arrested were not among those throwing stones, since the ones who do are kids who normally run back into the village the minute the army starts to enter.”

Michaeli stressed the fact that while Nitzany was clearly treated unjustly and his case exemplifies the limitations on freedom of protest here, it is still not comparable to how Palestinians in the same position are treated. “Palestinians are treated entirely differently than Israelis – subject to a completely separate and disrimantory legal system.”

Under Israeli law, an Israeli must be brought before a judge within 24 hours of arrest, while Palestinians from the West Bank – who are subject to an entirely separate legal system, the military courts – can wait up to 96 hours before their case reaches a judge. Indeed one Palestinian woman arrested in Nabi Saleh on Friday did not come before a judge till Monday, when her charges were dropped and she was released. Although Nitzany was also held in custody for three days, he did in fact see a judge the first time on Saturday evening, who decided to remand him based on the prosecution’s indictment. In both cases, the judge accepted the whims and discretion of the Border Police officer as fact, only to renege on them three days later.

This is not the first time an Israeli activist has been falsely arrested and charged of assaulting an officer during anti-Occupation demonstrations. Lasky also represented  an Israeli from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement last year who was cleared of the charge that she attacked police. She says she has encountered problems with policemen’s false statements for years. “It’s important the court takes more decisive action…a policeman’s testimony should not be believed automatically,” she stressed.

Lasky also represented members of the J14 movement after mass arrests were made two weeks ago in which activists were accused of  the same charge –  assaulting an officer – despite no evidence to back the claim.

Nitzany’s case can be seen in the context of increasing police repression of Israeli protesters that includes false arrests and charges.  Such conduct against Palestinians – who often remain in detention for days, months, or years on end – has long been a common phenomenon, and Israelis seem to be increasingly facing such wrongful arrests during demonstrations against state policies in both the West Bank and inside the Green Line (though they are generally released within a few days).

Israeli activists went to the Russian Compound over the last few days to show support for Nitzany while he was in custody – as well as the four Israeli Ta’ayush activists who were arrested on Saturday for painting over anti-Arab graffiti in Susya and released Sunday.

Taking all these incidents together, there is certainly a sense that Israeli police practice towards Jewish citizens is becoming harsher. When it comes to behavior that challenges the state’s legitimacy, the authorities are so intent on muzzling dissidents, that they are willing to lock people up on false charges. They have been doing it to Palestinians for decades, and now it seems to be trickling down to Israeli activists.

All this may not come as such a surprise considering the news Sunday that a judiciary panel appointed by Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded that there is, in fact, no occupation.

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Palestinian women in Nabi Saleh stand their ground against IOF “skunk” truck

At the weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh two Palestinian women stand their ground in the face of the infamous skunk truck. The skunk truck is a mounted water cannon that sprays a foul smelling liquid at high pressures.

Video by Steve Plaank

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Israeli Occupation Forces target women at Nabi Saleh demonstration

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 6 July 2012

Following last week’s success in reaching the confiscated spring, army used considerable means to repress this week’s demonstration. According to the protesters, the army mainly targeted women who were leading the protest. Three were arrested.

Picture by Oren Ziv/Activestills
Picture by Oren Ziv/Activestills

Several dozens of Nabi Saleh residents joined by supporters from Israel and abroad, joined the weekly protest against settlement expansion and the ongoing occupation this week. Protesters aimed to repeat last week’s historical victory of reaching the fresh water spring that was confiscated by settlers, with the support of the army, more than two years ago. They marched down the hill overseeing the spring, only to be met with extensive use of tear-gas canisters and rubber coated bullets. After reassembling, protesters tried to make their way through the main road of the village. There, the army resorted to using the “skunk” – a water cannon used to spray foul-smelling liquid on protesters. Targeting in particular two women leaders of the protests, the army sprayed massive torrents of liquid directly at them.

Three protesters were arrested by the army amidst the clashes: A Palestinian woman, an international solidarity activist and an Israeli activist. The three all spent the night in detention and should be brought in front of a judge. Under the Israeli apartheid legal system, an Israeli detainee has to be brought in front of a judge within 24 hours whereas a Palestinian can be detained for eight days before judicial review is stipulated. This is true even if both detainees were arrested during the same demonstration and are accused of the same charges.
Picture by Oren Ziv/Activestills 2
Picture by Oren Ziv/Activestills 

Background 

Nabi Saleh is a small village of approximately 550 people, twenty kilometres north west of Ramallah in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Israeli colony of Halamish (also known as Neveh Tzuf ) was established on lands belonging to the villages of An Nabi Saleh and Deir Nidham in 1976.   In response to the illegal colony being established on their land, the residents of An Nabi Saleh and Deir Nidham began holding demonstrations in opposition to the stealing of their land and the establishment of the colony (whose establishment violates international law).    The residents of An Nabi Saleh and Deir Nidham  lodged a court case against the colony in Israel’s high court, but were unable to stop the construction the illegal settlement.

Since its establishment in 1977, Halamish colony has continued to expand and steal more Palestinian land.   In 2008, the residents of An Nabi Saleh challenged the building of a fence by the colony on private Palestinian land and which prevented Palestinians from accessing their land.  The Israeli courts ruled that the fence was to be dismantled  Despite the Israeli court ruling, the colony continued to illegally annex more Palestinian land.  In the summer of 2008, the Israeli colonists from Halamish seized control of a number springs, all of which were located on private Palestinian land belonging to residents of An Nabi Saleh.
In December 2009, the village began weekly non-violent demonstrations in opposition to the illegal Israeli colony of Halamish annexing of the  fresh water springs and stealing of more of the village’s land.  Since An Nabi Saleh began its demonstrations, the Israeli military has brutally sought to repress the non-violent protests, arresting more than 13% of the village, including children.    In total, as of 31 March 2011, 64 village residents have been arrested.  All but three were tried for participating in the non-violent demonstrations.  Of those imprisoned, 29 have been minors under the age of 18 years and 4 have been women.

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