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Articles have been listed in reverse chronological order.

Dates given are in the following format:  day.month.year.

West Bank protest leader Bassem Tamimi released from prison

Roughly a year after being arrested for organizing illegal protests, Bassem Tamimi is released from prison, amid suspicions that he will resume illegal protest activity.

By Amira Hass: Haaretz, 27 April 2012

Military judge, Maj. Amir Dahan decided to release Bassem Tamimi, a resident of the Nabi Saleh village, because of his mother’s medical situation. Tamimi’s mother suffered a stroke two weeks ago.

Tamimi’s defense attorney, Laviv Haviv, claimed that if he were not released at the end the legal proceedings, Tamimi would have served more time than the expected sentence he could have received for unauthorized protest processions and stone-throwing efforts.

***

Palestinian’s Trial Shines Light on Military Justice

By ISABEL KERSHNER: New York Times: February 18, 2012

NABI SALEH, West Bank — A year ago, Islam Dar Ayyoub was a sociable ninth grader and a good student, according to his father, Saleh, a Palestinian laborer in this small village near Ramallah.

Then, one night in January 2011, about 20 Israeli soldiers surrounded the dilapidated Dar Ayyoub home and pounded vigorously on the door. Islam, who was 14 at the time, said he thought they had come for his older brother. Instead, they had come for him. He was blindfolded, handcuffed and whisked away in a jeep.

From that moment, Islam’s childhood was over. Catapulted into the Israeli military justice system, an arm of Israel’s 44-year-old occupation of the West Bank, Islam became embroiled in a legal process as challenging and perplexing as the world in which he has grown up. The young man was interrogated and pressed to inform on his relatives, neighbors and friends.

The military justice system that overwhelmed Islam has come under increasing scrutiny for its often harsh, unforgiving methods. One Palestinian prisoner has been hospitalized because of a hunger strike in protest against being detained for months without trial. Human rights organizations have recently focused their criticism on the treatment of Palestinian minors, like Islam.

Now, as a grass-roots leader from Nabi Saleh stands trial, having been incriminated by Islam, troubling questions are being raised about these methods of the occupation.

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Will there be justice for Mustafa Tamimi?

By EMILY SCHAEFFER: Jerusalem Post: 2 January 2012  (reprinted +972 Magazine)

The death of 28-year-old Mustafa Tamimi of the village of Nabi Saleh last month raises questions about the Israeli military establishment’s investigative processes.

Tamimi was only the latest casualty of the IDF’s abundant use of tear gas to disperse Palestinian popular protest. Dozens of people have been seriously injured or killed in recent years, including Bassem Abu Rahma, who died in 2009 after being shot in the chest with a tear gas canister in the nearby village of Bil’in, and Abu Rahma’s sister Jawaher, who died one year ago this week after inhaling tear gas.

Because the tear gas canister killed Tamimi – rather than severely injuring and disabling him – the Israeli military has already launched an investigation. That is an improvement over the Bassem Abu Rahma case, when it took more than a year (and significant pressure from his family, neighbors and Israeli human rights organizations Yesh Din and B’Tselem, all of whom presented the then military advocate-general with a draft High Court of Justice petition) to get the military to investigate.

Today, IDF policy requires a criminal investigation to be launched immediately whenever military operations in the occupied Palestinian territories cause death (excluding armed exchanges). The policy was presumably introduced to boost the system’s compatibility with international legal standards.

But closer examination of Israeli military investigations, from before and after the policy change, reveals that the mere fact of investigation does not guarantee that it will be independent, impartial, professional, effective, prompt and open to public scrutiny.

In fact, Yesh Din’s recently published report, “Alleged Investigation,” reveals major failings in the investigations of the full spectrum of offenses allegedly committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians and their property – from looting and theft, to beatings and shootings, to causing death. So serious are these failings that only 6 percent of all cases in which a criminal investigation is opened lead to the indictment of suspected soldiers.

***

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.

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Lesson from Israeli who chose jail, solidarity over segregation

Tuesday, December 20 2011|+972blog

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.

***

A courageous Palestinian has died, shrouded in stone

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.

By Jonathan Pollak: Haaretz, 13 December 2011

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.

***

Sunday, December 11 2011|+972blog

By Haggai Matar

Mustafa Tamimi of Nabi Saleh died yesterday morning in Beilinson Hospital. There’s no debate over the cause of death: Tamimi was shot in the head at close range during the weekly demonstration in his village. The weapon: a high force, long range tear gas canister. According to a number of witnesses, backed up by photographs, the canister was fired point-blank, in total contravention of army regulations, from a distance of less than ten meters. The shooter: an Israeli soldier, from a Jeep.

It’s not every day that the authorities come in possession of such a picture, which can supply more than 1,000 words in an indictment. The picture shows, firstly, the shot, an instant before the canister strikes him. This picture also shows that Tamimi may have thrown stones at the military Jeep, but it’s also clear that the Jeep is both closed and armored, and there is no doubt that Tamimi constitutes no danger to the lives of the soldiers – especially had they shut the door. In the picture you can also see the canister in the air, and the forbidden angle at which it’s flying toward Tamimi. You can’t see the shooter, but you can easily see that he was driving in military jeep S0661410. You can easily figure out who drove it by calling 02-5694211. From there it probably won’t be too hard to figure out who else was in the vehicle, and who opened the door to fire at Tamimi.

***

Fight over West Bank settlements

Ruth Pollard: October 7, 2011: The Age (Australia)

T IS a battle that is fought on Palestinian-owned land and in Arab villages all over the occupied West Bank. Young olive trees are ripped from the ground, older trees are burnt or hacked to pieces, mosques are set alight and villagers attacked.

Palestinians say there has been a recent surge in settler violence, and that the Israel Defence Forces are either ill-equipped or unwilling to put a stop to the hostilities.

Grainy video of the attacks is now regularly posted on YouTube — either to condemn or praise the acts of violence.

In a recent fight between settlers and a Palestinian farmer and protesters near the settlement of Anatot, settlers are heard to chant “death to Arabs” and call female protesters “sluts”, saying: “All of these women f— Arabs.”

In this incident – on September 30 – a settler is seen attacking the crowd with a knife, protesters and villagers are punched to the ground, and throughout the ensuing mayhem, there appear to be barely any soldiers in the area to keep the peace.

When the soldiers do come, village leaders say, they either stand by and watch the attacks or provoke further violence rather than protecting people and property.

From the settlers’ point of view, it is often the peace activists who arrive without warning and provoke the violence.

David Ha’ivri, a prominent settler leader, said the recent violence in Anatot was a classic example of “a group of left-wing activists provoking a fight in a quiet civilian community, then using that fight to paint themselves as the victim”.

“This is an event that went for many hours, and yet they have edited the footage down to just a few minutes – they were not innocent bystanders, they went at their own expense to someone else’s home to start a fight,” Mr Ha’ivri said.

The tiny West Bank town of al-Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, has become a weekly flashpoint for such clashes, as settlers from Halamish and its outposts try to seize the al-Qawas Spring and the land around it.

The Nabi Saleh protests have been reported extensively. But a conversation I had with one of the villagers highlighted a practice of which I was previously unaware.

The spring lies on land that belongs to the nearby Palestinian village of Deir Nidham. In July 2008, settlers began to use the spring and in February 2009 they started to renovate the area. Palestinians filed complaints with the police about the work, which was undertaken without permit on privately-owned Palestinian land, and which caused damage to trees and other property, the human rights group B’Tselem said. All the complaints were closed on grounds of “offender unknown” or “lack of evidence”. The matter now rests with the High Court.

“Almost every week we smell tear gas,” said Bashir Tamimi, head of the village of 550 residents. “Settler violence is increasing — they are chopping down trees, damaging roads. After [Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud] Abbas went to the UN, it appeared that the Israeli government let the settlers loose, and allowed them to do whatever they wanted.”
***

Palestinian children woken in night to be photographed by soldiers

View from Jerusalem by Harriet Sherwood: The Guardian, 28 Sept 2011

Youngsters in West Bank village were forced out of bed for Israeli military ‘mapping’ exercise

I went to Nabi Saleh earlier this week, a West Bank village which has been the scene of weekly protests over a nearby spring for almost two years.

It’s a small village of around 550 residents and the spring is located on land that the Palestinians say is privately owned. But settlers from Halamish, across the valley, began construction work in 2008 to turn the spring into a picnic site and leisure attraction for Jews only.

The villagers’ weekly demonstrations which followed have become an established part of the popular protest movement in the West Bank, which is largely non-violent – or at least starts out that way.

The Israeli army nearly always intervenes in these protests, usually by using crowd-dispersal equipment including tear gas, stun grenades, foul-smelling water canon, rubber bullets and sometimes live bullets.

(I was in Qusra, another village, last Friday shortly before a Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli soldiers. A small group of settlers, maybe 15, had come down the hill with Israeli flags, and scores of men and youths from Qusra rushed to prevent them entering the village following earlier attacks including the vandalising of a mosque. The Israeli military, which was on the scene within minutes, began firing tear gas almost immediately – before any stone-throwing began. I left quite soon after, having been momentarily blinded by the gas, and did not witness subsequent events. An IDF statement later that day spoke of “a violent riot, during which Palestinians hurled rocks at security personnel. During the riot, security personnel used riot dispersal means and eventually, live fire.” But, as I witnessed, the “riot dispersal” began before the “riot”.)

***

Military whistleblower tells of ‘indiscriminate’ Israeli attacks

Troops fired tear gas during a curfew in a West Bank village to stop peaceful demonstrations

By Donald Macintyre, The Independent: Friday, 16 September 2011

Israeli troops fired tear gas indiscriminately and sometimes dangerously to enforce a daytime curfew inside a West Bank village to stop Palestinians holding a peaceful demonstration on their own land, a military whistleblower has told The Independent.

The soldier’s insight into the methods of troops comes as the Israeli military prepares for demonstrations predicted when the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submits an application for the recognition of statehood to the UN next week.

The testimony also reinforces a report by the human rights agency B’Tselem which argues that the way Israel deals with protests in the small village of Nabi Saleh is denying the “basic right” to demonstrate in the West Bank. The right to demonstrate is enshrined in international conventions ratified by Israel.

The soldier, a reservist NCO with extensive combat experience, was among more than 20 soldiers sent into the village more than two hours before a planned Friday demonstration in July, to try to quash protests before they began. The protests started in December 2009 after Jewish settlers appropriated a spring on privately-owned Nabi Saleh land.

The reservist, who originally testified to the veterans’ organisation Breaking the Silence, told The Independent that they went into a house in the village and took a position on the roof. “The sun was very hot, but we had to keep our helmets on,” he said. “Then some soldiers start getting bored and start shooting tear gas on people. Every guy who is not in his house or in the mosque is a target.”

He said that 150 rounds of tear gas or stun grenades were fired during the day and one soldier boasted that he had fired a tear gas canister which passed within one centimetre of a resident’s head.

***

Video seen by Catrina Stewart reveals the brutal interrogation of young Palestinians

By Catrina Stewart: Friday, 26 August 2011: The Independent

The boy, small and frail, is struggling to stay awake. His head lolls to the side, at one point slumping on to his chest. “Lift up your head! Lift it up!” shouts one of his interrogators, slapping him. But the boy by now is past caring, for he has been awake for at least 12 hours since he was separated at gunpoint from his parents at two that morning. “I wish you’d let me go,” the boy whimpers, “just so I can get some sleep.”
During the nearly six-hour video, 14-year-old Palestinian Islam Tamimi, exhausted and scared, is steadily broken to the point where he starts to incriminate men from his village and weave fantastic tales that he believes his tormentors want to hear.
This rarely seen footage seen by The Independent offers a glimpse into an Israeli interrogation, almost a rite of passage that hundreds of Palestinian children accused of throwing stones undergo every year.
Israel has robustly defended its record, arguing that the treatment of minors has vastly improved with the creation of a military juvenile court two years ago. But the children who have faced the rough justice of the occupation tell a very different story.
“The problems start long before the child is brought to court, it starts with their arrest,” says Naomi Lalo, an activist with No Legal Frontiers, an Israeli group that monitors the military courts. It is during their interrogation where their “fate is doomed”, she says.

***

IDF soldiers launch attack on photojournalists

By Mati Milstein: Tuesday, August 2 2011|+972blog

If you seek to obtain a truly comprehensive picture of the state of press freedom and freedom of expression in territories under Israeli control, come watch Israeli soldiers shoot at journalists in the West Bank.

On Friday, 29 July, at the start of the weekly Palestinian demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, Israeli army infantry reservists opened fire with riot-control weapons on a group of some 10 press photographers.

This attack crossed a red line.

The troops had just repelled a march of several dozen Palestinian, Israeli and foreign protesters with a few rounds of tear gas grenades and forced them back towards the village’s central square and out of view. The only individuals on the street visible to the soldiers at this time were photographers. They carried multiple still and video cameras and tripods and they wore unique blue flak jackets and helmets marked with “PRESS” or “TV.” The distance between the journalists and soldiers was less than 100 meters and visibility was clear.

Nevertheless, soldiers began firing riot-control weapons (primarily rifle-fired tear gas canisters and gas grenades) directly at journalists. The sustained attack on the journalists, who work for Israeli, Palestinian and foreign media outlets, lasted between three and five minutes.

Photojournalists working in the West Bank are used to being caught in the cross-fire, and are sometimes hit by rocks thrown by Palestinians or by various types of ammunition fired by Israeli troops. This is part and parcel of the job and rarely does anyone make an issue of it.

This is the first time I am speaking publicly about any perceived abuse of the media by any side involved in this conflict.

When once punched in the face by a Fatah activist a number of years back, I kept my cool and simply resumed working. I also kept my mouth shut earlier in July, when a Border Police officer in Nabi Saleh fired a tear gas grenade directly at me, hitting my camera and left hand at a time when I stood alone in the street while Palestinian protesters were located behind the rise of a hill at a distance of several hundred meters.

But here is the difference: the attack of 29 July was intentional and sustained and the troops were fully aware of what they were doing. I had never before come under a sustained, direct and intentional attack by an Israeli military force aimed directly at me and at fellow journalists.

***

Israeli military attack and beat Palestinian journalist in Nabi Saleh

by MAAN NEWS: 30 July 2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian photojournalistMoheeb Al-Barghouthi was beaten by Israeli soldiers Friday covering a demonstration in the Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah.

Al-Barghouthi, who works for the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, suffered head injuries and sustained bruises across his body in the attack.

***

Local, international and Israeli activists gathered in Nabi Salih (النبي صالح‎) on Friday, 15 July, to demonstrate against the Israeli occupation and the encroachment of illegal settlements on Palestinian land near the village.

The now-weekly protests at Nabi Salih are often cited in the Israeli and international press as an example of the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli army against what is a mostly peaceful crowd, one that poses no real danger to heavily armed soldiers.

“They began to attack us violently because they don’t want us to become a model for other villages,” Manal Tamimi, a member of the popular committee of Nabi Salih, explained.

***

Flying kites before the tear gas

Linah Alsaafin The Electronic Intifada  .   30 June 2011

Lara is called by her pet name Lulu. She’s two and a half years old and her hair is twirled into pigtails. She doesn’t talk and stares either at the ground or past your shoulder. Last year her mother threw her out of the window from the second floor of the house. The Israelis were firing tear gas inside the house and everyone inside was suffocating. Lulu and everyone else who managed to escape outside had to flatten themselves on the ground as the tear gas whistled and exploded over their heads. The incident certainly left its psychological scars; for a while Lulu hated her mother, thinking that she threw her out of the window on purpose.

Jana spent a few months in the US, so she understands and speaks some English. Ask her where she lived in America, she replies, “West Palm-en Beach.” Ask her what goes on every Friday, she replies, “We go out to the maseera [protest].” Ask her to elaborate, she says, “The soldiers fire tear gas and live ammunition, and the shabab [youths] throw rocks. I’m not scared of the soldiers.” Is it not criminal, I wonder, for “live ammunition” to be part of a five-year-old’s vocabulary?

Samer, my special little Spiderman, climbs on my knees, makes himself comfortable and starts talking. He can’t pronounce the “r” sound and substitutes it with a “y.” “The army comes every Friday. When they leave I throw rocks on their jeeps. I’m not scared of them then.”

***

Shooting at Freedom Kites

by Diana Alzeer, Frontline Echo: 27 June 2011

Last Friday in Nabi Saleh, we planned for a day of fun activities to take the minds of the village’s kids off occupation, tear gas, and the constant fear under which they live.At 9:00 we began the day by calling on the kids of Nabi Saleh to join us to make and practice how to fly kites, dress in clown outfits and have their faces painted.

The kids came along; it felt amazing to see them happy, running around and sharing the idea of freedom in colors. A while after, towards 12:30, we decided to take the kids to the main hill in Nabi Saleh behind the gas station on the main road to fly the kites that some of us had spent all night making. We carried the kites and headed down the main road.Each week on the road to Nabi Saleh, we are faced by closures and obstructions on the main roads and entrances to the village. We are usually handed a piece of paper and a map stating that this area is a closed military zone and accordingly we are not allowed to enter. We turn the car around and drive to some other villages in the area, where we park the cars. We then go hiking down the mountains and hills to reach the village of Nabi Saleh through the agricultural land behind the village.This week however was different; for some reasons the IOF did not block the main road. All cars made it to the village without any problems. And all journalists and activists arrived to the center of the village harassment-free.

I naively thought that the Israeli Army would let this day pass peacefully. That day was meant for fun as the kids were supposed to be flying kites. As soon as some of us and the kids decided to walk towards the hill; crossing the main road of Nabi Saleh, we came face to face with IOF soldiers.

***

Palestinians Record West Bank Protests With Cameras Supplied by Israelis

By ROBERT MACKEY: The Lede, New York Times – 17 June 2011

While journalists have found themselves scouring the Internet in search of video from protests across the Middle East recently, one protest movement, by small groups of villagers opposed to Israel’s security barrier in the West Bank, has gotten far less attention.

Even so, there is no lack of footage of the weekly protests that my colleague Isabel Kershner described last year as a sort of slow-motion, “part-time intifada.” That’s true in part because an Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, has distributed video cameras to Palestinians to make sure the demonstrations do not go undocumented.

This week, B’Tselem released a video report made from footage shot by two Palestinian residents of the town of Nabi Saleh, outside Ramallah, showing, the rights group said, the use of “disproportionate force” by Israeli officers to disperse a protest there last month.

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Nabi Saleh: Meeting senseless aggression face-to-face

By GERSHON BASKIN  : Jerusalem Post: 05/23/2011

A recent trip to the weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh shed a new light on the IDF and its operations.

For months I have been hearing about disproportionate use of force by the army against weekly demonstrations in Nabi Saleh – a small pastoral Palestinian village northwest of Ramallah. Last week, I watched several YouTube videos filmed by activists in the village, providing vivid visual images of the forceful arrests of protesters by the army. I was disturbed because all of the clips showed how the demonstrations ended; none showed how they began. I was convinced that there must have been stone-throwing by the shabab in the village which provoked the violent army responses. So I decided I had to see for myself.

When I contacted the Israeli activists who regularly participate in the Nabi Saleh demonstrations, I was warned that it was dangerous and that there was no way to know in advance when we would get home. They also warned that there was a high possibility we would be arrested. I am 55 years old, and have been demonstrating since the age of 12. I have been in dangerous situations before, and was prepared for another one.
ON FRIDAY morning I was picked up from French Hill at 10:30. We drove on 443 until the Shilat junction, and turned toward the West Bank. We drove off the beaten settlers’ track through the Palestinian villages in the area. We then turned off the road and parked in an olive grove. From there, we began a trek of about an hour through the hills, finally arriving, after a steep climb, at the edge of the village. Every Friday morning the army seals off the area and prevents entry and exit for all.

The 500 residents of Nabi Saleh, all from the Tamimi family, are demonstrating against the continuous encroachment of the Helamish settlement on their land. Since 2009, Nabi Saleh has been demonstrating every Friday.

In that time, some 200 villagers have been injured, more than 40 percent of them children.

***

Bassem Tamimi: “Our destiny is to resist”

Max Blumenthal    The Electronic Intifada   2 May 2011

When I met Bassem Tamimi at his home in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh this January, his eyes were bloodshot and sunken, signs of the innumerable sleepless nights he had spent waiting for Israeli soldiers to take him to prison. As soon as two children were seized from the village in the middle of the night and subjected to harsh interrogations that yielded an unbelievable array of “confessions,” the 44-year-old Tamimi’s arrest became inevitable. On 25 March, the army finally came, dragging him away to Ofer military prison, a Guantanamo-like West Bank facility where he had previously been held for a 12-month term for the vaguely defined crime of “incitement.” His trial before a military court that convicts more than 99 percent of Palestinians brought before it is scheduled to begin on 8 May.

Like nearly all of his neighbors, Tamimi has spent extended time in Israeli detention facilities and endured brutal treatment there. In 1993, he was arrested on suspicion of having murdered an Israeli settler in Beit El. Tamimi was severely tortured for weeks by the Israeli Shin Bet in order to extract a confession from him. Tamimi said that during the torture he was dropped from a high ceiling onto a concrete floor and woke up a week later in an Israeli hospital. In the end, he was cleared of all charges.

***

When Montgomery comes to Nabi Saleh

On March 24, the Israeli government arrested Bassem Tamimi, a 44-year-old resident of the small Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, which is just west of Ramallah. Tamimi was arrested for leading a group of his neighbors in protest marches on a settlement that had “expropriated” the village’s spring — the symbolic center of Nabi Saleh’s life.

Tamimi was brought before the Ofer military court and charged with “incitement, organizing unpermitted marches, disobeying the duty to report to questioning” and “obstruction of justice” — for giving young Palestinians advice on how to act under Israeli police interrogation. He was remanded to an Israeli military prison to await a hearing and a trial. The detention of Tamimi is not a formality: under Israeli military decree 101 he is being charged with attempting “verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order.” As in Syria, this is an “emergency decree” disguised as protecting public security. It carries a sentence of 10 years.

***

When a Palestinian child becomes an enemy

Monday, April 25 2011|Joseph Dana

Last summer I found myself wading around a swimming pool in the middle of the scorching desert on a Kibbutz in the Negev. I had come to this kibbutz to see an old friend from high school. Over the past 12 years we have developed and maintained a close friendship despite clear political differences which, in this country, can easily destroy personal relationships.

As we swam in the cool water, the topic of conversation turned to his reserve service. This friend of mine, let’s call him Avichai, had just finished a round of reserve duty in the Palestinian village of Ni’ilin, where I often attend and cover the demonstrations against the Separation Barrier. I was shocked to hear that he had served there and quickly realized that he had probably fired tear gas, rubber bullets or live ammunition at me. Our conversation took an uncomfortable turn.

I asked him directly, ‘what does it take for you to look at children and shoot at them with tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire?” He nonchalantly informed me that they are not children, rather enemies on a battlefield. When I asked him if he considered me an enemy for standing with the children, he brushed away the question suggesting that I was just confused. Sensing his growing discomfort, I ended the conversation knowing that relationships can end over politics in Israel.

***

Nabi Saleh: A tiny village’s struggle againt the occupation

by Idan Landau : translation by Dena Shunra Tuesday, April 19 2011|+972blog

In just over one year of unarmed demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, a small Palestinian community in the West Bank, 155 of the village’s 500 residents were wounded (about 60 of them children); 35 homes were damaged and dozens of the village’s people were detained. Yet even after the protest’s leader was put behind bars by the army, the struggle for the Nabi Saleh’s land continues

The objects seen in the picture: a magazine (known as a “tampon”) attached to a Tavor gun, and a human skull, attached to a neck. The gun is vertical; the neck is horizontal. You could say they’ve made contact. Inside the magazine: 12 to 16 rubber-coated metal pellets. Inside the skull: soft, gray brain tissue. Thoughts and memories. A soul. The purpose of the weapon: dispersing demonstrations at a minimum range of 40 meters. The purpose of the brain: to live. To remember such moments. Will the rubber-metal pellets go through that brain? Probably not. However, the thought about it doubtlessly goes through the man’s mind. One could say that this is actually happening at the photographed moment. Does pressing the magazine to the head of a man lying on the ground constitute “dispersion of demonstrations” at a minimal range of 40 meters? Pointless question. That is not the point here. The point is sowing fear and terror, emotional terror. Was the picture taken out of context? Did the demonstrator “provoke” the soldiers, perhaps by throwing stones? That is a disingenuous question, the very answer for which takes it out of context. As if the “provocation” and the throwing of stones have no context; as if they do not occur against the background of the basic, unchanging context of occupation and dispossession. What the hell is an Israeli soldier doing on Palestinian land? Why is he protecting an unlawful settlement that robs its Palestinian neighbors, and how does he even expect the Palestinian to just sit there and do nothing when faced with this scandalous conduct? This could have been the end of the post. For anyone who knows anything about the events at Nabi Saleh, this is quite enough. But not everyone knows, and truly, what can you even understand from this laconic, routine headline that appears on the Hebrew news sites every Friday, “Riots at Nabi Saleh”? So it is appropriate to say more. That every Israeli citizen know what has been done in his name, every week, for 15 months now.

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Reality vs. Propaganda: The An Nabi Saleh Protests

By Kim Bullimore: Palestine Chronicle: 29 March 2011

On 26 March, a piece of Israeli Occupation Forces propaganda masquerading as journalism was published by YNet, an Israeli news website, which publishes in both Hebrew and English. The YNet article, headlined “Secrets of Nabi Saleh protests” purported to offer a “behind-scenes look at [the] most violent protests around” [1]. However, the article by Yair Altman did nothing of the sort. Instead it gave carte blanche coverage, with little questioning, to the preposterous and often ridiculous assertions by Israeli Occupation officials against the recently arrested non-violent Palestinian leaders from An Nabi Saleh’s Popular Committee against the Occupation.

According to Altman, An Nabi Saleh village leader, Naji Tamimi, who was arrested on 6 March when the Israeli military raided his home at 1.30 am in the morning, was a “pied piper” who “organised [an] army of boys”. Quoting an unnamed Israeli military police official, Altman writes: “Tamimi oversees an army of demonstrators divided in an extremely organized fashion into regiments of 14-17 people”.  According to Altman’s unnamed military police source, Naji Tamimi is “a very charismatic and militant person and is well versed in the rules of the game – what’s allowed and what isn’t. He does nothing by chance. Every action is well planned – not a folksy protest. He excites them and directs them towards confrontations with IDF forces”.

Altman goes onto state, with absolutely no proof to back up his assertions, that Naji Tamimi directed the demonstrations by phone from “the roof of one of the village’s structures”. Altman also asserts in the article that the shabab (young boys) of the village were under the command of another village leader, Bassem Tamimi, who was arrested on March 24 when dozens of Israeli military stormed his home.

When I first read Altman’s article, I burst out laughing. I have known both Naji Tamimi and Bassem Tamimi, along with their families, for more than fifteen months. The men described in Altman’s article, along with the actions ascribed to them, bore little resemblance to the men I know or their activities in relation to the non-violent struggle being carried out by their village. Having spent large quantities of time with both men and their families and having attended numerous demonstrations in An Nabi Saleh, very little in Altman’s article rang true. Instead it held the stench of unadulterated Israeli military propaganda.

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Nabi Saleh Popular Committee leader arrested in a night raid

March 6 2011|Joseph Dana

Nagey Tamimi (47), a leader of the Popular Committee in Nabi Saleh, was arrested last night during a raid on his home. Dozens of soldiers surrounded and entered his home at 1:30 am, roused Nagey from his bed and arrested him. He was blindfolded, handcuffed and taken away. At the same time, soldiers raided the home of Bassem Tamimi, another leader of the Popular Committee. Soldiers broke down his door and found his wife, a B’tselem videographer, standing by herself with a video camera. They attempted to destroy the video camera and search the house. Since Bassem was not at home, they left.

Last night’s arrest signals a renewed Israeli effort to end the demonstrations in Nabi Saleh by imprisoning the leadership of the Popular Committee. In recent months, Nabi Saleh has been subject to arrest raids on an almost daily basis. Ten percent of the village population has been arrested since the beginning of demonstrations in December 2009. Israeli officials have arrested children from the village in order to extract confessions that will be used against Tamimi and other leaders in military kangaroo courts. This method of incarceration was tested against Bil’in’s Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a Popular Committee leader who had been in jail for the past 14 months on incitement charges. Abu Rahmah’s conviction was based  largely on the testimonies of a number of children from Bil’in that had been arrested in night raids; the military prosecutor failed to produce any evidence to prove its claim that Abu Rahmah had thrown stones or carried a weapon, even though the army films every demonstration.

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On a sunny day people usually stand outside or sit in the direct sun in the waiting area at the Ofer military court. To observe a trail at Ofer, one must enter the facilities and, in a way, become a prisoner. Visiting diplomats and human rights officials alike, are allowed to bring only money and cigarettes into the court area. Trials are given times in two vague categories -  before the lunch break and after. Often a trial is listed for ‘before the lunch break’ and so observers will arrive at the court around 9 a.m., only to find that it has been postponed until after the break, leaving the unlucky observers with five to six hours to kill in what is basically a large prison yard – buckled asphalt surrounded by watchtowers shaped like World War Two-era pillboxes, and chain link fences topped with rolls of barbed wire.

Islam Tamimi, a 14 year old child from Nabi Saleh who was pulled out of his bed by invading soldiers at 3 a.m. three weeks ago, had a hearing yesterday regarding the details of his upcoming trial. In a crowded room full of human rights observers from Palestinian legal organizations and woman from the Israeli organization Machsom Watch, Islam was brought before a judge. A child swimming in an adult prison uniform, Islam fidgeted as children often do when a lot of attention is focused on them.

The hearing was short and focused on a request by Islam’s defense for a separate trial about the conditions under which Islam was arrested and interrogated. Islam was arrested at 3 a.m., held in an undisclosed location and then brought to Shin Bet (Israeli internal security) agents at roughly 9 o’clock the following morning. His lawyers were present when he was brought into the station but denied access to their client for over five hours. The procedure by which information was taken from Islam Tamimi likely involved coercion and psychological, if not physical, torture. The defense argued that a trial would show his testimony was false and obtained by coercion.

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Monday, January 31 2011|Joseph Dana

14 year old Islam Tamimi was arrested in a night raid on Sunday 23 January 2011 and subjected to psychological torture in order to extract dictated false testimony that will be used to incriminate and prosecute villagers in Nabi Saleh.

In an escalation of the repression of unarmed demonstration in the West Bank, 14 year old Islam Tamimi was seized from his home and arrested at 0200 on Sunday 23 January 2011 . It was the second time in roughly three weeks that he was taken by Israeli soldiers. The soldiers applied stress position techniques on the 14 year old boy, hoping to force his psychological collapse. The exhausted child was then taken to an unnamed police station where he was interrogated without his parents or a lawyer present. During an eight hour interrogation and after prolonged exposure and sleep deprivation, Tamimi capitulated to the army’s dictated script. The army interrogators continued to attack Tamimi with psychological torture in order to extract more false testimony about demonstrations in Nabi Saleh.

Tamimi’s lawyers were in contact with a police interrogator and military officials immediately after the arrest. However, lawyers only gained access to the child after five hours of interrogation. Tamimi’s parents, who have the right to be present when a child is under investigation according to international law, Israeli law and precedents in the Israeli military court of appeals, were denied access to their son.

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