Israel Occupation Forces attack Nabi Saleh, arrest two children (15 Jan 2016)

Israeli Occupation Forces invaded Nabi Saleh on Friday, attacking the village and firing large quantities of tear gas, including into homes. Manal Tamimi was in her home and was over come by tear gas. She hospitalised as a result. Israeli Occupation Forces also arrested two children from the village.

Photos by Bassem Tamimi

West Bank village punished for exposing Israel’s brutality

Nancy Murray, The Electronic Intifada

21 December 2015

Members of the Tamimi family prevent an Israeli soldier from arresting Muhammad Tamimi, 12, during the weekly protest against the occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on 28 August. Muhannad Saleem ActiveStills

The small West Bank village of Nabi Saleh is paying a steep price for a video of Israeli brutality.

Widely circulated in recent months, the video shows the mother and sister of 12-year-old Muhammad Tamimi wresting him away from a masked and armed Israeli soldier. The boy was throttled and jammed into boulders on 28 August, despite having a cast on his arm.

Israeli politicians not only defended the Israeli soldier’s actions; some argued that he should have behaved in an even more cruel manner.

Miri Regev, Israel’s culture minister, said that the soldier should have shot the boy’s unarmed rescuers.

Since the incident, the Israeli army has detained scores of young men from the village and subjected them to lengthy periods of interrogation, during which abusive treatment occurred.

Seventeen are currently imprisoned, including Waed Tamimi, Muhammad’s 19-year-old brother.

Waed was arrested, along with his 20-year-old cousin Anan, during a 19 October night raid on the home of Waed’s parents, Nariman and Bassem Tamimi. Four other young men were seized by the army that same night, including Louay Tamimi, whose brother Mustafa was killed in December 2011 when a soldier fired a high velocity tear gas canister at his head from a meter away.

Bassem Tamimi, who was on a lecture tour of the US when his son was arrested, has himself been detained a dozen times. He has also been tortured and spent three years in prison without a conviction.
Defying military orders

Bassem and his cousin Naji, the father of Anan, have been recognized as human rights defenders by the European Union. In 2012, Bassem was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

The cousins have helped coordinate their village’s unarmed resistance activities. Rather than submit mutely to the confiscation of their land and freshwater spring by Israeli settlers, the residents of Nabi Saleh have for the last six years held spirited weekly demonstrations demanding an end to the Israeli occupation.

In so doing, they have defied Israeli Military Order 101, which criminalizes participation in protests, assemblies and vigils, as well as waving flags and distributing political material. Efforts to influence public opinion are prohibited as “political incitement.”

Palestinians face Israeli soldiers during the weekly protest in Nabi Saleh village in 2011. Anne Paq ActiveStills

But to Nabi Saleh residents, such military orders are inherently unjust. During his June 2011 trial for organizing demonstrations, Bassem Tamimi told the court:

“Despite claiming to be the only democracy in the Middle East, you are trying me under military laws which lack any legitimacy; laws that are enacted by authorities that I have not elected and do not represent me. I am accused of organizing peaceful civil demonstrations that have no military aspects and are legal under international law. We have the right to express our rejection of occupation in all of its forms; to defend our freedom and dignity as a people and to seek justice and peace in our land in order to protect our children and secure their future.”

Israeli and international activists have frequently joined the weekly protests in Nabi Saleh, and face an army deploying stun grenades, tear gas, skunk water, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition. Hundreds of demonstrators have been injured, some permanently, and two were killed.

Over the years, as many as 200 villagers have been detained out of a population of just over 500. All of them belong to Tamimi clan.
Why is the world silent?

At the 28 August protest, the army arrested Bassem’s 19-year-old nephew, Mahmoud. Vittorio Fera, an Italian activist, was also detained.

Fera was swiftly acquitted by an Israeli civil court from the charge of throwing stones and other objects.

Mahmoud — who faces identical charges in the military court system — has spent months now in Ofer, an Israeli prison in the West Bank, without a hearing.

For Palestinians, including children, there is no presumption of innocence and little likelihood of acquittal, given the 99.74 percent conviction rate in military courts.

Most of these convictions are a result of plea bargains, agreed to after the coercive extraction of confessions from children as well as adults. Some prisoners may be sentenced to administrative detention. Under that practice, detainees are held without charge or trial and without being told what evidence the authorities hold on them.


Palestinian youths from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh during a hearing at Ofer military court on 21 December. Oren Ziv ActiveStills


The 17 young men from Nabi Saleh may have been marooned in military prisons — where their families cannot visit them or even send them warm winter clothes — because someone from the village has been intimidated into saying who they saw throwing stones.

Two young men detained on 9 December have now been released, but Nabi Saleh families fear there will be more arrests. Israel appears bent on doing everything it can to impose collective punishment on a village that serves as the symbol of resistance to a nearly half-century-long military occupation.

As the youth await trials and anticipate years in prison, US activists have set up a Facebook page to press for their release. Bassem Tamimi, meanwhile, wonders why the international community has not taken a determined stand against Israel’s relentless repression.

“The silence of the world is worse than what the occupier is doing,” he said. “We can’t understand this silence, because our struggle is for humanity and the world is supposed to care about human rights.”

Nancy Murray, who for 25 years was director of education at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, has worked for Palestinian rights since her first trip to the region in 1988.

Israeli Occupation Forces storm Nabi Saleh; kidnap 6 Palestinian youth

by Nabi Saleh Solidarity: 19 October 2015

Israeli Occupation Forces stormed Nabi Saleh on 19 October, kidnapping six youth from the village. Amongst those kidnapped by the Waed Tamimi, the teenage son of Bassem and Nariman Tamimi and also Anan Tamimi who is the teenage son of  Naji and Boshra Tamimi. The other four youth arrested are: Mostaf Tamimi; Osaid Tamimi; Loay Tamimi and Omar Tamimi.

 Anan Tamimi


 Waed Tamimi (on right)

Israeli Occupation Forces broken down a number of doors during their raids on the families houses. Photos by Manal Tamimi


– All photos by Naji and Boshra Tamimi

Naji Tamimi as he takes photos of the destruction in his house.

 Anan’s room


Israeli Occupation Forces storm Nabi Saleh, firing live ammunition – 6 October 2015

Photos and text by Haim Schwarczenberg: 6 October 2015

FireShot Screen Capture #101 - 'Firing live ammunition on Palestinian demonstrators - Haim Schwarczenberg' - schwarczenberg_com_firing-live-ammunition-on-palestinian-
Firing live ammunition on Palestinian demonstrators: Residents of Nabi Saleh took to the street Sunday night to protest recent escalation of Israeli violence against Palestinians. In the past three days, four Palestinian teens have been shot dead by the Israeli army and police forces, as hundreds more injured in clashes. This comes at the heels of months of progressive escalation of the violence Israel has deployed against Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Immediately after the Nabi Saleh marchers approached the nearby IDF outpost at the entrance to the village, soldiers began to shoot live ammunition at protesters. The soldiers had no other less lethal crowd control means such as tear gas or rubber bullets. This escalating violence and the mere numbers of casualties may be an indication of a dramatic shift in official policies that sanction the use of live ammunition against Palestinians. As a punitive measure, the IDF put Nabi Saleh on lockdown from around 10p last night until morning, also telling outside photojournalists they may not leave.

Illegal Israeli Colonists take over main road near Nabi Saleh – 2 October 2015

Photos by Tamimi Press/Report by International Solidarity Movement: 2 October 2015

2 October 2015 – video by David Reeb

Report by International Solidarity Movement: On Friday, October 2nd, the village of Nabi Saleh held their weekly Friday demonstration protesting the illegal expropriation of their village land by the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish.
The last demonstration marched towards the village’s spring al-Qaws, which was expropriated by the settlement 2009. Israeli forces supported and protected this illegal theft of the village’s water source. Since then Palestinian villagers are not allowed to use or access their spring anymore.

Even though the Israeli supreme court in 2013 ruled to halt any further work on the well by Israeli settlers, Palestinians are still forcibly prevented from using it.
Last Friday, settlers marched to the well accompanied by Israeli forces, showing off their power. The Palestinian owners of the well were forced to watch this march from the other side of the hill, illustrating the sheer injustice that is Palestinian’s every day life.



ISM Report: Double standards, one rule for all – except Palestinians

27th September 2015 | International Solidarity Movement, Al-Khalil team | Nabi Saleh, occupied Palestine

On the 28th of August, Mahmoud Tamimi was arrested in Nabi Saleh during the weekly non violent demonstration. Every Friday, just after the prayer, the residents demonstrate against the expansion of the illegal settlement of Halamish which has continuously confiscated Palestinian land as well as the only water source of the village: ‘Ain al-Qaws.

During the Friday march towards the expropriated lands the residents were stopped by Israeli forces using excessive brutality, shooting tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets, live ammunition and sound grenades against civilians. Additionally, demonstrators are often arrested and beaten up.

On the 28th of August, in the course of the demonstration I, as a foreigner, was arrested by Israeli forces together with the 19-year old Palestinian Mahmoud Tamimi.

Both of us have been brutally beaten by the soldiers with punches, kicks and the butts of their guns. Both of us were arrested and secluded for 6 hours, kept blindfolded and handcuffed in a small room in a military base.

Afterwards, we were taken to the police station based in the illegal settlement of Ben Yamin and, at that point, our paths were divided: he was brought to the military prison of Ofer and I was brought to “Ramle” near Tel Aviv.

Within a few days, my predicament was positively solved: I was acquitted from the charges of throwing stones and other objects, and returned to be a free citizen. Regarding Mahmoud, although the charges were exactly the same, because he’s Palestinian, the situation is completely different: in fact Mahmoud is still under arrest in Ofer military prison and is waiting to attend his first hearing, to be held on the 28th of October, that is 60 days after his arrest. In my case, the first hearing took place the day after my arrest.

Israeli soldier arresting Mahmoud

Mahmoud is now under threat of a penalty of a minimum of 7 months which, under the practice of military law and consequently administrative detention used on the Palestinians of the West Bank, this sentence can be arbitrarily renewed for additional 6 month periods of imprisonment.

The absolute asymmetry of treatment endured by me and Mahmoud is a blatant demonstration of the discriminatory laws applied by Israel for over 40 years towards the Palestinians. According to the International law, the application of military laws in occupied territories is completely illegitimate.

Israeli soldiers arresting Mahmoud in Nabi Saleh

Mahmoud will be accused by military personnel covering the role of persecutors and will be judged by some other military personnel covering also the role of judges. He doesn’t have the right to be tried in front of a civilian court, although Mahmoud is a civilian – and not a soldier. All of this because he’s a Palestinian.

Even if the evidence does not indicate his guilt, just the fact that he’s in a military court with both the prosecutor and the judge from the military, will most likely result in a guilty verdict. The procedures in military court are not about establishing the truth, the possibility of establishing a defense is extremely slim, justice simply isn’t done in a military court. It’s about punishment, punishment to weaken the Palestinian resistance to an illegal occupation, even if this resistance is non-violent.

Mahmoud in court

Within this system, it must be said, settlers from illegal settlements in the West Bank are judged in front of civilian courts, not military courts – just because they have a different status: they are not Palestinians.

In my case, hard evidence would be required to bring charges against me, for Mahmoud in contrast, as a Palestinian, no evidence is required at all. All the trial is only based on the statement of 18-year old soldiers.

Of course, when an international is unjustly beaten and arrested the media reacts with utter disapproval attracting the medias’ attention and causing the civil society’s indignation. When it’s a Palestinian receiving the exact same treatment, however, the reaction is quite different. Mahmoud‘s case seems to be totally forgotten. Currently he is still rotting in a prison cell in Ofer military prison, while being entirely ignored by the media and the international community.

Mahmoud Tamimi is only 19 years old, he has 2 brothers and a sister. His uncle is Rushdie Tamimi, one of Nabi Saleh’s martyrs killed by the Israeli forces 3 years ago on the 19th of November. He died following an intense shooting during which he was inured in the thigh and the stomach. Rushdie is already the second martyr in a village which counts only 500 inhabitants. Considering the dimension of the village, they are indeed suffering from significant losses. However, we must keep in mind that in the Occupied Palestinian Territories the violence and the killings are daily and are perceived by the so called civilized world as casualties of a 60 year old conflict.

Mahmoud at al-Aqsa mosque

Let’s take a stand and spread Mahmoud’s story, let’s not forget him. We should show the world that the treatment a Palestinian youth receives – and thus the live of a Palestinian – is not less worth reporting about in the media and has to receive as much attention and result in an outcry as that of an Italian citizen. Let this not be about the rare case of an international being maltreated by Israeli forces, but about the every-day harassment, violence, illegal detentions and arrests of Palestinians.

USA SPEAKING TOUR: Bassem Tamimi in New York – ‘We are with humanity; we are against occupation’

We are with humanity; we are against occupation’: Bassem Tamimi on life and resistance in West Bank village Nabi Saleh

MONDOWEISS: on September 18, 2015

“As-salamu alaykum,” Bassem Tamimi began. “Peace be upon you.”

Around 100 New Yorkers squeezed into a The New School lecture room on the evening of September 15. They were there to listen to the veteran Palestinian activist speak about life under occupation, and the nonviolent resistance he helps lead against that occupation.

Tamimi overtured his talk with videos of the weekly protests in his village Nabi Saleh, including the viral video depicting an Israeli soldier trying to arrest a young child whose arm is in a sling, while Palestinian women wrestle the boy free.

He explained that it was his family in those videos. “My suffering and my family’s suffering is an example of the Palestinian suffering and the occupation,” Tamimi said.

Tamimi told the rapt audience in detail what life is like behind that camera, what Palestinians withstand under occupation.

Israeli forces killed Tamimi’s brother-in-law in front of both him and his wife. He showed the audience a chilling video of 28-year-old Rushdi Tamimi as he lay dying.

As a leader of the nonviolent Palestinian resistance movement, Bassem Tamimi is frequently targeted by Israeli occupation forces. He has been arrested nine times, often in administrative detentions, in which the Israeli government imprisons him without charge or trial.

A recent arrest garnered international attention. Tamimi told of a Palestinian child at a protest who was arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers, who accused him of throwing stones. Up for over a day without sleep, the boy was subjected to 12 hours of interrogation. When the soldiers asked the child who organized the demonstration, he named Bassem. As a result, Tamimi was charged with encouraging children to throw rocks and was imprisoned for 14 months, put on house arrest, and hit with a large fine.

The European Union delegation to the United Nations said it was “very concerned” about the conviction. “The EU considers Bassem Tamimi to be a ‘human rights defender’ committed to non-violent protest against the expansion of an Israeli settlement on lands belonging to his West Bank village of Nabi Saleh,” it asserted. Amnesty International stood behind Tamimi, whom it described as a “prisoner of conscience.”

In the many months he has languished in prison, Tamimi has endured torture. Recalling one of his arrests, Tamimi described being isolated in a small cell, where he was tortured for over a month. The torment ended in a 10-day coma, and he recalled being paralyzed for a period of time after waking up.

His family members, many of whom are also leaders in the struggle, have made similar sacrifices. Nariman Tamimi, Bassem’s wife, has herself been arrested five times. Israeli soldiers have shot her twice. She has been unable to walk without crutches since being shot in the leg in November.

Tamimi’s oldest son was arrested at 14. Another of his children was shot in the hand.

The Tamimi family wrestle with an Israeli soldier in Nabi Saleh as he tries to arrest the young son whose arm is in a sling, in a photo that went viral. Bassem is standing in the green shirt. Photo: Reuters

“All of this is part of our suffering,” Bassem Tamimi insists. With each act of individual hardship, he connects it to a larger, collective Palestinian suffering.


Nabi Saleh is a small village in the central West Bank, near Ramallah, with just 600 residents. 60% of the community’s land is controlled by an Israeli settlement.

Inhabitants of the village live under Israeli military occupation. Israeli forces have closed off the village from all directions, Tamimi explained. In 2001, a settlement gate was constructed approximately 100 meters away from Tamimi’s house. Because of the obstruction, it now takes him hours to reach home.

Under the Oslo II Accord, the majority of land in the West Bank is designated Area C, and is under full control of the Israeli government. There “is a silent ethnic cleansing in Area C,” Tamimi remarked. Yet he insisted Israel’s “goal is not just ethnic cleansing in Area C; it’s also to destroy the shape of the Palestinian villages,” disturbing Palestinian “social relations.”

80% of Palestinians’ homes in Nabi Saleh are under demolition order, including Tamimi’s. “We don’t know if they will demolish our houses, but they keep us under the stress that one day or night they will come and destroy the houses,” he said.

Israel controls 90% of Palestinian water resources, distributing it through the state-owned water company Mekorot. In Nabi Saleh, Palestinians must permanently ration their water. They are limited to a certain amount every week, which they store in tanks on the roofs of their homes.

Israelis, however, shoot the tanks with live ammunition, Tamimi explained, putting holes in the containers so they are unable to store water. Occupation forces also spray skunk water on the tanks, which contaminates the water, making them useless.

Skunk water is a non-lethal chemical weapon the Israeli military uses against Palestinians. It leaves an intense mephitic stench on whatever it hits. BBC described the smell as “the worst, most foul thing you have ever smelled. An overpowering mix of rotting meat, old socks that haven’t been washed for weeks—topped off with the pungent waft of an open sewer.” Reuters wrote “Imagine taking a chunk of rotting corpse from a stagnant sewer, placing it in a blender and spraying the filthy liquid in your face. Your gag reflex goes off the charts and you can’t escape, because the nauseating stench persists for days.”

“They use it every Friday, and they come and spray it in the houses,” Tamimi said. While shooting the weapon inside of Palestinians’ homes, Israeli occupation forces sometimes break windows, he described. Palestinians’ furniture is also frequently ruined in the attacks. “A lot of people burn their furniture,” Tamimi added.

Nariman, Bassem’s wife, was hit with skunk water sprayed by Israeli soldiers. “It remained in her hair for two or three weeks” recalled Tamimi.


More than 300 people have been injured in Nabi Saleh, 40% of whom are children, according to Tamimi. Around 50 have permanent disabilities. Tamimi told of a man in the village who was shot in the face with a tear gas canister, and now has brain damage.

Occupation forces have recently begun using live 20mm bullets, Tamimi said, with which they shoot protesting Palestinians, including children, in the leg, in order to paralyze them. 70% of those who have been shot in their leg have had their foot paralyzed. Three women have been shot in the leg, including Tamimi’s wife, who now must walk on crutches.

Palestinian property is also a common target. Tamimi said Israelis have tried to burn his house down twice, while he and his family were in it, but they woke up at night and stopped it.

More than 400 olive trees have additionally been broken, uprooted, or burned in Nabi Saleh. “We are an agricultural society,” Tamimi stated. “Olive trees are like our mothers… When they cut and burn the olive trees, for that we feel they kill a member of our family.”

In the 46 years from the beginning of Israel’s illegal military occupation in 1967 to October 2013, Israeli authorities uprooted 800,000 Palestinian olive trees, the equivalent of 33 of New York City’s Central Park. This results in an annual loss of $12.3 million in income to 80,000 Palestinian families.

Photo: Visualizing Palestine

Tamimi says Israeli soldiers also target women. “They know the woman participant is a problem,” he explained. So “they shoot them, they arrest them, and they remove their head covers.”

Women play a crucial role in the Palestinian struggle. “We believe real resistance means women must participate,” stated Tamimi. He stressed the importance of feminism in the larger liberation struggle. “We believe the role of the women is more important than the men, because if we want to grow the generation… who will liberate Palestine, we must have free women,” he added.

Nonviolent Struggle

In spite of the violent repression Palestinians endure under the illegal Israeli occupation, Tamimi spoke strongly of “nonviolent struggle,” which he argued is the best, most effective way to resist.

The September 11 attacks “destroyed our image,” Tamimi lamented. “To rebuild the image we must do something; we can’t just talk.” He said in Nabi Saleh and in other villages they study Martin Luther King, Jr., the South African struggle, and other nonviolent liberation movements.

“We want to create a Palestinian model of nonviolent resistance,” Tamimi explained. He sees the First Intifada of the late 1980s as the basis for his model. “Yes, we have right to resist by any means in international law,” Tamimi acknowledged, but he argued that armed resistance will not work against a state that has scores of nuclear weapons, receives over $3 billion in military aid from the US every year, and is backed by NATO.

He spoke critically of not just Israeli occupation, but of British occupation as well. Palestinians have been practicing resistance “since the British occupation, or the Turkish before,” Tamimi declared. “We are against occupation as an idea… because occupation is [against] humanity.”

Today, in occupied Palestine, “our problem is ‘the colonial project’ of Zionism,” he specified. “Our weapon is the camera.”

The Tamimi family have a YouTube channel to which they upload videos of their regular protests. The viral video of the injured young boy pinned down by an Israeli soldier is just one of hundreds.

Asked about what happened to his family in the wake of the video going viral, Tamimi noted they have received numerous death threats. Moreover, Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev asserted that the Israeli soldier should have shot the unarmed Palestinian protesters.

The soldier in the video was banned from Nabi Saleh for a week. Tamimi joked that the man will likely spend his time off on the beach. Meanwhile, Tamimi says soldiers have cracked down even harder, and have arrested six peaceful protesters in the village since the video was released.

Tamimi is not perturbed. “Resistance is not an act; it’s a culture,” he maintained. “We want to make a culture of resistance in our society.”

Economic Interests

Tamimi pointed out that the Israeli occupation is not just based on physical and military oppression; it is also rooted in economic imperialism.

Israel extracts large amounts of money from Palestinians through its exorbitant and frequent fines, he explained. Israeli occupation forces regularly charge Palestinians on trumped-up charges, and, if you don’t pay the fines, Tamimi said, for each 5,000 shekels (roughly $1,300 USD) you will be imprisoned for a month.

An activist in the audience asked whether Palestinians ever refuse to pay the fines, like anti-war tax resisters in the US. “In the First Intifada we refused, because all of the society was,” Tamimi recalled. But it is no longer easy to do so today, when it is not a collective act. “It’s a very hard decision for us, to pay or not to pay,” he revealed.

Tamimi was deeply suspicious of the notion that Israel and its legal institutions are impartial and democratic. Having for decades been subjugated by its various institutions, he knows how they operate. “The court for me is part of the occupation,” Tamimi explained. “It’s just make up for the occupation face.”

In Tamimi’s view, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is part and parcel of this larger system of economic imperialism as well. Palestinians pay taxes to the PA, he expounded, “and most of the goods we buy come through the Israeli economy.” In other words, the PA helps ensure Israel will always have a captive market for its goods. And “the added value tax goes to the Israeli” government,” he said.

The PA are the “shoulder” of the occupation, Tamimi insisted, along with the international community, which, by providing aid to Palestinians living under occupation, help remove the burden for Israel. “Part of our challenge is the Authority,” he said. “Sometimes people can’t distinguish between the two systems.”

Palestinians in the West Bank protest against the PA for its collaboration with Israeli occupation forces.

Israel’s supporters often mention that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) is notoriously corrupt, and they do have a point. Rumors have long circulated that Abbas and his family have siphoned millions of dollars from their impoverished and occupied people. Palestinian scholar Edward Said strongly criticized Abbas, whom he characterized as “a ventriloquist’s puppet.” Tamimi’s and Said’s observations are corroborated by classified cables released by WikiLeaks, which show that Israel intentionally simultaneously exploits the PA and Abbas while blaming them for the problems it itself creates.

Overall, “capitalism is the problem,” Tamimi stressed several times. He spoke of Israel as not some uniquely violent state, but rather as a part of a larger US-dominated capitalist and imperialist system. The US “military industry needs Israel for its interest,” Tamimi maintained.

He reminded the audience less than 2% of the world’s richest people own over half of global wealth, and connected the struggle in his country to the global struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

“They don’t guard Israel because it’s Israel,” Tamimi emphasized, referring to the US. Israel is “a guard for the markets and the resources. A guard for the military industry.”

“They’re a big military base for America,” Tamimi added.

One-State Solution

Tamimi also excoriated the formal so-called peace process. “We believe the negotiations will not” lead to peace, he said. Tamimi pointed out that, since the Oslo Accords, Palestinians have lost more and more land, while the settlements have grown five times over.

The PA opposes the nonviolent civil disobedience movement led by Tamimi et al., because it seeks to negotiate with Israel. The PA’s negotiations simply serve “to cheat everyone,” Tamimi insisted, and all they have done is “destroy the two-state solution.”

In his view, Israel, the PA, and the so-called peace process “destroyed the two-state solution. There is no possibility for the two-state solution,” Tamimi maintained.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was elected in March in Israel for a fourth term. His reelection was predicated on his explicit promise that there would never be an independent Palestinian state. “Netanyahu by his policy gives us a gift, because he shows the real face of Israel,” Tamimi stated. “They don’t want peace; they want everything.”

A cartoon critical of the two-state solution, by artist Carlos Latuff

“If we really want a humanitarian solution, it must be the one state solution, same rights for everyone,” Tamimi proposed. He looked to “the South African model” as a resolution for the conflict in Israel-Palestine, stating “we need to live in a state with one person, one vote, with the same rights.”

And a one-state solution is not enough if it does not include the Right of Return, he insisted. “The right for refugees to return is the main issue in the Palestinian struggle.”

He is not optimistic, nevertheless. “Israeli society goes to the right, not the left; this is a problem,” remarked Tamimi, referring to the growing far-right and ultra-nationalist tendencies of Israeli politics. Because of this rightward lurch, he said “we are afraid that they maybe make another Nakba for the Palestinians.” For this reason, he looks to international pressure, solidarity, and action.


In order to achieve this justice, Tamimi stressed that the world is not going to be able to count on elites. “It will not come through a conference or a workshop,” he said, in stead emphasizing that it must be done by the masses, through activism.

“We have the highest percent of education in Palestine” Tamimi said proudly. A schoolteacher, he stressed the importance of education, and took pride in the fact that the Palestinians, in spite of the grueling oppression under which they live, are some of the most educated people in the world.

Yet he stressed that education is not enough, nor is emotion. Palestinians have succeeded in inspiring others to feel emotion about their suffering, Tamimi said, “but your emotion is not enough. We have enough tears from the tear gas.”

“We need your emotion to be opinion and your opinion to be action,” Tamimi stated. “You can do a lot,” he told the audience. “And it is your duty and your responsibility.”

“The BDS movement is a very important tool in your hands,” Tamimi told the audience. He said international pressure is needed—economic pressure through BDS, political pressure through activism, and legal pressure through international institutions.

Tamimi called for international and interfaith solidarity, emphasizing that this “is not a religious conflict.” “As our land is occupied, the Jewish religion is occupied by the Zionists,” he stated, because Jews around the world are forced defend their religion while Israel commits crimes in its name.

“We live together,” as Muslims, Christians, and Jews. “If tomorrow Netanyahu became a Muslim and declared an Islamic state I would continue fighting,” Tamimi said to laughs from the audience.

Speaking of the struggles against racism in the US and the fight against apartheid in South Africa, Tamimi insisted “It’s the same struggle.” “We follow the Black struggle” in Palestine, he said. He pointed out that, during civil rights protests in Ferguson, Palestinians gave advice to Black Americans on how to deal with police tear gas.

During the civil rights protests in Ferguson, many Palestinians expressed solidarity with Black Americans Photo: Palestinian photojournalist Hamde Abu Rahma

“The colonial project is a problem for humanity.” Anyone who believes that is an ally, he said.

Tamimi admitted it was at first hard to welcome Israelis into his home, because he had not known any anti-Zionist Israelis. But when he met leftist Israelis who opposed the occupation, Tamimi said he welcomed them like family. “When I see them remove the occupation from their mentality” and defy Zionism, “they win their humanity; they became my partner, our cousin,” Tamimi said.

After Tamimi’s speech, a friend of the veteran Palestinian activist stood up and spoke. He explained that when he and other solidarity activists first met Bassem Tamimi, “we were amazed that this man did not have hatred, that he was not motivated by hatred, that he was motivated by love, and freedom, and justice.” We saw that “he was a true revolutionary, like what Che Guevara described,” the man added, one who “is guided by a great feeling of love.”

“We are with humanity,” Tamimi said. “We are against the oppression of anybody. We are against occupation.”