French Minister of Foreign Affairs Voices Concern Over Persecution of West Bank Protest Organizer

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 4 December 2011

In a letter to the French-Palestine Solidarity Association, French Foreign Minister Juppé slams Israel’s treatment of West Bank protest organizer, and its settlement policy.

Alain Juppé, the French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, expressed his deep concern over the indictment and incarceration of Bassem Tamimi, a protest organizer from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Tamimi has been incarcerated by Israel for the past nine months, and is standing trial for charges related to organizing demonstrations in his village. The case against him is based on forced confessions by two minors, who were interrogated unlawfully.

In an official letter dated November 25th, to the president of the French-Palestine Solidarity Association, Mr. Juppé wrote, “Tamimi’s situation is just as much of a concern to me as it is to you. The European Union has taken this case and considers Mr. Tamimi a human rights defender and a non-violent demonstrator.” He added that, ” An official demarche has recently been delivered on his behalf to the Israeli authorities by the chief representative of the European Union delegation in Tel Aviv.  The aforementioned intervention also denoted  the European support for the right to demonstrate non-violently in the Palestinian territories.”

One of the five charges against Tamimi, all based on military law, “Amounts to a denial of the right to demonstrate of all Palestinians under military occupation,” Juppé also noted. “Colonization is contrary to international law and is an impediment to peace”, Juppé remarked regarding Israel’s settlement project in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, against which Tamimi was organizing demonstrations against in his village.

Tamimi’s trial is scheduled to continue at 10 AM this Wednesday, December 7th,  at the Ofer Military Court.

Please see an English translation of the letter below and here for the original letter in French.

MINISTRY
OF FOREIGN  AND
EUROPEAN AFFAIRS
REPUBLIC OF FRANCE

Paris, November 25th, 2011 – 010286CM

The Minister of State

Mister President [of AFPS],

You have brought to my attention the case of Mr. Bassem Tamimi, coordinator of the popular committee of Nabi Saleh, for which I thank you.

Mr. Tamimi who was arrested on March 24th has been charged of five offenses. Three of these charges are based on a military edict which amounts to a denial of the right to demonstrate of all Palestinians under military occupation, a right which is nevertheless universally recognized.

Tamimi’s situation is just as much of a concern to me as it is to you.  The European Union has taken this case and considers Mr. Tamimi a human rights defender and a non-violent demonstrator. An official demarche has recently been delivered on his behalf to the Israeli authorities by the chief representative of the European Union delegation in Tel Aviv.  The aforementioned intervention also denoted  the European support for the right to demonstrate non-violently in the Palestinian territories.

Regarding the issue of colonization, that Mr. Tamimi denounces, I remind you the firm position that France has taken in condemning this type enterprise, which we have recently qualified as “provocation”. Colonization is contrary to international law and is an impediment to peace.

I thank you, Mr. President, and you have my deepest consideration.

Alain JUPPÉ

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Two Journalists Arrested During Nabi Saleh Demonstration

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 2 December 2011

Army besieged village and arrested two Palestinian journalists during the weekly demonstration against land theft in Nabi Saleh.


Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills


Dozens participated in this week’s demonstration in Nabi Saleh against the theft of its lands and spring by the Halamish Israeli settlement and the Israeli occupation. Nabi Saleh residents, joined by supporters from around Palestine and Israeli and International activists, marched peacefully from the center of the village towards the hilltop overlooking Nabi Saleh’s spring. The villages’ spring has been taken over, affectively confiscated, by the neighboring settlement of Halamish.

Several settlers who were at the time at the spring ran back to the settlement as they viewed the march proceeding, but it was not long before the army blocked the march by using large amounts of tear-gas projectiles. Soon after this, the army forces raided the village, besieging the protesters by taking over private houses rooftops, and shooting tear-gas canisters directly at people, against the army’s own regulations. Some protesters then managed to evade the army and create provisory barricades, aiming to impede military jeeps transportation in the village.

Clashes between soldiers and stone throwers erupted, and after a while, the army managed to take control of the main junction. By then it rushed outside the village. Protesters then burned tires and placed rocks on the main road to prevent the army from raiding the village again.


Picture credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills

During the raid two Palestinian journalists were arrested by the Israeli army: Majd Mohammed from the Associated Press (AP) and Mohammed Razi from Palestinian Television. Clashes then erupted beyond the burning tires line. Soldiers advanced by foot and shoot volleys of tear gas canisters by a cannon installed on a jeep. At this phase Israeli forces also extensively used the “scream” machine, which produces a deafening alarm sound.