Main Witness to Testify Tomorrow in Trial of West Bank Protest Organizer, Bassem Tamimi

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee : 23 October 2011

Islam Dar Ayyoub, the 14 year-old who incriminated Tamimi after being unlawfully interrogated, will take the stand tomorrow at the Ofer Military Court. Tamimi has been incarcerated for seven months, in which only one witness testified.

When: Monday, October 24th, 2011 at 9:30 PM
Where: Ofer Military Court*
* Entry to the military court must be coordinated with the Israeli army’s spokesperson’s office in advance.
Media contact: Jonathan Pollak +972-54-632-7736

The Military Prosecution will resume making its case against West Bank protest organizer from Nabi Saleh, Bassem Tamimi, at the Ofer Military Court tomorrow morning. Fourteen year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub – one of two main witnesses against Tamimi – is scheduled to give evidence to the court tomorrow, despite a motion by the defense to delay it. The defense has requested the postponement, as procedures by the boy’s own defense team to rule his testimony inadmissible, have not yet concluded.

Islam Dar Ayyoub, also from Nabi Saleh, was taken from his bed at gunpoint on the night of January 23rd. In his interrogation the morning after his arrest, Islam alleged that Bassem and Naji Tamimi organized groups of youth into “brigades”, charged with different responsibilities during the demonstrations: some were allegedly in charge of stone-throwing, others of blocking roads, etc.

During a trial-within-a-trial procedure in Islam’s trial, motioning for his testimony to be ruled inadmissible, it was proven that his police interrogation was fundamentally flawed and violated the rights set forth in the Israeli Youth Law in the following ways:

  1. Despite being a minor, he was questioned in the morning following his arrest, having been denied sleep.
  2. He was denied legal counsel, although his lawyer appeared at the police station requesting to see him.
  3. He was denied his right to have a parent present during his questioning.
  4. He was not informed of his right to remain silent, and was even told by his interrogators that he is “expected to tell the truth”.
  5. Only one of four interrogators present was a qualified youth interrogator.

The audio-visual recording of another central witness against Tamimi, 15 year-old Mo’atasem Tamimi, proves that he too was questioned in a similarly unlawful manner.

Tamimi has been behind lock and key for the past seven months, in which only one out of over twenty prosecution witnesses have testified before the court. On September 25th, Major Michelle Dahan, who was commander of the military forces in the area and in charge of suppressing Nabi Saleh demonstrations, admitted to having dispersed demonstrations that were entirely peaceful, and alleged that Tamimi ordered youth to throw stones based on the fact that he saw him on rooftops during demonstrations.

Bassem Tamimi is a veteran Palestinian grassroots activist from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah. He is married to Nariman Tamimi, with whom he fathers four children – Wa’ed (14), Ahed (10), Mohammed (8) and Salam (5).

As a veteran activist, Tamimi has been arrested by the Israeli army 11 times to date, though he was never convicted of any offense. Tamimi spent roughly three years in administrative detention, with no charges brought against him. Furthermore, his attorney and he were denied access to “secret evidence” brought against him.

Continue reading “Main Witness to Testify Tomorrow in Trial of West Bank Protest Organizer, Bassem Tamimi”

The Age in Australia on Nabi Saleh and the “Fight over West Bank settlements”

Ruth Pollard: The Age: October 7, 2011

Nehama Shor carries her husband's M-16 rifle after attending her first training session in the isolated Jewish settlement of Pnei Kedem on the West Bank, Sept. 22, 2011. As the Palestinians seek United Nations membership in New York, Jewish settlers worry that Palestinian militants will step up attacks, and some have assembled rapid response teams. (Rina Castelnuovo/The New York Times) (Newscom TagID: nytphotos391648) [Photo via Newscom]A Jewish settler carries her husband’s M-16 rifle after attending an arms training session. Tensions are rising on the West Bank between Palestinians and settlers. Photo: New York Times

IT IS a battle that is fought on Palestinian-owned land and in Arab villages all over the occupied West Bank. Young olive trees are ripped from the ground, older trees are burnt or hacked to pieces, mosques are set alight and villagers attacked.

Palestinians say there has been a recent surge in settler violence, and that the Israel Defence Forces are either ill-equipped or unwilling to put a stop to the hostilities.

Grainy video of the attacks is now regularly posted on YouTube — either to condemn or praise the acts of violence.

Advertisement: Story continues below

In a recent fight between settlers and a Palestinian farmer and protesters near the settlement of Anatot, settlers are heard to chant “death to Arabs” and call female protesters “sluts”, saying: “All of these women f— Arabs.”

In this incident – on September 30 – a settler is seen attacking the crowd with a knife, protesters and villagers are punched to the ground, and throughout the ensuing mayhem, there appear to be barely any soldiers in the area to keep the peace.

When the soldiers do come, village leaders say, they either stand by and watch the attacks or provoke further violence rather than protecting people and property.

From the settlers’ point of view, it is often the peace activists who arrive without warning and provoke the violence.

David Ha’ivri, a prominent settler leader, said the recent violence in Anatot was a classic example of “a group of left-wing activists provoking a fight in a quiet civilian community, then using that fight to paint themselves as the victim”.

“This is an event that went for many hours, and yet they have edited the footage down to just a few minutes – they were not innocent bystanders, they went at their own expense to someone else’s home to start a fight,” Mr Ha’ivri said.

?The tiny West Bank town of al-Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, has become a weekly flashpoint for such clashes, as settlers from Halamish and its outposts try to seize the al-Qawas Spring and the land around it.

The spring lies on land that belongs to the nearby Palestinian village of Deir Nidham. In July 2008, settlers began to use the spring and in February 2009 they started to renovate the area. Palestinians filed complaints with the police about the work, which was undertaken without permit on privately-owned Palestinian land, and which caused damage to trees and other property, the human rights group B’Tselem said. All the complaints were closed on grounds of “offender unknown” or “lack of evidence”. The matter now rests with the High Court.

“Almost every week we smell tear gas,” said Bashir Tamimi, head of the village of 550 residents. “Settler violence is increasing — they are chopping down trees, damaging roads. After [Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud] Abbas went to the UN, it appeared that the Israeli government let the settlers loose, and allowed them to do whatever they wanted.”

In response to what many saw as an escalating situation, al-Nabi Saleh, with the help of the Palestinian Popular Committees, has equipped a group of its younger residents with video and stills cameras to document the violence and destruction.

The Age attended the weekly Friday protest at al-Nabi Saleh, where a few dozen villagers and protesters attempted to walk to the spring, only to be met with extraordinary force from the Israel Defence Forces.

First a large truck sprayed a foul-smelling liquid towards the protest – known as “skunk”, it can induce vomiting and sickness – and then the tear gas canisters began to rain down. Dozens and dozens of them, fired indiscriminately into the crowd and the assembled media, hitting demonstrators and dispersing tear gas throughout the village. One young man was carried unconscious to a waiting ambulance.

From the demonstrators’ side, some protesters hurled rocks at the soldiers. The battle went on for hours.

Continue reading “The Age in Australia on Nabi Saleh and the “Fight over West Bank settlements””