Mustafa Tamimi, Martyr in Nabi Saleh

 by Anne Paq: Activestills: 10 December 2011


(c) Anne Paq/, Nabi Saleh, 09.12.2012

I have no words now. Just heard about the tragic news about the death of Mustafa Tamimi; 28 year-old resident of Nabi Salih, killed in cold blood by an Israeli soldier who opened the door of the jeep, aimed and shot him in his face, just a few meters away from him. see the pic there just second before Mustafa was hit.

The repression carried out by the Israeli army against unarmed protesters was extremely violent yesterday. Unarmed protesters were attacked by tear gas canisters often shot directly at the level at the heads and by rubber-coated steel bullet. A 15 year old boy was shot like this in the foot and now his foot is broken, another one in the arm for the same result. Even after Mustafa was hit, and we all knew how critical it was after seeing all the blood on the street; the Israeli soldiers kept locking the village and some of them had the nerves to smile and joke, even in front of the family members of Mustafa. This is how cruel this occupation is.

This was such an intense day, I want to write more about it but right now I don’t have the strength.

The truth is that every week when I go to this protest I think that this is a miracle that no-one was seriously injured or killed. Yesterday there was no miracle and Mustafa. He died as the UN was passing by to “observe” and they did not even stop when we told them that somebody was seriously injured and that they should do something. I will always remembered Ola, Mustafa’s sister, who ran to the Israeli soldiers begging them to let her pass so that she can be with her brother (the Israelis stopped the car in which Mustafa was a few meters away after the military gate at the entrance of the village). They did not let her. Her screams are still in my ears.

(c) Anne Paq/, Nabi Saleh, 09.12.2012

To set the record straight- Mustafa was killed INSIDE his village, he was protesting against the occupation and colonization of HIS lands. He did not carry a weapon, just stones. Stones against a fully equipped army, a military armored jeep. He had the right to defend his village, even according to international law, and he did it with courage.

Somebody was killed in cold blood and the guilty person will never be judged in a court. The Israeli army will conduct a useless investigation to whitewash his soldiers. It will conclude that the soldiers were onl responding to “violent riot”. But this is the other way around. Violence is the essence of the occupation. Resistance, despite all the martyrs and suffering will continue. Mustafa will not be forgotten. The brave people of Nabi Saleh will bury their first martyr today or tomorrow but not their spirit of resistance.

I feel honored to know them and document their just struggle. But right now, what I feel is rage, outrage but also the strong conviction that one day, one way or another; justice will prevail.

Mustafa, your struggle is not a vain one and people will carry it further and further…until victory.

Eyewitness describes Mustafa Tamimi’s last moments

by Ben Lorber: Alternative Information Center (AIC): 12 December 2011

Ibrahim Bornat, artist and activist from Bil’in, was standing next to Mustafa Tamimi when Tamimi was shot in the head with a tear gas canister at close range by an Israeli soldier (Bornat can be seen standing directly next to Tamimi in these photos). Here is his testimony about his experiences when Mustafa was critically injured on Friday, December 9:

Mustafa Tamimi

 “Mustafa and I were alone, it was just the two of us, with the rest of the protesters quite far behind, and we were chasing the jeep and telling it to leave. We got separated from the rest, because the soldiers threw almost 50 tear gas canisters at once, so the whole protest was pushed back. The tear gas went over our heads and we got closer to the soldiers, shouting at them that they had thrown enough.

The jeeps turned around to leave as they were shooting gas behind us. One jeep, however, lingered and seemed to be waiting for us to get closer. As we reached the jeep, the soldier opened the door and shot two rounds of tear gas. I think I saw this soldier’s face, but Mustafa definitely saw and whoever he is, Mustafa knows best.

Mustafa pushed me down, and one canister that was aimed for me flew over my head. The second one hit Mustafa, but I didn’t know it hit him at first because I thought ‘for sure they wont shoot at us from so close.’ I thought he had just ducked down, and then I thought that maybe he had just passed out from the gas, because there was gas all around him.

I went to him, laying face down on the road, and I turned him over and pulled the cloth off his face.

Of what I can say about it, it is worse than words can say. The whole half of his face was blown off, and his eye was hanging out, and I tried to push his eye back up. I could see pieces of the inside of his head, and there was a pool of blood gathering under him. His whole body was trembling. It started from his feet, then up to his arms, then it reached his chest, and then his head, and then a gasp came out and I’m sure at that moment he died. He gasped, and let out a bunch of air, and I knew at that moment his soul had left. I have seen many people, not a few, die in front of me, and I know death. Maybe later on they revived his heart, but I knew that his soul had left.

 I ran back to get people, because we were far away, but there was no ambulance around, so the people around gathered him and put him in a servee [a communal taxi] and tried to leave. The soldiers stopped the servee and tried to arrest Mustafa, but when they saw that he was on the brink of death, they began to act as if they were humanitarian, to revive his heart. But what is ‘humanitarian’, to shoot someone to kill, and then to try to help him? These were the same soldiers from the jeep that shot him. They shot him, then say they want to help him. What they really did is prevent him from leaving.

The body lay on the ground for half an hour. They wanted Mustafa’s ID, and they also wanted the ID of his mother, of another family member, and of Bassem Tamimi’s wife, because these people wanted to go out with him too… They were doing some kind of medical treatment while he was lying on the ground, but this was no hospital, and what he needed was to be taken to a hospital. He should have been flown out in that moment. There is nothing you can do for him on the street there.

I was with the family the whole night afterwards, especially with his father, who is very sick and on kidney dialysis. Mustafa’s family believed there was still some hope, so I did not want to tell them that I knew he was already dead. His father is very sick, and kept falling asleep and waking up again, and we didn’t tell him much at first, only that Mustafa had been shot but that, God willing, he would be okay. There are some things that are hard and give you no hope, and then there are some things that are hard, but there is something nice about them. Martyrdom is something that is hard, but it is also honorable, and that gave his family a lot of comfort.

I knew Mustafa as a brother in the resistance. We were close in the resistance to the occupation. Anyone who comes out with me in our resistance to the occupation is close to me, as close as my mother, brother, or father, whether they be Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, or international. He was free, and a person who is free fights the occupation. That’s the thing I can most say about him- he was freedom.

We defend ourselves through strength, through courage, through our right to this land, through steadfastness. The occupation, to defend itself, has to kill people. But we defend ourselves with our right. This is my philosophy.”