video by David Reeb
video by Israel Puterman
video by David Reeb
video by Israel Puterman
video by Israel Puterman
40 days after the killing of protester Mustafa Tamimi in Nabi Saleh, the village holds a march of commemoration. The army in response continues to shoot tear-gas canisters directly at protesters, against its own open-fire regulations. A medic was injured by two canisters shot directly at him.
Six weeks after the killing of Mustafa Tamimi by a tear-gas canister shot directly at him from close range, the village devotes weekly protest to his commemoration. The village of Nabi Saleh has been protesting for the past two years against the appropriation of the village’s spring by the neighboring settlement of Halamish. This week, protesters decided to march towards the village hilltops, overlooking the spring. Already as they were climbing the first hilltop, the peaceful demonstrators were met by a volley of tear-gas canisters. However, as wind carried most of the tear-gas back towards the soldiers, protesters were able to continue marching towards the adjacent village of Dir Nidham, which lands have also been taken over by Halamish settlers.
At this stage Israeli soldiers managed to climb up the next hilltop, which put them in a position to shoot tear-gas canisters directly at protesters. This manner of targeted shooting is in complete breach of the army’s own open fire regulations and already caused the death and injury of several protesters, including Mustafa Tamimi. One medic was injured during this assault after two consecutive tear-gas canisters hit him in the thigh. He was evacuated by fellow medics, who rushed to help him and carried him back towards the village. Soon after this, other demonstrators also made their way back to the village, but even then the Israeli soldiers continued shooting large amounts of tear-gas at them. Tear gas was also shot in the village’s populated areas, including into houses, as the soldiers entered the village. Several youth threw stones at the army jeeps to ward off this incursion. The demonstration was maintained for a few hours, with the army occasionally using the “skunk”, a water cannon spraying foul-smelling liquid, rubber coated bullets and a appliance which launches dozens of tear-gas canisters simultaneously.
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces raided Nabi Saleh village in the central West Bank early Friday, detaining three Palestinians, officials and residents said.
Dozens of soldiers closed the entrance to the village, declaring it a closed military zone, and raided several houses using police dogs, witnesses told Ma’an.
The forces damaged a number of homes and harmed residents in the raids, locals told Ma’an.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said forces detained three Palestinians “involved in violent and illegal riots.”
Nabi Saleh, northwest of Ramallah, hosts weekly protests against land confiscation for an illegal settlement, and Israel has cracked down on its residents, carrying out night raids and arresting accused stone-throwers.
The villages’ popular resistance committee said the overnight raid shows Israel cannot face the peaceful popular protests in Nabi Saleh.
In early 2011, Israeli forces photographed all the children in Nabi Saleh during night raids on homes, an operation captured on film by a resident working for the Israeli peace organization B’Tselem. Many minors were later arrested in the village.
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 10 January 2012
Major Sharon Rivlin, a judge at the Ofer Military Court, accepted as admissible the testimony of a 14 year-old Palestinian boy who was unlawfully arrested in the dead of night, questioned without being allowed sleep, denied his right to legal counsel and not told of his right to remain silent.
A motion to rule inadmissible the confession of 14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh was denied by a military judge yesterday. The motion was part of a trial-within-a-trial procedure at the Ofer Military Court, where the boy is being charged with throwing stones. During the trial, it was proven that the boy’s interrogation was fundamentally flawed and violated the rights set forth in the Israeli Youth Law in the following ways:
The abovementioned Israeli Youth Law and the protection it is meant to ensure for minors during their interrogations is not officially part of the Israeli military code for trying Palestinians in Israeli military courts. However, the Military Court of Appeals repeatedly ruled that it should be applied when interrogating Palestinian minors in the Occupied Territories nonetheless.
Nevertheless, the military judge determined that the boy’s confession should not be ruled inadmissible saying that “In my opinion, the infringement on the defendant’s rights in this concrete case, did not amount to a violation of his right in a way that will sufficiently endanger his right to a fair trial […].” The decision was made despite a psychiatric expert opinion handed to the court which determined that a boy of 14 undergoing such an interrogation could not be considered to have given a statement of his own free will.
Adv Gaby Lasky, the boy’s lawyer, said, “A reality in which the military court decides to accept the confession of a 14 year-old as admissible evidence despite severe and undisputed violation of his rights during both his arrest and interrogation, is unacceptable. It is an incomprehensible decision, unveiling the fact that legislation allegedly intended to protect minors’ rights is no more than lip service when Palestinians are concerned. This ruling sends a clear message that illegal arrest and interrogation of Palestinian minors can continue unhindered.”
See here for the defense’s closing arguments (in Hebrew).
See here for the judge’s decision (in Hebrew).
Video by Bilal Tamimi
Video by David Reeb
Following the recent murder of Mustafa Tamimi and the employment of live sniper-fire against demonstrators last week, protesters dedicated this week’s march to the memory of those who have passed in struggle.
Protesters marched from the center of the village towards village’s lands today, under the slogan “Martyrs are not number”, commemorating the struggle’s martyrs and their sacrifices. As the procession advanced down the road, it was greeted by a barrage of tear-gas projectiles, many of them shot directly at the protesters, by the Israeli Border Police officers who took positions on the village’s main road intent on stifling the march. The demonstrators were also hosed with rancid water shot from a high pressure water-cannon, which Israel euphemistically refers to as “The Skunk”, as well as rubber-coated bullets.
As it proved impossible to advance on the road, some protesters set on reaching village’s lands tried to skirt the soldiers by descending towards the village’s spring that settlers are trying to take over from the hill on the western side of the village. While some succeeded in reaching quite close to the spring, they were met by the same brutality protesters faced on the main road, and were eventually forced to retreat. No serious injuries or arrests were recorded.
Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills
Late in 2009, settlers began gradually taking over Ein al-Qaws (the Bow Spring), which rests on lands belonging to Bashir Tamimi, the head of the Nabi Saleh village council. The settlers, abetted by the army, erected a shed over the spring, renamed it Maayan Meir, after a late settler, and began driving away Palestinians who came to use the spring by force – at times throwing stones or even pointing guns at them, threatening to shoot.
While residents of Nabi Saleh have already endured decades of continuous land grab and expulsion to allow for the ever continuing expansion of the Halamish settlement, the takeover of the spring served as the last straw that lead to the beginning of the village’s grassroots protest campaign of weekly demonstrations in demand for the return of their lands.
Protest in the tiny village enjoys the regular support of Palestinians from surrounding areas, as well as that of Israeli and international activists. Demonstrations in Nabi Saleh are also unique in the level of women participation in them, and the role they hold in all their aspects, including organizing. Such participation, which often also includes the participation of children reflects the village’s commitment to a truly popular grassroots mobilization, encompassing all segments of the community.
The response of the Israeli military to the protests has been especially brutal and includes regularly laying complete siege on village every Friday, accompanied by the declaration of the entire village, including the built up area, as a closed military zone. Prior and during the demonstrations themselves, the army often completely occupies the village, in effect enforcing an undeclared curfew. Military nighttime raids and arrest operations are also a common tactic in the army’s strategy of intimidation, often targeting minors.
In order to prevent the villagers and their supporters from exercising their fundamental right to demonstrate and march to their lands, soldiers regularly use disproportional force against the unarmed protesters. The means utilized by the army to hinder demonstrations include, but are not limited to, the use of tear-gas projectiles, banned high-velocity tear-gas projectiles, rubber-coated bullets and, at times, even live ammunition. The use of banned 0.22″ munitions by snipers has also been recorded in Nabi Saleh.
The use of such practices have already brought about the death of Mustafa Tamimi and caused countless injuries, several of them serious, including those of children – the most serious of which is that of 14 year-old Ehab Barghouthi, who was shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet from short range on March 5th, 2010 and laid comatose in the hospital for three weeks. Due to the wide-spread nature of the disproportionate use of force, the phenomenon cannot be attributed to the behavior of individual soldiers, and should be viewed as the execution of policy.
Tear-gas, as well as a foul liquid called “The Skunk”, which is shot from a water cannon, is often used inside the built up area of the village, or even directly pointed into houses, in a way that allows no refuge for the uninvolved residents of the village, including children and the elderly. The interior of at least one house caught fire and was severely damaged after soldiers shot a tear-gas projectile through its windows.
Since December 2009, when protest in the village was sparked, hundreds of demonstration-related injuries caused by disproportionate military violence have been recorded in Nabi Saleh.
Between January 2010 and June 2011, the Israeli Army has carried 76 arrests of people detained for 24 hours or more on suspicions related to protest in the village of Nabi Saleh, including those of women and of children as young as 11 years old. Of the 76, 18 were minors. Dozens more were detained for shorter periods
video by Steampixie
On the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, Chicago and Nabi Saleh Honor Gaza’s Children with Mass Balloon Release. In December 2008/January 2009, Israel carried out a 22 bombing assault and invasion of Gaza. During the all-out assault, Israel killed close to 1400 Palestinians were killed, the majority of whom were civilians, including almost 350 children.
Jalal Aweida, an Israeli police inspector, will testify about his involvement in the unlawful interrogation of a 14 year-old boy as part of the trial of Nabi Saleh protest organizer, Bassem Tamimi.
When: Sunday, January 8th, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Where: Ofer Military Court*
* Entry to the military court must be coordinated with the Israeli army’s spokesperson’s office in advance.
Following recent escalation in violence employed by Israeli forces towards protesters in Nabi Saleh, including the fatal shooting of Mustafa Tamimi and the use of live sniper-fire, the Israeli Military Prosecution will resume making its case against West Bank protest organizer from Nabi Saleh, Bassem Tamimi, this Sunday at the Ofer Military Court. A previous hearing saw another police interrogator admit to having systematically infringed on the rights of Palestinian minors.
The hearing will include the testimony of Inspector Jalal Aweida of the Israeli Police. Inspector Aweida was one of the key interrogators of 14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub – Tamimi’s main incriminator. Aweida also served as one of the officers in charge of the broader investigation into the Nabi Saleh demonstrations.
In his interrogation the morning after his arrest, year-old Dar Ayyoub alleged that Bassem and Naji Tamimi organized groups of youth into “battalions”, assigned 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 interrogation was fundamentally flawed and violated the rights set forth in the Israeli Youth Law in the following ways:
The video recording of the boy’s interrogation also shows Aweida making threatening gestures towards him – that included Karate moves and punching his fist into his hand, mocking him, making sexual innuendo in regards to Islam and the female police officer who was in the room. The video also shows Islam bursting into tears halfway through the interrogation as well as nearly collapsing of tiredness.
Tamimi’s trial began more than nine months ago, which Tamimi has spent behind lock and key.
The death of 28-year-old Mustafa Tamimi of the village of Nabi Saleh last month raises questions about the Israeli military establishment’s investigative processes.
Tamimi was only the latest casualty of the IDF’s abundant use of tear gas to disperse Palestinian popular protest. Dozens of people have been seriously injured or killed in recent years, including Bassem Abu Rahma, who died in 2009 after being shot in the chest with a tear gas canister in the nearby village of Bil’in, and Abu Rahma’s sister Jawaher, who died one year ago this week after inhaling tear gas.
Because the tear gas canister killed Tamimi – rather than severely injuring and disabling him – the Israeli military has already launched an investigation. That is an improvement over the Bassem Abu Rahma case, when it took more than a year (and significant pressure from his family, neighbors and Israeli human rights organizations Yesh Din and B’Tselem, all of whom presented the then military advocate-general with a draft High Court of Justice petition) to get the military to investigate.
Today, IDF policy requires a criminal investigation to be launched immediately whenever military operations in the occupied Palestinian territories cause death (excluding armed exchanges). The policy was presumably introduced to boost the system’s compatibility with international legal standards.
But closer examination of Israeli military investigations, from before and after the policy change, reveals that the mere fact of investigation does not guarantee that it will be independent, impartial, professional, effective, prompt and open to public scrutiny.
In fact, Yesh Din’s recently published report, “Alleged Investigation,” reveals major failings in the investigations of the full spectrum of offenses allegedly committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians and their property – from looting and theft, to beatings and shootings, to causing death. So serious are these failings that only 6 percent of all cases in which a criminal investigation is opened lead to the indictment of suspected soldiers.
These failings stem directly from the lax investigative tools and methods employed by the Military Police Criminal Investigation Division (MPCID). For instance, the MPCID has no offices in the occupied Palestinian territories, so without NGOs and other agencies, Palestinians have little access to the military justice system. Fewer than 10% of complaints filed by Palestinians reach the MPCID without the intervention of outside agencies.
More significantly, few Military Police investigators speak or read Arabic, they rarely visit the scene of the crime, often neglect to question key witnesses, and hardly ever make use of conventional investigative tools beyond collecting testimonies (such as polygraph tests, line-ups, etc.).
What is more, Military Police investigations suffer from extreme delays, which necessarily damage the potential of the investigations to uncover the truth and lead to the prosecution and conviction of suspects. As a result, for instance, Bassem Abu Rahma’s death is still under investigation. His sister’s death and, for instance, the shooting of a 15-year-old in Hebron on his way home from school in 2008, an incident that caused permanent brain damage, go uninvestigated.
Since 2000, 39% of all complaints received by the MPCID were not investigated at all.
The result of a defective military investigations system is that Israeli soldiers act with virtual impunity, whether damaging personal property during nighttime searches, standing idly by while settlers harm Palestinians and their olive groves, or violating rules of engagement by shooting tear gas at close range directly at demonstrators like Tamimi and Abu Rahma. Meanwhile, the Israeli public sleeps well, believing that the bad apples are weeded out through an effective military justice system.
The Tamimi case presents Israel with an opportunity to make a clear choice. By appointing independent, professional investigators and dedicating the necessary resources Israel can establish itself as a nation that respects the rule of law. Alternatively, by dragging its feet and maintaining a system that is fraught with defects, the country will continue to flaunt international law and its responsibility to protect civilians under occupation and their property.
The Tamimi family and friends can only hope Israel chooses the former and conducts a prompt, thorough and effective investigation.
Emily Schaeffer is an attorney and a member of the legal team of Israeli NGO Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, where she coordinates the organization’s “Accountability Project,” representing victims of crimes committed by soldiers and security personnel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.