Video by David Reeb
Video by Israel Puterman
Video by David Reeb
Video by Israel Puterman
Video by Israel Puterman
Video by David Reeb
Video by Bt’selem
Video by Bilal Tamimi
B’Tselem spokesperson and colleague Sarit Michaeli was shot in the leg from close range on Friday by Israeli forces while documenting the weekly protest in Nabi Saleh, as she has been doing for years. She issued a statement Saturday on her understanding of what happened, which I translated below.
Although this is not the first time an Israeli has been wounded by IDF fire at West Bank protests (there are a handful of other cases), it is quite uncommon. It is certainly not the first time a Palestinian or foreigner has been wounded (there are dozens of such cases). It is important to note that Sarit is a professional NGO worker and her presence at the protests in Nabi Saleh is part of the organization’s work documenting human rights violations in the occupied West Bank.
As of Saturday evening, no Israeli mainstream media outlet has reported on the incident.
On Friday I was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet while documenting the demonstration in Nabi Saleh. The demonstration was dispersed by Border Police officers when the protesters were still on the main road that leads out of the village. After the Border Police began to disperse the crowds, some kids threw a few stones in their direction. About 20 minutes after the protest had begun, and after the procession had already been largely dispersed, a group of about nine Border Policemen and IDF soldiers stormed the main road of the village next to the gas station in the direction of a group of demonstrators, who were running away from them up the road.
I stood aside, close to the gas station. At a certain point one of the Border Policeman shot at me from what I estimate was a distance of no more than 15-20 meters. (The legal minimum range for a rubber-coated steel bullet is 50 meters).
I’m not really sure why I was shot at. I wasn’t in the path of the soldiers and I wasn’t doing anything that could be interpreted as a threat to them. They saw me beforehand with my camera filming, standing on the side, not in their way. In order to shoot at me, the Border Policeman had to knowingly point his weapon in my direction, or in the direction of a medic and two Palestinian female protesters who were close to me. No one standing in my vicinity threw any stones.
The bullet penetrated my thigh and was removed at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. I filmed the moment I was shot but still haven’t had the chance to upload the material. Bilal Tamimi, a resident of Nabi Saleh, uploaded this video showing what happened (minute 2:39). (Emphasis mine)
19th July 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Ramallah Team | Nabi Saleh, Occupied Palestine
Today, around fifty Palestinians together with Israeli and international activists marched from the centre of Nabi Saleh down the main road towards the stolen spring.
Protesters made barricades of burning tyres to prevent Israeli forces from raiding the village.
Soon after that, several Israeli border police officers appeared behind a house on the right side of the main road and started shooting rubber coated steel bullets at protesters.
More Israeli border police then arrived at the bottom of the main road, running towards protesters and shooting more rubber coated steel bullets.
An Israeli woman activist was shot in her upper thigh with a rubber coated steel bullet from close range and had to be taken to hospital in Tel Aviv. She underwent a very minor surgery to get the bullet removed and will remain in hospital until Sunday.
Israeli forces continued shooting rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters from various locations inside the village.
According to a resident of Nabi Saleh, yesterday night at around 3am, an Israeli bulldozer was working in the spring. Settlers from Halamish also went to the spring to talk to the soldiers. Palestinian youths went to the hilltop in front of this area to see what was happening and verbal confrontations between settlers and them erupted. Israeli forces, defending the settlers as usual, shot several tear gas canisters at Palestinians.
Previously this week, on Tuesday, clashes between residents of Nabi Saleh and Israeli forces erupted in the same spot where Rushdi Tamimi was shot last November. Israeli forces shot rubber coated steel bullets and injured Mohammed Tamimi (10) in the leg. Mahmoud Tamimi (22) was then shot with live ammunition also in the leg. Read the full report here.
17th July 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Ramallah Team | Nabi Saleh, Occupied Palestine
Update 19th July: Mahmoud Tamimi is still recovering at the hospital. The injury in his leg is still open due to artery bleeding and will require stitches today.
On Tuesday, clashes between residents of Nabi Saleh and Israeli forces resulted in one boy injured with a rubber coated steel bullet in the leg and a man injured with live ammunition, also in the leg. The latter underwent surgery and is still recovering at Ramallah hospital.
Yesterday in the evening, just before Iftar (breaking of the fast), confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths from Nabi Saleh erupted. Israeli forces shot tear gas canisters, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition at villagers, resulting in two people injured.
Mahmoud Tamimi, 22 years old, was shot with a live ammunition bullet in the leg when he was trying to help Mohammad Tamimi, 10 years old, who had been shot with a rubber coated steel bullet in the leg while standing on the hill side where the confrontations were taking place.
After he was shot, Israeli soldiers prevented villagers from aiding Mahmoud and evacuating him to hospital. Bilal Tamimi, a villager who went to the scene to document what was happening, was beaten up and had his camera broken by Israeli soldiers.
Mohammad and Mahmoud were eventually taken to Ramallah hospital. Mahmoud underwent surgery and is still at the hospital while Mohammad was released yesterday and is currently recovering at home.
The village of Nabi Saleh has been demonstrating against the theft of their natural spring and the occupation since December 2009. Israeli forces violently suppress the weekly Friday protests by shooting tear gas canisters, skunk water, sound bombs, rubber coated steel bullets and even live ammunition at protesters. Two people have been killed, Mustafa and Rushdi Tamimi, and many others severely injured. Bassem Tamimi, Mohammad’s father, has spent 17 months in Israeli jails, merely for being a prominent activist at the protests. Nariman Tamimi, his wife and Mohammad’s mother, was arrested at a demonstration on the 28th of June. She spent three days in jail and was accused of entering a closed military zone. Nariman is currently on partial house arrest on Fridays and has the next military court hearing in September.
Palestinian journalist Bilal Tamimi was assaulted by Israeli soldiers while covering the protest, witnesses said. Israeli forces also smashed his camera.
An Israeli army spokesman said that approximately 100 Palestinians took part in a “violent and illegal riot” and hurled rocks and rolled burning tires towards soldiers at the scene, who responded with riot dispersal means.
“One soldier was injured during the riot, and soldiers sensing imminent danger to their lives fired towards a main instigator, registering a direct hit,” he added.
The suspect was treated at the scene by Israeli medics and transferred to a hospital in Ramallah, the army spokesman said.
Since 2009, residents of Nabi Saleh and international activists have been protesting every Friday against the annexation of land by Israel.
Since 1977, half of the Nabi Saleh’s farmland has been lost to encroaching Israeli settlements.
Rights group issues scathing attack on trial of Palestinian women over weekly protests against West Bank settlement.
Amnesty International said there has been an unrelenting campaign of harassment against Tamimi [Reuters]
|Two female Palestinian activists have gone on trial in an Israeli military court over their involvement in weekly demonstrations against an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Rights groups and activists said on Tuesday that the prosecution of Nariman Tamimi and Rana Hamadeh coincided with a rise in Israeli arrests of Palestinian protest organisers in recent weeks.
The decision to put the two women on trial was unusual because charges against them focused on their entry to a “closed military zone” during a protest in the village of Nabi Saleh on June 28, an offence that rarely leads to prosecution in court. It is also rare for Israel to prosecute Palestinian women protesters.
Amnesty International issued a written statement earlier that urged Israeli authorities to stop the “judicial bullying” of Palestinian activists.
“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,” the UK-based human rights watchdog said of the women.
‘Human rights violations’
Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme director, said in a written statement after the arrests that there had been an unrelenting campaign of harassment, “the latest in a litany of human rights violations against Nariman Tamimi, her family, and her fellow villagers”.
“These arbitrary restrictions should be lifted immediately and the charges should be dropped,” Luther said.
Villagers began organising protests every Friday after Israelis from the Halamish settlement took control of a spring between the two communities in 2009, which they say deprived them of a source of irrigation.
The protests typically involve flag-waving and stone-throwing by the Palestinian side, which is met by tear gas, rubber bullets and even live ammunition by the army.
Two Palestinians have been shot dead by soldiers since the protests began, including Nariman’s brother Rushdi, in November.
‘Closed military zone’
The Israeli army restricted access to the village during the confrontations and declared it a “closed military zone”.
Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said the women had “participated in an unlawful disruption of the public order, ignored specific instructions of law enforcement officers and therefore were detained”.
Lerner said the military had taken necessary action to restore security after the violence resulting from the protest threatened the safety of civilians on a nearby road.
Sarit Michaeli of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said that the trial was expected to last months and it was part of the Israeli policies which “make it virtually impossible for Palestinians to legally demonstrate”.
The two defendants are free on bail while the trial continues but Tamimi has been ordered to stay at home every Friday and Hamadeh may not enter Nabi Saleh on Fridays.
Blessed by Abbas
Israel arrested two other prominent ativists in the past week in the West Bank villages of Bil’in and Beit Ummar.
The activists had organised protests as part of a strategy dubbed “popular resistance” blessed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Israel has occupied the West Bank and sown it widely with settlements since capturing it in the 1967 Middle East war along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, land Palestinians want for a future state.
The United Nations has said that the settlements are illegal.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has termed Israeli plans to press ahead with the construction of more than 1,000 homes in two occupied West Bank settlements “a violation of international law”.
Nariman Tamimi and Rana Nazzal who were arrested while non-violently participating in the regular Friday demonstration in Nabi Saleh against Israel’s occupation were released on 2 July after being held for three nights in Israeli Prison. Both women were forced to appear twice before Israel’s military occupation courts. The court ruled at the first appearance that they should be released but Israeli Occupation police appealed the decision. They are now being released after being brought before the military occupation courts at Ofer Prison today for a second time.
NabiSaleh residents and supporters on June 14 gave red card to Israeli apartheid and occupation. For more info on the Red Card against Israeli racism campaign see: http://redcardapartheid.weebly.com/about.html
Activists reported that the Israeli Occupation Forces fired rubber coated steel bullets, teargas, stun grenades and sprayed skunk directly at residential homes. Several people were reported as being hit by rubber coated steel bullets, with at least one young man bleeding from being hit with a rubber coated steel bullet in the leg.