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Palestinian women changing the resistance

 by Eleonora Gatto: Middle East Monitor: 7 February 2014

Palestinian women changing the resistance

On January 31 2014, the Popular Struggle Committees participants united as part of the “Melh Al-Ard” (salt of the Earth) campaign with the objective of revitalising the abandoned village of Ein Hiljeh in the Jordan Valley.

The choice of the location wasn’t random; it’s strongly connected to the political requests of the action: stop the on-going effects of the Occupation’s plan and reconfirm the Palestinian sovereignty over those territories in the Jordan Valley (Area C) that Israel want to annex with the assent of the negotiations carried out by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

More than 300 Palestinians from different villages of the West Bank gathered on the first day. An increased participation compared to that of 2013 in Bab Al-Shams, the Palestinian encampment erected on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where Israel wanted to build 35,000 housing units creating a corridor of settlements with the intent of fragmentising and isolating the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The transformation and appropriation of Palestinian land, implemented by Israel, doesn’t only aim to the establishment of the Zionist idea of “Greater Israel”, it also has a less visible agenda: the control of the Palestinian population and resources.

The Palestinians counteract by refusing the occupant’s authority, reclaiming the Palestinian sovereignty, denouncing the occupation in all its elements and looking for new forms of nonviolent popular struggle.

The aim is to create an alternative grassroots movement able to escape from corrupt government policies but with a national impact. Direct nonviolent actions as Ein Hijleh have a powerful resonance: they raise consciousness and use creative tension as a mean of bringing down an unjust system, replaced by a just and human one.

“Melh Al-Ard” (Salt of the Earth) refers to a phrase from the bible, Matthew 13:5: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

As the communication of the campaign states: “The sons and daughters of Ein Hijleh call upon our people to join the struggle to revive the village and protect our rights, history, culture and land. Daughters and sons of Palestine be the salt of this earth and stay steadfast on it.”

To this invitation, residents of Nabi Saleh responded by leaving their village, still involved in the weekly Friday demonstrations against the Israeli Occupation Forces, to head towards Ein Hijleh. Nabi Saleh is a small village of 500 inhabitants located near Ramallah and belonging to the Tamimi family.

An essential member of the Popular Struggle Committee, it’s one of the most active resistant villages in the West Bank. Positioned in area C, their struggle is against the illegal expansion of the Halamish settlement. In 2008 Ein Al-Qaws was taken over by the settlers, since then Nabi Saleh has been fighting against the Occupation system.

On Friday, Nabi Saleh’s inhabitants challenged the mobile checkpoints that were blocking the main roads to Ein Hijleh. After taking a secondary road and deceiving the Israeli police, they arrived triumphantly singing their way through the palms that surround the ruins of the old Canaanite village.

In the village of Nabi Saleh, the role of women is fundamental to the popular struggle. The commitment of women is recognised and supported because “they are the educators of the new generations. If women aren’t free nor will the new generations be”, Bassem Tamimi, recognised as Human Rights Defender by the EU, said.

Women are the driving force of the nonviolent movement in Nabi Saleh. Every Friday, while chanting slogans and proudly holding Palestinian flags, they daringly lead the march towards the tower at the entrance of the village or towards Ein Al-Qaws.

“Palestinian women are planting the seeds of resistance,” Manal Tamimi says. She explained that the women raise their children in a culture of resistance and they are teaching them not to be victims themselves but to react.

For this reason, despite the uncertainty and danger, the women of Nabi Saleh brought their children to Ein Hijleh. “We want them to learn the spirit of volunteering. It’s important for children to participate to these actions in order to grow aware of their role in the resistance,” Manal said.

Women and children of Nabi Saleh are well aware of how to act in case of raids from the army, they were born and raised under occupation and they’ve had to deal with it daily.

“Let them come. The army comes everyday to my house stepping on my land,” Rouan Tamimi said. Women also join these events to help deter the use of excessive violence towards the activists.

It is pivotal to involve children and women in the construction of the foundations of society in order to assure an inclusive community. The strength of the nonviolent movement is the equality of responsibility, regardless of affiliation, gender or social class. Anyone can give their contribution to the struggle.

The author is a Servizio Civile Internazionale Italia (SCI) volunteer with a Master’s degree in International Cooperation. She is currently living in Nabi Saleh and reporting about the Popular Struggle.

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Hundreds celebrate, vow to strengthen Palestinian popular struggle at conference in Nabi Saleh

Palestinian popular committees hold a convention in Nabi Saleh in bid to promote and unite the popular struggle against occupation and apartheid, launching a new type of weekly protest. The demonstration that followed was welcomed by soldiers with the traditional tear gas barrage.

Hundreds gather in Nabi Saleh to commemorate martyrs and the start of the First Intifada, November 7, 2013. (Photo: Haggai Matar)

The popular committees coordinating much of the unarmed struggle against the wall and settlements in the West Bank started a new campaign on Saturday. In addition to the weekly Friday protests in Bil’in, Ni’ilin, Nabi Saleh, al-Ma’asara, Qaddum and other places, each of which focuses on local issues, activists are now planning to hold a central gathering and protest in one of the villages once a month on Saturdays. These gatherings, organized also with Israeli activists (myself included) are meant to solidify existing forces and enhance them in order to promote the culture, tradition and tools of popular resistance.

The first event of this kind took place Saturday in Nabi Saleh. It was a symbolic date: 26 years since the beginning of First Intifada, which many in the movement see as a point of reference, four years since the start of demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, and two years since the killing of Mustafa Tamimi at a demonstration. Coincidentally, all in the same week, the IDF also decided to close the case against Tamimi’s killer, and supporter of the struggle Nelson Mandela passed away.

Palestinian, Israeli and international activists confront Israeli soldiers in Nabi Saleh, December 7, 2013. Some protestors made it near the army tower. Three were detained and later released. (Photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Some 300 Palestinian and Israeli activists, with a few internationals as well, gathered at the village center at noon. Speeches were given in memory of the martyrs and about the lessons of the First Intifada. Speakers also linked the West Bank protests to those against the Prawer Plan and to the jailing of Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa’ad earlier in the week. The small convention was closed with a dance put on by Nabi Saleh youth, followed by a march toward the army tower at the entrance to the village.

As soon as the tower was in sight, and with no provocation whatsoever, demonstrators were bombarded with tear gas canisters and scattered in an attempt to seek shelter. It took some while before the protest reorganized into two groups: one of local youth throwing stones at soldiers from an open field, the other composed of demonstrators marching toward the tower once again.

Palestinian youth look for stones to throw at the Israeli army in Nabi Saleh, December 7, 2013. (Photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

As the soldiers were preoccupied with stone throwers, shooting tear gas and rubber coated bullets at them, breaking the jaw of Mustafa Tamimi’s brother and chasing them into the village, the other group of demonstrators made it to the tower. Three were immediately detained and later released; the others were warned to leave. After a while demonstrators moved on to block the army jeeps that were now trying to exit the village after chasing stone throwers. The soldiers used force to clear the road. At the end of the protest another attempt was made to reach Nabi Saleh’s spring, which has been taken over by the nearby settlement of Halamish, and that too led to an army attack and storming on the village.

Activists blocking army jeeps were forcefully evicted (Activestills)

Activists attempting blocking army jeeps are forcefully removed. (Activestills)

The event ended after about five hours with one person hospitalized. Later, news came in that elsewhere in the West Bank soldiers killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy by shooting him in the back.

 

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Israel Occupation Forces closes probe into killing of Mustafa Tamimi in Nabi Saleh

By |+972 Magazine, December 5, 2013

 

Two years later, Israel’s Military Advocate General rules no regulations were breached when a soldier fatally shot Mustafa Tamimi with tear gas from close range. This decision sends Israeli soldiers and officers the unequivocal message that, should they kill unarmed civilians, they will not be held accountable.

 

Mustafa Tamimi, a second before he was shot.  The weapon and tear gas canister are circled in red (Photo: Haim Scwarczenberg)

 

The Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG) announced Thursday that it has closed the investigation into the killing of Mustafa Tamimi, a Palestinian resident of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Tamimi died almost exactly two years ago, on December 10, 2011, after being hit by a tear gas canister shot by IDF soldiers at close range during a demonstration in the village. He was critically injured at the protest, and died the next day at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

 

According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, the MAG claims the canister that killed Tamimi was fired “according to the relevant rules and regulations and did not involve any illegality.” It accepted the soldier’s claim that he didn’t see Tamimi when shooting from the military jeep and further relied on expert opinion that determined the soldier could not have seen Tamimi while shooting.

 

How could it possibly be in line with regulations for a soldier to fire any weapon without having a clear line of sight, especially during a protest?

 

According to B’Tselem, Israeli military orders officially forbid shooting tear gas canisters directly at people. While military officials regularly cite this position in response to B’Tselem’s queries, in practice such shooting continues unabated.

 

This decision follows another similarly infuriating decision in September to close the investigation into the April 2009 killing of Bassem Abu Rahme in Bil’in, who was also hit by tear gas canister. In that case, the MAG cited lack of evidence despite clear video footage of the shooting (which appears in the award-winning documentary “5 Broken Cameras“).

 

Just last week, a volunteer B’Tselem videographer had his camera rolling when an IDF officer shot him in the chest with a tear gas canister in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar. In that case, despite the direct trajectory, he was only lightly injured.

 

Last July, B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli was shot in the leg by a rubber-coated bullet at relatively close range while documenting the weekly protest in the village of Nabi Saleh, the same village Tamimi is from.

 

To the best of B’Tselem’s knowledge, none of the responsible parties – be it commanders in the field or the OC Central Commander – have taken action to stop this practice, nor do they even admit to the problem. The decision in the Tamimi case is a direct continuation of this policy. It should also be noted that the military system decided to deal with the Tamimi case solely on the criminal track, even though it could have also taken disciplinary measures against the soldier and the commanders, clarified the rules of engagement and taken aggressive action to educate troops serving in the West Bank. None of this took place.

 

Spent tear gas cartridge lies on the street in Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem (Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

B’Tselem says it will demand to see all the materials related to the investigation in order to continue its efforts to assure the Tamimi family finds justice.

 

Nabi Saleh will be holding a demonstration this Saturday to mark two years since Tamimi’s death and four years since residents began regular protests against the occupation and the separation barrier built on their lands.

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Nabi Saleh says no to Israel’s Prawer Plan and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouin (29 Nov)

Photos by Tamimi Press and Haim Schwarczenberg

Video by Israel Puterman  29 November 2013

banner prawer  march prawer

Haim girl rock

haim kids

haim slingshot

iof

jeep  teargas in field

teargas

youth iof

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Amnesty International: A Tiny Village With A Big Voice

By Amnesty International: November/December 2013

 

To read the full Amnesty International feature on Nabi Saleh (p 7 & 8), please click here.

amnesty nabi saleh feature

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On the arrests of Nariman Tamimi and Rana (Nazzal) Hamadah in Nabi Saleh

by Nabi Saleh Solidarity: 10 July 2013

Nariman Tamimi (37) and Rana Hamadah (21) were arrested on 28 June 2013 in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank, when non-violently protesting Israel’s ongoing occupation. Nariman is a resident of Nabi Saleh and has been arrested 5 times for the leading role she has played in her village’s non-violent resistance to Israel’s occupation and the illegal annexing of village land by the illegal Israeli colony of Halamish. Nariman and Rana have been charged with violating “a closed military zone”, a military order which deemed Nariman’s village and land a military zone.

Amnesty International and the Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem have noted that the arrest, charges and trial of both women are an attempt to prevent even non-violent protests against Israel’s occupation.

B’Tselem in a recent statement on the women’s arrest noted: “The military prosecution’s handling of the matter, and particularly its unprecedented request to remand non-violent demonstrators for the duration of the legal proceedings, raises the suspicion that the military might be exploiting these proceedings to keep Nariman a-Tamimi from carrying on her joint activity with her husband, Bassem, in a-Nabi Saleh’s struggle against the village being dispossessed of its land.” http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/2013007_military_tries_noneviolent_demonstarators

In 2012, Amnesty International recognised Nariman’s husband, Bassem, as a prisoner of conscience. Bassem was jailed for 1 year for his role in leading Nabi Saleh’s non-violent resistance to the occupation. Three months after his release, he was once again jailed for four months for participating in a non-violent BDS action in an illegal Israeli colony. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israel-stop-judicial-bullying-palestinian-activists-2013-07-04

Amnesty International accused the Israeli military of carrying out a campaign of harassment against Nariman saying: “This is an unrelenting campaign of harassment, the latest in a litany of human rights violations against Nariman Tamimi, her family, and her fellow villagers”. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israel-stop-judicial-bullying-palestinian-activists-2013-07-04

Rana recounted her and Nariman’s arrest to Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network highlighting the plight of other Palestinian women political prisoners currently incarcerated in Israel’s prisons http://samidoun.ca/2013/07/rana-nazzal-recounts-arrest-experience-lives-of-women-political-prisoners-in-israeli-jails/

Photo: Palestinian activist Nariman Tamimi (left) and Rana Hamadah waiting the verdict in Ramallah on July 9. Photo by Ahmad Gharabili via Maan News.

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Maan News: Israel charges Palestinian women over non-violent protest

from Maan News: 9 July 2013

OFER MILITARY COURT (AFP) — An Israeli military court formally charged two Palestinian women on Tuesday over their involvement in a peaceful demonstration in the West Bank last month.


Palestinian activist Nariman a-Tamimi (left) and Rana Hamadah sit for
the verdict in Ramallah on July 9. (photo by Ahmad Gharabli)
In a hearing at Ofer military court near Ramallah, Nariman Tamimi, 37, and Rana Hamadah, 21, who also holds Canadian nationality, were charged with “entering a closed military zone” during a demonstration in Nabi Saleh, where villagers have been protesting since 2009 over the seizure of their lands by a nearby settlement.

Both pleaded not guilty.

According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, the two were part of a group of around 25 people who participated in a peaceful demonstration on June 28 which was stopped by a group of Israeli soldiers and border police as they crossed a field near the village.

After a five minute standoff during which the forces informed them the area was a closed military zone, the group turned around and headed back towards the village, said B’Tselem’s Sarit Michaeli, who was videoing the protest.

“A group of five or six of them were just walking back when suddenly they were stopped and three of them were arrested,” she said.

The two women and a Spanish national were then driven around in the back of a jeep for most of the day, and taken to a police station around midnight.

Security forces released the Spanish woman but drove the other two to HaSharon, where they were held until late on Monday night, Michaeli said.

“This particular demonstration did not involve stone throwing,” she told AFP, explaining that despite the peaceful nature of the protest, the military prosecution initially asked for the two to be held until the end of legal proceedings in a step she described as “disproportionate”.

The court rejected the request, but a judge ruled that Tamimi, a mother of four who is married to veteran Nabi Saleh activist Bassem Tamimi, would be placed under house arrest every Friday. She is next due in court on September 3.

Hamadah, who is studying in Canada and is also facing obstruction charges after trying to prevent the forces from handcuffing her, was also barred from entering the village on a Friday. Her next hearing is on July 17.

“Usually the charge is violence or incitement to violence but in this case, there was no claim that they acted violently,” Michaeli said. “This is using the system to try to stop these people from being active politically.”

The arrest in 2011 of Tamimi’s husband on charges of organizing illegal gatherings and incitement sparked international condemnation with the European Union recognizing him as a human rights defender, and Amnesty International declaring him a prisoner of conscience.

Almost all demonstrations in Palestine are defined as “illegal” under Israeli military law, which states that any gathering of 10 or more people requires a permit.

 

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B’Tselem: Two Palestinian women to be tried this week for non-violent demonstration – military legal system being used to suppress legitimate protest

B’Tselem: Suspicion Military legal system being used to suppress legitimate non-violent protest

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 9 July 2013, the military court at Ofer Israeli military base will hold its first session in the trial of Nariman a-Tamimi and Rana Hamadah, who were arrested on 28 June 2013 during the weekly demonstration in the West Bank village of a-Nabi Saleh. The demonstration was not violent and there was no stone-throwing. The two Palestinian women were held at Sharon Prison in Israel for almost four days, and were then indicted for entering a closed military zone. The military prosecution rarely issues indictments for this offense. Rana Hamadah was also charged with obstructing a soldier in the execution of his duty. A foreign national arrested along with the two was released that night and barred from entering the village of a-Nabi Saleh for 15 days.

Still from video documentation of the arrests. Sarit Michaeli, B'Tselem, 28 June 2013
Still from video documentation of the arrests. Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem, 28 June 2013

After serving the indictment, the military prosecution requested the court to remand the two women for the duration of the proceedings. Justice Maj. Shahar Greenberg denied the request, and instead ordered that the two remain under house arrest for the duration of the proceedings. Implementation of the order was delayed upon request by defense counsel Adv. Nery Ramati. President of the Military Appeals Court Col. Netanel Benisho is shortly to announce his ruling on an appeal filed in this case.

The legal proceedings since a-Tamimi and Hamada were arrested are unprecedented, given the minor nature of the offense: the indictment does not claim that the two women acted violently. Furthermore, two military judges who watched video footage of the women’s arrest stated that they had found no evidence of violent or menacing behavior on their part. During the court sessions, Military Prosecutor Maj. Gilad Peretz even acknowledged that one reason for requesting continued remand was to keep the women from participating in demonstrations – unacceptable grounds that cannot possibly warrant detention. The fact that Judea and Samaria Attorney Lieut. Col. Maurice Hirsch himself represented the prosecution at one of the court sessions further demonstrates the military prosecution’s determination to keeping the two women behind bars.

Jessica Montell, Executive Director of Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, said, “The military prosecution’s handling of the matter, and particularly its unprecedented request to remand non-violent demonstrators for the duration of the legal proceedings, raises the suspicion that the military might be exploiting these proceedings to keep Nariman a-Tamimi from carrying on her joint activity with her husband, Bassem, in a-Nabi Saleh’s struggle against the village being dispossessed of its land.” Background

Nariman a-Tamimi is a prominent activist in the struggle that residents of a-Nabi Saleh village have waged over the last three years against the Israeli occupation and against being dispossessed of their land and water spring by settlers. Her husband, Bassem a-Tamimi, served 13 months in prison after being convicted by the Ofer military court of participating in illegal demonstrations and incitement to throw stones. In November 2012 he was sentenced to an additional four months of prison time, after being arrested at a demonstration near an Israeli supermarket chain in the West Bank. The European Union has declared a-Tamimi a human rights defender. Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, voiced concern over a-Tamimi’s conviction, which was based on testimonies taken from two minors from the village, who were interrogated in violation of their rights. Nariman a-Tamimi’s brother, Rushdi, was killed by live ammunition fired by soldiers during clashes in the village in November 2012. A Military Police investigation into the circumstances of his killing is still under way. The couple has four children.

The demonstrations in a-Nabi Saleh began in December 2009 to protest the fact that settlers, apparently from the nearby settlement of Halamish, had taken over the al-Qus spring and other villager-owned lands. Israeli military and Border Police forces are stationed there to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the spring and an adjacent road, which is also used by the settlers, arguing that the demonstrators may throw stones at settlers. Often, security forces halt the demonstration before it has even left the village.

For the past three years, B’Tselem has been documenting the actions used to violently suppress the demonstrations in the village, even when demonstrators are not throwing stones. As part of this suppression, the military has been exploiting legal means such as issuing warrants declaring village lands a closed military zone on Fridays, for as long as half a year at a time, and prosecuting the organizers of the demonstrations. To date, indictments have been served only in cases of violence or incitement to violence. No such claim has been made in the case at hand.

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Amira Hass: The Lengths the Israeli army will go to ‘defend the Jewish people’

AMIRA HASS ON THE ARREST OF NARIMAN TAMIMI AND RANA (NAZZAL) HAMADEH IN NABI SALEH

By Amira Hass | Jul.07, 2013 |

No less than Israel’s chief military advocate in Judea and Samaria – and dozens of others – were mobilized to keep two women Palestinian demonstrators in custody pending trial.

Ofer military court

Relatives of a Palestinian defendant watch proceedings at the Ofer military court in the West Bank. Photo by Daniel Bar-On

Last week, the Israel Defense Forces proved once again how it spares no resources or manpower to defend the Jewish people from any danger lying in wait. This time the glory belongs to the military prosecution, particularly the chief military advocate for Judaea and Samaria, Lt. Col. Morris Hirsch. Eyewitnesses describe how, at the Ofer military court, he mobilized with great enthusiasm to defend us from those trying to harm us.

On Friday June 28, our forces (the IDF and the Border Police) detained two serial threats to Israeli security: Neriman Tamimi, 37, from the village of Nabi Saleh, and Rana Hamadeh, 22, a native of Kabatia who is also a Canadian citizen. Within a week, in four sessions at two military courts, four judges, three prosecutors and several dozen prison guards, translators, drivers, soldiers and typists were recruited to keep the two women in detention until the proceedings ended. That doesn’t include the defense attorney, Neri Ramaty.

The two women were detained in Nabi Saleh, whose inhabitants have been demonstrating for almost three years to get back their spring, which was appropriated by the settlers of Halamish. In the past two years Israeli soldiers killed two demonstrators in the village; one was Rushdi, Tamimi’s brother. He was shot in the back with live fire.

On Friday June 28, several dozen demonstrators gathered in the village and marched to the wadi. Not one stone was thrown at our forces, and still they fired massive amounts of tear gas. The demonstrators scattered in all directions. Tamimi and Hamadeh ran down the mountain, bumped into two other demonstrators and decided to go back up to the village. Then soldiers appeared, said something in Hebrew, waved a piece of paper and detained the two women.

That was at about 2 P.M. They were led on foot to the area of the spring in handcuffs. There they were placed in a jeep where they were blindfolded with flannel cloth. Blindfolded and handcuffed, they spent about eight hours being driven in the jeep and at two military camps.

Only during a short break for an examination by a military doctor were the blindfolds taken off. Tamimi and Hamadeh were brought for interrogation at the Benjamin police station shortly before midnight.

They were left outside, in the cold of the Ramallah hills, until each was summoned to an investigating police officer. They maintained the right to remain silent. Only at 10 A.M. Saturday did they arrive exhausted at the Hasharon women’s prison. About 40 hours later, 2 A.M. Monday, the two were placed on the “bosta,” the bus that takes detainees to the courts.

Legs in chains

They arrived at Ofer about five hours later. The deliberations on extending their detention began at 10:20 A.M – that was already the second session. On Sunday in their absence, the military judge, Maj. Sharon Keinan, acceded to attorney Ramaty’s request and ordered their release on bail. He didn’t understand what was so dangerous that it required keeping the two women in detention, as the police requested, even if they had violated an order concerning a closed military area. The claim that Hamadeh was guilty of verbal violence did not astound him.

Military prosecutors filed an appeal, which was discussed the next day in the presence of Tamimi and Hamadeh. They were brought from the cell to the courtroom with their legs in chains and their hands in plastic handcuffs. In the courtroom only their hands were freed.

The judge of the Military Court of Appeals, Lt. Col. Ronen Atzmon, told the prosecutor, Capt. Gilad Peretz, that it did not appear the two women’s acts were dangerous enough to justify detention until the proceedings ended. Peretz summoned reinforcements: Hirsch, the man in charge of the prosecution.

Hirsch mentioned the regular demonstrations, which, according to the minutes, he said were designed to “defy the district authorities on a day that has become a focus of problematic behavior. There is no anarchy in the district, there is law and a judge, and the moment the respondents trample the law, the moment things reach the stage of recidivism and breaching the law, we think that at this stage, before and indictment is filed, this act constitutes a clear danger …. The respondents are dangerous based both on their past and on the incidents that took place at the site.”

Home, finally

Judge Atzmon ordered their release. “The nuisance and the anger that the respondents cause the security forces do not constitute a reason for detention,” he said. At 10 P.M. the two women were released to their homes.

On Tuesday July 2, they were told to return to the court, where the diligent prosecutors filed the indictment. Both are accused of violating an order regarding a closed military area, and Hamadeh is also accused of interfering with a soldier.

Prosecutor Peretz once again spoke about their past, about the fact that they specifically went down to the dangerous area near the wadi. Attorney Ramaty claimed that the order on the closed military area was unclear and gave examples of Jews who were not detained until the end of proceedings despite previous convictions. In one case, one detainee who was freed had 27 previous convictions of attacking policemen.

The prosecutors were partly successful. The military judge, Maj. Shahar Greenberg, sent the two women to house arrest until the end of the proceedings, but acceded to Ramaty’s request to postpone implementation. The prosecution quickly appealed the postponement, which was discussed on Thursday – by no less than the president of the Military Court of Appeals, Lt. Col. Netanel Benisho. He ordered house arrest for the two women, on Friday July 5.

Does that mean we have to fear for our safety until another judge rules on the prosecution’s demand?

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When non-violence is criminal: Palestinian women stand trial for West Bank protest

By |+972 Magazine: July 8, 2013

 

The IDF did not charge the two protesters with stone throwing, violent conduct or illegal gathering – but rather for violating a ‘closed military zone order,’ a highly unusual indictment. If the pair are convicted in court, it could set a precedent that demonstrates Palestinians are forbidden by Israel to oppose the occupation in any way.

 

The IDF’s Ofer Military Court in the West Bank will hold its first hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) in the trial of Nariman Tamimi and Rana Hamadah, two Palestinian women who were arrested on Friday, June 28 at the weekly demonstration against the occupation in Nabi Saleh.

The two women were held in Sharon Prison, in Israel, for more than three days before being brought before a military judge and indicted for entering a “closed military zone.” Rana Hamadah was also charged with obstructing a soldier in the execution of his duty.

Hamadah told +972 that during her arrest she asked the IDF soldier why she was being handcuffed, to which he replied: “Because I feel like it.” Hamadah said the pair were left handcuffed and blindfolded for nine hours, and were driven around in a vehicle with two male soldiers for seven more hours before being booked in Sharon Prison.

“Seeing the prisoners’ struggle from the inside gives an incredible urgency to their cause,” she said, adding that, “what we don’t see, and easily forget, is that the prisoners really must struggle for every passing minute.”

Nariman Tamimi told +972 this was the fifth time she has been arrested. She speculated that her arrest was part of the IDF’s efforts to crack down on the village’s right to protest, saying that Israel is “trying to make an example out of the village” by inflicting collective punishment.

A foreign national arrested along with the two Palestinian women was released later the same night and barred from entering the village for 15 days.

According to Israeli military law, under which Palestinians live, there is no such thing as a legal protest without permission from a military commander, which is rarely if ever granted (which is why arrests for stone throwing or organizing protests are so rampant).

According to B’Tselem, the legal proceedings initiated against Tamimi and Hamada since their arrest – and especially the IDF request for their remand for duration of proceedings (which was denied) – are unprecedented given the minor nature of the offense they are charged with. The indictment does not claim that the two women acted violently – which is usually the pretense for IDF arrests –  and the military prosecution rarely issues indictments for violating a “closed military zone.” From personal experience, I can attest that the IDF often baselessly issues such orders as a tool to repress protests, and in violation of Israeli High Court rulings, so the suspicion is that Israel is using its military legal control in the West Bank to repress legitimate protests.

As indicated by video footage, the demonstration was not violent and the women were not involved in any stone throwing or other act that could be construed as violent. Two military judges who watched video footage of the women’s arrest stated that they found no evidence of violent or menacing behavior on their part. It will therefore be interesting to see if and how the courts uphold the IDF’s arrests.

IDF arrests Nariman Tamimi at Nabi Saleh weekly protest June 28, 2013 (Activestills)

Like other high-profile arrests in Nabi Saleh, the women’s case is also attracting international attention. Amnesty International issued a statement on July 4 demanding that Israel stop the “bullying of Palestinian activists.” Its Middle East and North Africa program director said of the two women’s arrest: “They have been denied the basic human right to peacefully protest over land illegally seized by Israeli settlers, and the Israeli judiciary has used spurious legal tools to punish them for exercising their basic human right to peaceful protest.”

Since 2009, Nabi Saleh has been holding weekly protests against Israeli occupation, the wall and annexation of their land, including their spring, which has been seized by settlers from Halamish. Nairman’s husband, Bassem Tamimi, the village’s well-known Palestinian activist and non-violent leader, has been arrested several times and spent years in Israeli jail. Amnesty International declared  him a prisoner of conscience last year.

In this interview below, Nariman Taimimi describes the ordeal of their arrest, which she claims was the first time she was NOT beaten, but included other abuses such as being held overnight in a car and threatened with being strip-searched by male officers:

Video by International Solidarity Movement.

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