“I am Nabi Salih” — photo exhibition shows there is more to village than weekly protests

By Silvia Boarini : Palestine Monitor:  September 13, 2011

 
The brainchild of Alison Ramer, the photo project “I am Nabi Salih” aims to show the human faces behind the iconic village, famous for it’s popular resistance movement.

Looking at the images covering the walls at the Academy of Arts in Ramallah, one might not realize that these photos were all taken by young adults, between the ages of 14 and 17.

The young artists, all from the now-iconic village of Nabi Salih, were handed digital cameras and under the guidance of internationally renowned Palestinian photographer and video maker Issa Freij, sought to document a different aspect of their daily surroundings.

 
“There are many aspects of Nabi Salih that I can show,” says Rawan Jalal Tamimi.

“I am Nabi Salih” manages to portray a side of the village that remains unknown even to the tireless Friday activist. More importantly, Ramer stresses, “it was a chance to do something other than just bringing more journalists or more NGOs to the village.”

Ramer’s relationship with Nabi Salih goes back a long way. She first arrived in Israel from the USA in 2006 as part of the Zionist Youth movement, but quickly decided she needed to explore both sides of the divide. She wanted to try and understand Palestine.

Her first port of call was Nabi Salih.

“The village has played a big part in educating me about the occupation,” she says.

Community leader Bassam Tamimi, currently imprisoned for participating in the Friday demonstrations, once told Ramer, “you came to remove the occupation from your mind.” And Ramer agrees. She says that is exactly what coming to Nabi Salih has done.

 
 
“The power is understanding how to take a photo that will attract people’s attention,” Issa Freij says.
 
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B’Tselem Report – Show of Force: Israeli Military Conduct in Weekly Demonstrations in a-Nabi Saleh

By B’Tselem: September 2011

To read full report click here

 

A-Nabi Saleh is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, north of Ramallah. For for more than eighteen months now, every Friday, its residents have demonstrated against settlers seizing nearby land that belongs to Palestinians. The Friday processions held in the village have become one of the main sites of weekly protest in the West Bank in recent years.

In their handling of the protests in a-Nabi Saleh, Israel’s security forces have infringed the rights of the Palestinian demonstrators in three fundamental ways, as follows:

Security forces disperse a demonstration in a-Nabi Saleh, 21 May 2010. Photo: Oren Ziv, activestills.org
Security forces disperse a demonstration in a-Nabi Saleh, 21 May 2010. Photo: Oren Ziv, activestills.org

Violation of the right to demonstrate

B’Tselem’s documentation indicates that Israel does not recognize the right of a-Nabi Saleh’s residents to demonstrate. Israeli security forces prohibit the demonstrators from reaching the site that is the subject of the demonstration – al-Qawas Spring and the land around it – and prevent the procession from exiting the village towards the spring. Also, the army declares the demonstration illegal at the outset, sometimes even before the procession begins. The army also issues an order declaring the entire village a closed military area every Friday, and blocks the roads leading to it. As a result, persons from outside the village are unable to exercise their right to join in the demonstration.

Video by B’Tselem
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Excessive use of means for dispersing demonstrations

The security forces’ use of means to disperse the demonstrations is excessive and occurs even when the demonstrators are nonviolent and pose no threat. The forces fire enormous quantities of tear gas inside the built-up area of the village, which is home to hundreds of persons. In one demonstration, at least 150 tear-gas canisters were fired. In another demonstration, security forces hurled tear gas canisters at a procession of children in costumes who were flying kites. At times, the tear gas canisters are fired directly at the demonstrators, endangering their lives. Also, security forces throw stun grenades almost without limitation at children and adults alike, to disperse them, even when they pose no threat whatsoever.

Video by B’Tselem

Harm to the civilian population

The army and the Border Police invest a great amount of resources in dispersing these regular demonstrations, in which several dozen people participate. These resources include the deployment of forces at the main intersection of the village, and the vast quantities of means to disperse demonstrations. Handling of the demonstrations in this manner is disproportionate. It intimidates hundreds of villagers and forces them to remain in their houses for many hours, making it impossible for them to lead a normal life. The massive amounts of tear gas fired penetrate the houses close to the main intersection in the village, and the occupants are unable to escape.

Also, the restrictions on movement in the area every Friday create difficulties for residents of all the nearby villages.

In advance of the expected declaration of a Palestinian state on 20 September 2011, Israel’s defense establishment is preparing to cope with wide-scale demonstrations in the West Bank. As part of the preparations, the security forces must recognize Palestinians’ right to demonstrate, and must allow them to protest against infringement of their rights. The decision to disperse a demonstration must be made only after the relevant authorities have properly balanced the right to demonstrate against other relevant interests, as is done in the case of demonstrations held inside Israel. In any event, means for dispersing demonstrations must not be used in a way that injures persons or punishes all residents of the village.

Maan News: Nabi Saleh rally holds mock funeral for Oslo Accords

by Maan News:  Friday 09/09/2011 

 
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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah held a mock funeral for the Oslo Accords as part of its weekly demonstration on Friday, a Ma’an correspondent said.

Demonstrations began after Friday prayers as protesters chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation and a likely US veto of the UN bid.

Participants waved flags with the logo of “The state of Palestine 194” as they marched through the village carrying a black coffin with the words “Oslo Accords” written on it.

The protesters were met by Israeli forces who fired tear gas and sound grenades at the rally.

The activities were organized as part of the upcoming anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords on Sept. 13 1993, a statement from the popular resistance movement said.

Israel has killed the accords, it added, saying that they were now just “ink on paper.”

The movement called on the international community to support the Palestinian people and back the UN bid for statehood.

Under the 1995 Oslo 2 agreement, following on from the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators outlined a plan for Palestinian autonomy allowing the Palestinian Authority administrative and security control of around 17.2 percent of the West Bank, Area A.

The rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip remained under Israeli military occupation.

The interim deal was intended to lead to a final status agreement by 1999, but a permanent solution was never reached and frequent incursions by the Israeli army into Area A have undermined the agreement.

Nabi Saleh protestors announce the death of the Oslo Accords

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 9 Sept 2011

Soldiers tried to disperse the demonstration and prevent protesters from reaching their lands using tear-gas. A 14 year-old was detained and three were lightly injured.

Protesters in Nabi Saleh carried a mock coffin today, to symbolize the long due burial of the Oslo Accords. As the march headed in the direction of the village’s spring, a symbolic funeral was held on the hill overlooking the settlement.

As protesters tried to march down to the contested spring, which settlers are actively trying to take over, soldiers began shooting tear-gas to stop their advance. As the army moved closer and closer towards the village’s built up area, clashes ensued.

Escaping the noxious clouds of tear-gas that spread all over the hill, demonstrators regrouped at the center of the village, and started walking down the main road towards the military tower at the entrance to the village. When a group of youth flew a Palestinian flag from atop the military gate at the entrance to the village, large forces of Border Police staged an incursion into the village, once more shooting large amounts of tear-gas and forcing the demonstrators to retreat.

At around 5:30 PM, as clashes have already moved back to the hill west of the village, a 14 year-old boy was detained at the entrance to his house. He was rushed inside an armored military vehicle and kept inside it for hours. In the hours to follow, the same vehicle, as well as a few others, drove in and out of the village provocatively, with no obvious goal. Barricades were built on the main road where people stayed even past nightfall.

At 10:30 PM, the 14 year-old was released without even being questioned. He reports having been beaten up by the Border Police officers who detained him and inside the jeep.

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