Tag Archives: political prisoners

APRIL 4: demonstration in support of Palestinian political prisoners

by Nabi Saleh Solidarity: 4 April 2014

Popular protests in Nabi Saleh, Nilin and Bilin today have been replaced with the central march outside Ofer prison, in support of Palestinian political prisoners.

Activists reported that several hundred Palestinians from villages across the West Bank (including Nabi Saleh, Bilin and Nilin) have demonstrated out of Ofer Prison in support of Palestinian political prisoners. Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have open fired with tear gas, rubber coated steal bullets and live ammunition. Reports of at least 5 protestors injured, including at least 2 women shot directly from two meters away. Muhamad Yassin from Bil’in has been shot twice – in the face and stomach – and is currently undergoing surgery.

 

ofer prison 4 aprPhoto by Active Stills

ofer prison  4 april teargasPhoto by Jihad Qade

ofer prison 4 april Photo by Quique Kierszenbaum

ofer prison 4 april protest

Photo: Muhammed Yassin from Bilin injured in face and stomach

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PSCC report on Nabi Saleh protests – 30 August and 13 September 2013

 

 

By Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

Weekly Protests, Friday 30th August 2013 – full report for all districts click here.


NABI SALEH, RAMALLAH GOVERNORATE

In solidarity with Palestinian prisoners

After the Friday Prayer, Palestinian, Israeli and international activists marched from the Martyrs’ square, in the center of the village, towards the confiscated land and natural spring near the Israeli illegal settlement of Halamish. Activists chanted slogans calling to the release of Palestinian prisoners and condemning the expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.

As the march reached Al shaheed Musatafa Tamimi street, Israeli Forces attempted to suppress the protest by firing tear gas and coated rubber bullets at peaceful demonstrators. Several people suffocated from teargas.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabi-Saleh-Solidarity/177013109017209

***

Weekly Protests, Friday 13th September 2013 – full report for all districts click here

NABI SALEH, RAMALLAH GOVERNORATE

Call to release the Palestinian prisoners and end settler raids in Al Aqsa mosque

After the Friday Prayers, dozens of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists marched towards the confiscated land near the Israeli military watch tower at the entrance of the village, chanting slogans calling for national unity and holding photos of prisoners and of Yasser Arafat. As on most Fridays, the Israeli Forces prevented the march by firing a massive amount of rubber bullets and tear gas canisters leading to many suffocations cases. Clashes broke out; Israeli army invaded the village and targeted houses with their munitions.

The Popular Struggle leaders reminded that national unity is essential to end the occupation and to establish a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as a capital.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabi-Saleh-Solidarity/177013109017209

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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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Rana Nazzal recounts arrest experience, lives of women political prisoners in Israeli jails

by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network:  2 July 2014

nariman-ranaRana Nazzal, Palestinian activist, was arrested alongside Nariman Tamimi on Friday, June 28 at Nabi Saleh village’s weekly protests against illegal settlements on Palestinian land. Both were accused of entering a “closed military zone”, and were held for four days until their release prior to trial on Monday, July 1. Rana Nazzal is a Palestinian Canadian who organizes with SAIA (Students Against Israeli Apartheid) at Carleton University in Ottawa. She blogs at http://zaytouni.wordpress.com/ and tweets at @zaytouni_rana, from which she shared her experiences of arrest, imprisonment, and connection with the 16 Palestinian women prisoners held in occupation prisons:

The following quotes are from Nazzal’s Twitter account on July 2 of her arrest and imprisonment at the hands of the Israeli Occupation Forces: “Was arrested Friday at the #NabiSaleh protest without any provocation. When I asked the soldier why, she replied ‘because I feel like it’.  Nariman, myself, & a Spanish man were blindfolded, transported, & isolated from one another for some 8-9 hours before being brought to police.”

Nazzal reported that “Nariman and I were then kept handcuffed in a car with two male soldiers for 7 hours before finally being admitted to Hasharon prison [where all 16 Palestinian women prisoners are currently held]. . .Hasharon prison put us in a cell with cameras the first night. Only after we threatened to hunger strike they moved us to a regular cell.” She had been arrested previously by occupation soldiers while protesting, and comparing the experiences, wrote “Last year was worse. I was alone, confused, recovering from a beating, & arrest was a bit longer. Neither time was the spirit broken though, especially when you are faced with the ferocious spirits of the women prisoners.”

She related that “We met the 16 other Palestinian women political prisoners who welcomed us warmly. On Sunday they cooked mloukhieh & sent it to our cell. Lina Jarbouni and Alaa Joudeh I met when I was imprisoned last year. Lina has 6 years left on a 17 year sentence & Alaa was arrested at 17.

Sireen Khudiri, who was arrested for ‘Internet activism’ is teaching the 16 women prisoners English. Lina Jarbouni is teaching Hebrew. Tahrir Mansour told us soldiers broke everything in her house-fridge, washer- cut open sofas, even stole money, when they arrested her.”

Nazzal said that her case, and Tamimi’s, is not over. “At our trial Monday we were released on bail but the case isn’t over. We just had a trial now. Today at a follow up trial prosecutor pushed for jail time, but judge decided bail & house arrest. Tomorrow we’re appealing that decision!” noting that the “prosecutor said as part of his case for worse punishment on us, that Nariman and I aren’t afraid of the soldiers. Thanks for the compliment.”

“Lots of soldiers try to ease their consciences on us, perhaps by offering us water (wow) or telling us they don’t even like their job. It is much worse to me when a soldier knows what they’re doing is wrong but are too weak to stop doing it. I’m tired of weakness,” she wrote.

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Video and Photo Essay: Nabi Saleh continues to resist and call for all Palestinian political prisoners to be freed

Video by Bilal Tamimi

Photo essay by Haim Schwarczenberg: 19 April 2013

start of protest - haim schw

Nabi Saleh popular struggle demonstration begins

boy with flag - haim schw

Roadblock made of stones to try and prevent Israeli Occupation Forces invading Nabi Saleh vilalge

boy invading iof - haim schw

Palestinian youth attempts to prevent Israeli Occupation Forces invading Nabi Saleh village

skunk - haim schw

Skunk (foul chemical water) fired at unarmed demonsrators

iof in village  haim sch

Israeli Occupation Forces invade Nabi Saleh

firing teargas - haim schw

Israeli Occupation Forces firing teargas

iof firing teagas - haim schw

Israeli Occupation Forces firing teargas

manal teargas - haim Schw

Nariman Tamimi treated for tear gas inhalation

israeli activist iof haim schwIsraeli activist assaulted by Israeli Occupation Forces

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West Bank boiling as popular resistance grows

by Maan News: 01,03,2013 (updated on 03.03.2013)

  
Protester uses a sling shot to throw stones towards Israeli forces
during clashes at Hawara checkpoint near the West Bank city of
Nablus March 1, 2013. (Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Dozens of Palestinian protesters were hit by rubber-coated bullets while others suffered from tear gas during clashes Friday across the West Bank between Israeli troops and protesters.

Hundreds of young Palestinians rallied after Friday prayers to protest the death of a young Palestinian man, Arafat Jaradat, last week only five days after he was detained and interrogated by Israeli intelligence, and to show solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.

A Ma’an reporter in Ramallah in the central West Bank said clashes broke out in different areas in the district including nearby al-Bireh, a neighborhood in Beitunia close to Israel’s Ofer detention center, the Qalandiya checkpoint and the town of Bilin west of Ramallah.

He highlighted that more than 15 young men were hit by rubber-coated bullets in addition to dozens who were hurt by tear gas which Israeli troops fired heavily near Ofer detention center.

Large numbers of Israeli troops deployed heavily in the area. They showered the protesters with foul-smelling liquids. The protesters, for their part, threw stones and empty bottles at the soldiers.

Similar clashes erupted near Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem during which six young Palestinians were hit by rubber-coated gunshots, and several others were hurt by tear gas.

The Ma’an reporter highlighted that high velocity tear-gas canisters the soldiers fired hit some vehicles as they traveled on the main road near Qalandia.

In Bilin to the west of Ramallah, locals marched after the Friday prayer commemorating the eighth anniversary of the popular resistance movement which started in the village when Israel started to build the separation wall.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad joined the rally in Bilin along with Palestinian officials and faction leaders. Among the participants were the governor of Nablus Layla Ghannam, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Front Wasil Abu Yousif, DFLP official Ramzi Rabah, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouthi, official in the Popular Struggle Front Rizq Nammura, and others.

Fayyad and the governor of Ramallah were among hundreds who choked seriously as they inhaled tear gas. Foreign solidarity activists who joined the rally were hurt as well, while four young Palestinian men were hit by high-velocity tear gas canisters.

According to a Ma’an reporter, Israeli soldiers showered the participants with tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and foul-smelling liquids while others fired rubber-coated bullets.

The soldiers, he said, chased the protesters in military jeeps between olive trees in the fields. As a result four young men were hit by high-velocity tear gas canisters. They were identified as 17-year-old Muatasim Mansour, 20-year-old Issam Yasin, 22-year-old cameraman Ali Abu Rahma, and 18-year-old assistant paramedic Nimir Malasa. Two of the victims were hit right in the head, and were evacuated to Palestine Medical Compound in Ramallah. The other two were hit in the abdomen and one on the foot.

Two ambulances were also hit by tear gas canisters smashing their windshields.

Bethlehem district in the southern West Bank saw clashes after Friday prayers in several locations across the district including in Tuqu to the east where Israeli troops dispersed a rally using tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets. No injuries have been reported.

Other skirmishes broke out in the town of al-Khader south of Bethlehem city. The clashes took place near al-Nashash gas station very close to the Israeli bypass road known as route 60. Locals told Ma’an that dozens choked as a result of inhaling tear gas.

More clashes erupted in Nabi Salih village after Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the village’s weekly protest against Israel’s separation wall and settlement activities. A statement by a local popular resistance committee said Israeli forces assaulted the participants using tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets as they arrived at Mustafa Tamimi Street. Six demonstrators were hit by rubber-coated bullets and a foreign female activist fainted during the clashes.

Confrontations were also reported at the entrance to the east Jerusalem town of Anata. Witnesses said several young men were hit by high-velocity tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets.

Fierce clashes also erupted in the central West Bank city of Salfit, namely on lands belonging to the Palestinian ministry of endowment.

Locals said the ministry decided to perform Friday prayers on that land to protest damages to the land by the Israeli Ariel industrial zone. After the prayer, hundreds of worshipers rallied before Israeli soldiers stopped them using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets. Several demonstrators were hurt.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said hundreds of people in Abu Dis, Nablus and Bilin threw rocks at Israeli forces, who responded with riot dispersal means.

 

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Palestinian West Bank protest leader, Bassem Tamimi: ‘Israel killed the two-state solution’

By  and  | Feb.17, 2013 | Haaretz

Bassam Tamimi returned to the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh this week after completing his ninth sentence in an Israeli jail. The Palestinian activist explains why he now believes in one state for all.

nariman bassem and ahed big haaretzBassem and Nariman Tamimi, with daughter Ah’d  Photo by Alex Lavac, Haaretz

Only the remains of a cream cake on the kitchen table and a few fluttering flags on the roof are testimony to the happy atmosphere in this home. However, the joy over Bassam Tamimi’s release from prison this week was considerably dampened by the grief over the death of his brother-in-law, Rushdi Tamimi. Rushdi, 31, died three months ago when Israel Defense Forces soldiers fired 80 live rounds at him − without any justification, according to a subsequent IDF investigation.

The first thing Bassam did after his release was to visit Rushdi’s grave. Bassam’s cousin, Mustafa Tamimi, was killed over a year ago, also by IDF gunfire. And soldiers did not hesitate to fire tear-gas canisters at his funeral, which I attended.

Bassam’s sister, Bassama, was killed 10 years ago when she went to the military court in Ramallah, where Bassam was being remanded in custody. An army interpreter allegedly pushed her down a staircase; as a result, she broke her neck and died, leaving five young children behind.

Photographs of the three hang in the family’s living room in Nabi Saleh, a determined village that is part of the popular Palestinian uprising. Bassam Tamimi, the leader of the uprising, was released this week after his ninth incarceration in an Israeli prison. The latest spell behind bars came after he participated in a nonviolent demonstration calling for the boycotting of Israeli products, held at the entrance to the Rami Levi supermarket in the Geva Binyamin industrial zone, southeast of Ramallah.

 

This four-month sentence can be added to the other four years Tamimi has previously spent in Israeli prisons. In a poster that reads “Free Bassam Tamimi,” also hanging on one of the living room walls, there is no date. His wife, Nariman, explains that the absence of a date has enabled the poster to be used all the times he has been arrested. She herself has been arrested four times.

For several years, Bassam, 45, has been trying to complete his requirements for a Master’s degree in economics. The problem is that, whenever he makes a little progress toward finishing the requirements, he is arrested and sent to prison. Now he is determined to get a Ph.D.

His village, in the Ramallah district, began its struggle in 2009, on the anniversary of the first intifada 22 years before. Tamimi and his friends from the village, as well as international and Israeli activists, wanted to return to the days of that first intifada, to protest the expulsion of villagers from Nabi Saleh’s well by settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish ‏(previously called Neve Tzuf‏).

Since that time, though, Tamimi has changed his outlook. Whereas previously he supported the two-states-for-two-nations idea, he is now fighting for the concept of a single state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

This week, the day after his release from prison, Bassam explained his new worldview: “The seizure of the well is only a manifestation of the problem, not the problem itself. The same can be said about the checkpoints, the settlements, the theft of Palestinian lands and the arrests. The real problem is the occupation.

“When the village of Budros succeeded in changing the route of the separation fence, this was a minor victory. The problem is the separation fence, not its route. The problem is not the settlers’ attacks, but rather the settlements themselves. The problem is the occupation, not its various manifestations.

“When a representative of the American consulate visited here a short while after we began our struggle,” he adds, “I told her: ‘Let us say you were Wonder Woman and you could, simply with a toss of your head, make Halamish disappear. Would you solve the problem? Just look around you, at the settlements.’ We believe that our fate is not the occupation but rather the resistance.

“Israel has killed the two-state solution. That is why we must adopt a new strategy, and find a new partner for that strategy in Israeli society. We must kill the occupation and the [sense of] separation in the Israeli consciousness: The separation of people from one another is a question of consciousness. We must never return to this failed pattern of thinking. The future will not change if we continue to think with the same concepts of the past. The solution is a single state. If we believe we have a right to this land and the Israelis believe they are the ones who have a right to this land, we must build a new model. If both of us believe that God gave us this land, we must put history aside and begin to think about the future in different terms.

“I began to be active in the Fatah movement, which means that I supported its ideas,” Bassam says. “For me, as someone who never worked in Israel, the Israeli was the soldier who is shooting, the soldier who is at the checkpoint, or the investigator in prison who caused me to lose consciousness for ten days and to suffer partial paralysis in 1993 after he used considerable physical force while rocking my body during my interrogation. For me, the Israeli was the woman who killed my sister. This was the image of the Israeli in my view, and it made me hate Israelis.

“However, when we began the popular uprising, I met other Israelis, people who believed that I have a right to this land, people who were partners and true cousins. This strengthened my belief that we can learn how to live together. I have no problem in suggesting to Jonathan Pollak [one of the anarchist leaders opposing the separation fence] that he build his house on my roof. But I cannot tolerate the idea that the settlers have settled on my land. My consciousness has changed and it has taken me to the one-state solution, which means the acceptance − not the removal − of the Other. In the past I wanted all of this land without any Israelis. Today, I also accept the Israelis. If we can all change our consciousness, we can create a just country.

“This is hard, I know,” Bassam admits. “Israel wants to kill that idea as well. It wants to build a wall against it, which means that they do not want us. They are returning to the old idea of the desolate land. But we are here and we will continue with our resistance.”

Tamimi’s daughter listens to our conversation. Ahed is a beautiful, blonde-haired young girl of 11 who made her worldwide media debut a few weeks ago when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited her to visit Turkey, together with her mother. A large, elegant album with chrome paper pages − a gift from the Turkish government − displays breathtaking photos from the visit of Ahed and her mother, a visit that was given extensive media coverage. On returning from Turkey, Ahed told her father that, when Erdogan suggested she accompany him on a visit to a refugee camp for Syrian refugees, she turned down the offer. She told the Turkish prime minister that her heart already had enough pain.

A unique case

Bassam Tamimi’s latest sentence came after he saw Israeli police officers attempting to arrest his wife Nariman at the Rami Levi demo, and he ran over in order to free her. The judge at his trial, Maj. Meir Vigisser, wrote: “The accused participated in a demonstration that was declared illegal, and fought with Chief Inspector [Benny] Malka in an attempt to free his wife. In his actions, he was guilty of assaulting a police officer. The case we are dealing with here is unique to a great extent … It does not appear that he intended to enter into a confrontation with the police. A few seconds beforehand, he was seen standing alongside his wife and Chief Inspector Malka and appeared to be in a relaxed mood.”

The Ofer military court in the West Bank sentenced him to four months in prison, a fine of NIS 5,000 and a suspended sentence that will be activated if he dares to participate in “any procession for which no permit has been issued, or in any gathering attended by more than 50 persons.” I ask Bassam what he has gained through his struggle? “The occupation,” he responds, “is still here and is present in every aspect of our lives, so it could be said that we have not attained anything tangible. However, on the other hand, our message is being heard throughout the world. Part of our success is the fact that you two came today to hear what I have to say. And the fact that our children now have more courage to talk about their fate. And the fact that we can correct the negative image of Palestinians in a segment of the international community. And the fact that people in Turkey saw Ahed and heard her speak. But our main target is Israeli society, and there we have made very little headway. Israeli society is moving
further to the right and that is the reason why it is hard to believe that we are getting closer to something substantial. Israel is pushing us back to the idea of the armed struggle in order to again spread the lie that we are terrorists. This worries me very much.

“I am also afraid of [Habayit Hayehudi leader] Naftali Bennett’s plan. He wants Israel to annex all of Area C.”

‏(In accordance with the Oslo II Accords [Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip], signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1995, Judea and Samaria is divided into three sections: A, B and C: Area A, which includes most of the large Palestinian population centers, is mostly under Palestinian Authority ‏(PA‏) civil and security control; Area B is mostly under PA civil control and Israeli security control; and Area C is mostly under Israeli security and civil control, although the PA has authority in civil matters not related to land.‏)

‘Everything is interconnected’

“That means apartheid,” Tamimi continues. “This is Israel’s plan: to banish the Palestinians from all of Area C. For instance, my home is located in Area C and a demolition order has been issued against my home. Yes, you are now in Area C and you can feel secure because here Israel is responsible for security. Some of the houses in this village are in Area C. Half of my cousin’s house is located in Area B and the other half is located in Area C. Thirteen demolition orders have been issued against houses in this village. I have a building permit for part of my house from the Jordanian government; it was issued in 1964.

“The Israelis have issued a demolition order for 300 square meters of my house, although my house measures only 200 square meters. Perhaps I can borrow 100 square meters from Halamish. Although perhaps they will not demolish my house, they have managed to scare me so much that I have decided not to add another floor. In other words, four of my children will have to move to Areas A and B. This is the quiet population transfer. This is ‘gentle’ genocide, where no one is killed. The next generation will leave Area C and only the elderly will remain. Perhaps they will be given Israeli identity cards, but that will be apartheid.

“Because it is for the most part Zionist, the Israeli left wants to change the Palestinian consciousness and adapt it to the Israeli left’s consciousness. It is not prepared to accept our right to our consciousness. The Israeli left wants to change us. It wants to make life easier for us under the occupation, but does not really want to put it to an end. After all, ever since the Oslo era, the total area of land that the Israelis have taken from the Palestinians is five times the area of land that they took before Oslo. However, when I see who comes here every Friday in order to demonstrate with us and to support us in our struggle, I believe that we do have a partner for changing the situation.

“The two-state solution is not just. Jewish holy sites are located in the West Bank. My children love to go to the beach, which is located in Israeli territory. I love to stroll in Jaffa and Acre, which are both located in Israel. Most of Israel’s water is in the West Bank. A large portion of Israel’s revenue comes from tourism, and part of the Palestinian economy is entitled to be based on tourism. Everything is interconnected. I do not want to deny anyone these rights. I want a solution for everyone. I know that such a thing has not always worked out in every place, but the world is moving toward the elimination of all borders and toward economic union.”

 

 

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Breaking News: Bassem Tamimi is free

Bassem Tamimi is free. He was released on Sunday, 10 February (Palestinian Time).

Bassem was arrested 4 months ago in the first BDS action in an illegal Israeli colony – a non-violent protest against Rami Levy supermarket.  At the time, Israeli occupation forces violently detained Bassem, breaking three of his ribs in the process. He was subsequently interrogated on participating in an unauthorized demonstration and assault of a police officer.

Bassem has previously spent one year in prison for his non-violent leadership of the popular resistance in Nabi Saleh and released in March 2012.  During his previous imprisonment he was recognised as a human rights defender by the European Union and a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.

abir kopty-bassemBassem hugs his wife, Nariman.  Photo by Abir Kopty

keren manorBassem with his wife, Nariman. Photo by: Keren Manor/ Activestils.org

oren zivBassem with wife Nariman at welcome home party: Photo by Oren Ziv: Activestills

Ashira HakanBassem with his children.  Photo by Ashira Hakan

2 Ashira HakanWelcome home party for Bassem: Photo by Ashira Hakan

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