First West Bank Martyr in Demonstrations Against the Assault on Gaza killed in Nabi Saleh

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 19 November 2012

Rushdi Tamimi (31) was injured by a live ammunition bullet shot at his back, two days ago in Nabi Saleh.  He passed away today in Ramallah Hospital

On Saturday, November 17th, clashes erupted in the village of Nabi Saleh north west of Ramallah, after Israeli soldiers entered the village following a protest residents held a demonstration in against the assault on Gaza.  During the clashes soldiers used extensive live ammunition bullets, rubber coated steel bullets, and tear gas.
According to eyewitnesses, Rushdi Tamimi (31) was shot first with a rubber coated steel bullet that hit him in the back, he fell on the ground.  Afterward soldiers shot him again, this time with a live ammunition bullet which entered through his hip and into his gut.

When soldiers came closer to Rushdi, they gave him a blow to the head with the butt of one of their rifles, even though he told them he was injured, and then shot him with another rubber coated steel bullet in the stomach.  Soldiers then attempted to drag him through the rocky terrain instead of providing him with medical treatment.

They continued to shoot live ammunition towards residents and prevented them, including Rushdi’s sister, from approaching him and bringing him to an ambulance meanwhile while saying, “I don’t care” and “it’s not my problem.”

Video by Boshra Tamimi

Rushdi was finally transferred to Ramallah Hospital where he underwent surgery.  He suffered from ruptured intestines and two arteries. Today, Monday, he passed away in the hospital.

Rushdi Tamimi is the first martyr of the West Bank demonstrations which have erupted as a protest again the war on Gaza.  He is also the second martyr from the village of Nabi Saleh in the past three years since the village began holding weekly Friday popular struggle demonstrations.

His funeral will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, at the Ramallah Hospital and will be brought to burial in Nabi Saleh at 2pm.
Over the past few days the Israeli army has used live ammunition in multiple locations against Palestinian unarmed demonstrations against the war on Gaza.  In addition to Rushdi Tamimi, at least five more people have been injured from live ammunition today, two during clashes in Attara, one in Takua near Bethlehem, and two in Hebron.
Advertisements

A Bad Day in Nabi Saleh

By  Phil Weiss: Mondoweiss: 12 November 2012

Video by Tamimi Press

Back in August the photograph below of the arrest of Nariman Tamimi by Israeli soldiers who tore her away from her two daughters went viral and I knew I had to visit her village in Palestine. Nabi Saleh is famous for its active resistance to occupation, and for the crushing Israeli response, and the truth is I had been afraid to go before. But the photograph made me ashamed of that fear. Last Friday I spent most of the day in the village, and it was a bad day, according to villagers. Israeli soldiers came repeatedly into the streets to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators.

tamimi1
Israeli soldiers arrest Nariman Tamimi, as her daughters try
to prevent the arrest, August 24, 2012. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

At 5 o’clock 11-year-old A’hd Tamimi was struck by a rubber bullet in the arm and carried, crumpled, into the house where I was sitting. She wasn’t crying. A journalist came limping after her, hit in the thigh. By then the Israelis had shut off power to the village and a tear gas attack had set a neighbor’s yard on fire and soldiers were firing live rounds into the air to intimidate people. I felt trapped. All I wanted to do was leave.

But a group of popular committee members then decided to go off through the village to deal with the fire and tend to a woman who’d been hit in the head by a rubber bullet. They told me to come with them.

“Where is the safest place right now?” I said. “With us,” an older man responded, as we ran through the streets and up a hillside.

Nabi Saleh is about 15 miles northwest of Ramallah in the hills of the West Bank. Its population is 550, many of them from one family, the Tamimis. It is on a picturesque hillside that could be in Italy or California, except the lands on the next hillside to the south are colonized by Israelis. Nabi Saleh now has a fine view of serried red rooftops in a settlement called Halavahs, and right next to Halamish is an army base that serves to protect the settlement. Driving past, it looks like an armed camp. There are Israeli flags out on the road, and large gates with men standing around with semiautomatic weapons.

Because Friday is demonstration day, and Israel is trying to sew up Palestinian resistance, the road to Nabi Saleh was blocked by soldiers when my minibus arrived last week. Two women were asking the soldiers to be allowed to walk to the village. They were barred from doing so. The minibus had to proceed about 8 miles around to the west and north, entering Nabi Saleh from the rear.

As I got out, I stepped into a war zone of young men throwing rocks at faraway soldiers and the soldiers firing teargas canisters and rubber bullets back. The salient was a gas station at the main intersection in the village. I scurried out of the way of the chaos, but a woman came walking up the road to me with a big smile. She was my host, Manal Tamimi, and might have been inviting me into her garden. This is normal, she said. Her husband Bilal came over. He wore wire rimmed glasses and a yellow press vest, had cameras around his neck. He documents the weekly demonstrations, and he was due to go out the next day to Sweden to a conference on journalism. He would be flying out of Amman. He is not permitted to use the Israeli airport, 30 or so miles west of where we were standing.
The teargas action soon moved to the fields, and Manal took me out to the hilltop to observe. We joined 30 or 40 villagers looking down on the demonstration, along with a dozen internationals. Far below us boys were throwing rocks at the soldiers and the soldiers were set up on the road in front of Halamish firing back at the boys. Near us other boys collected rocks to be passed down to the boys below.
Manal pointed out Nabi Saleh’s lands that have been taken by the settlement on the opposite hillside. Just behind the soldiers’ trucks was a little green oasis of trees. This is Nabi Saleh’s spring. The villagers demonstrate by trying to get to it but they’re not allowed. The settlers have renamed it Meier Spring. Some of the water goes into their big swimming pool. They have water all the time. Nabi Saleh only gets water 12 hours a week, Manal said. And the olive trees on the hillside behind the spring– all taken from the village. Manal also pointed out the handsome white amphitheater built by the settlers for outdoor performances, not far from the swimming pool.

I always reflect when I’m in the occupation that if New Yorkers were subjected to these oppressions, we would be up in the hills with guns. Of course Palestinians have tried violent resistance, but they have failed to repulse the occupier and been labeled “terrorist” into the bargain. So in an effort to win the world’s good opinion, they have turned to non-violent resistance–and documenting that resistance on the internet, and seeking the attention of internationals. Bilal Tamimi has a youtube channel and a website and a facebook page and says proudly that googling Nabi Saleh turns up a million hits, where a few years ago it only produced references to the prophet Nabi Saleh.

Of course the demonstration is not really nonviolent.  The boys throw rocks. When the soldiers’ trucks came through the village later, I heard rocks clattering off the doors and fenders like hail. The popular committee regards the rocks as symbolic gestures of the right to resist. It feels more than symbolic. But I can’t imagine that the elders would be able to stop the boys, who are enraged and want to do something, and if the villagers merely walked to the spring every week and were arrested, they would not create the same drama that masked boys hurling rocks with slings do. The provocation gains rubber bullets and tear gas canisters and international attention.

After years of this routine, now contained to a few villages by the Israelis, some people write off these demonstrations as a show. Certainly that was the theme ofThe New Yorker story on Palestinian demonstrators written by a former Israeli soldier, Shani Boianjiu. And no doubt the demonstration is a form of resistance theater. The boys play a role, the soldiers play a role. No one is supposed to get really hurt, though people inevitably do. But so what. It is a form of theater that is highlighting real and outrageous conditions. The soldiers are protecting an illegal settlement, condemned by every country on earth but the U.S. And it is the demonstrators who get arrested and fired upon? Any means of dramatizing this enormity makes sense to me.

It was a bad day at Nabi Saleh Friday because as dusk approached, the soldiers came into town and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at close range. I heard that they were incensed by the rockthrowers, that a soldier had been hit in the head. I was on a rooftop as they fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets into an adjoining lot at the boys. It was terrifying. The soldiers stopped their truck and shot the canisters at close range, not at an arc. These things have great force. When one canister hit a telephone pole, the pole shook as if a car had struck it, the wires swinging. No wonder that a soldier firing a teargas canister at close range killed Mustafa Tamimi on the road just below us, more than a year ago.

The other large factor at work here is the audience, internationals. Brave people come a long way to support the resistance, and some are able to gain attention for the demos back home. Manal talked with an Israeli woman who comes often. But there were few Israelis there last Friday. The Israeli soldiers intimidate solidarity activists by declaring Nabi Saleh a closed military zone, and threatening activists with arrest.

Still these rural people carry on. And the international attention gives the villagers hope that they will one day prevail, and that the settlement will be removed from their land and their spring returned to them. Iyad Tamimi, a member of the popular committee, described an inspiring visit in October by a delegation from the Martin Luther King Center for non-violent change. Two dozen veterans of the civil rights movement came to Nabi Saleh, and because they didn’t want to be exposed to tear gas and rubber bullets, sat in chairs on the roof to observe. It was not theater to them. It was their own history. Most of them were crying, Iyad said; they told him this is exactly what they experienced in the south. The visitors assured the villagers that Nabi Saleh will prevail, as the civil rights demonstrators in the south prevailed.

Still, the village is under tremendous pressure. We will never leave, Manal said. This is our life. Yet dozens of them have been imprisoned just for demonstrating, Popular committee leader Bassem Tamimi has been in prison for over a year; and shutting down the village’s power that night seemed a possible preface to nighttime raids to arrest boys. Iyad’s son was imprisoned, for 5 months, at age 15. He came back changed. Some interrogations took place that were against Israel’s own rules about how to handle children. What do the Israeli expect to learn from these people? Who threw the stones? Who organized the resistance? All of Palestine supports this little village in its weekly show of strength.

The ring of fear Israel has set up around Nabi Saleh is another way of containing the resistance. Internationals are afraid to go give support. But when I told Iyad that I had been afraid to come, he looked at me uncomprehending. This is normal for us, he said. This is our life. We are never safe.

Never safe, never afraid– a definition of valor.

It was night and the village had at last settled down. The small fire at the neighbor’s house had been put out, the soldiers had left. Little A’hd Tamimi came down the street with a bandage on her arm. The main road was reopened to a burst of normal traffic. For a moment I felt safe. A boy passed us jingling sweatshirt pockets loaded with the shells of live rounds that the soldiers had fired into the air so as to frighten people. I took one as evidence. It appeared to be a .22 from an M16.

But when I got to the Qalandiya crossing an hour later, I realized I would be passing through metal detectors and the soldiers at the checkpoint would pull me aside. “Where did you get this? What were you doing?” I tossed the shell away in the dark.

Palestinian prisoner of conscience Bassem Tamimi speaks out

by Amnesty International: 2 November 2012

Weekly demonstrations began on 9 December 2009. Every Friday residents of al-Nabi Saleh and solidarity activists gather around noon in the village centre and march peacefully towards the spring. They have been met repeatedly with unnecessary and excessive force by the Israeli army including the use of stun grenades, pepper spray, batons and guns.

Demonstrations are dispersed as soon as they begin and are usually not allowed to reach the spring. The Israeli army raids the village regularly, usually during the night, and conducts house searches and arrests, including the arrest of children under the age of 15.

Israeli military laws in place in the West Bank impose sweeping and arbitrary restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, requiring people to obtain advance permission from the Israeli military for any proposed gathering of 10 or more persons “for a political purpose of for a matter that could be interpreted as political”.

Nariman Tamimi told Amnesty International that in al-Nabi Saleh and all areas where there is popular resistance, police use extreme violence, noting that “there is nothing [to the protests] except that you chant and express your opinion.”

As one of the organizers of the al-Nabi Salneh protests and a coordinator of the village’s popular committee, Bassem Tamimi and his family have been the target of harsh treatment by the Israeli army.

Since the demonstrations began, his house has been raided and ransacked numerous times. His wife has been arrested twice and two of his children have been injured — Wa’ed was in hospital for five days after he was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet and Mohammed was injured by a tear-gas canister that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder.

Bassem Tamimi has been arrested by the Israeli army 11 times to date, though he has only once been convicted by a military court – on charges that Amnesty International believes were unfounded.

Police ban Israeli activists from Nabi Saleh and other West Bank demonstrations

by Leehee Rothschild: +972 Magazine: 11 November 2012

Thirteen anti-occupation activists were awoken by police officers early Sunday morning to receive closed military zone orders, preventing them from joining Palestinians in weekly demonstrations in the West Bank.

An Israeli activist displays a closed military zone order which, given to her by Israeli policemen at 6 a.m. in her Tel Aviv home, November 11, 2012. (photo: Activestills)

Israeli police officers distributed closed military zone orders for four West Bank villages early Sunday morning to 13 prominent activists in groups such as Anarchists Against the Wall, Ta’ayush, and the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. In most cases, the military orders were delivered personally, but for some activists who happened not to be home, they were left under their doors. In some cases, the officers came to look for the activists in their old addresses, disturbing family members and friends, entering homes without a court order, and videotaping those present against their will, even after they were requested not to do so.

The orders, which are timed from 8:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday, and are valid from the beginning of September until March 4, define all or part of the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in, Nabi Saleh, and Kufr Qaddum as closed military zones, prohibiting any entrance into those areas. These are four of several villages in which Palestinians hold weekly demonstrations against the wall, joined regularly by Israeli and international activists.

The weekly demonstrations are deemed illegal under Israeli military law, much like any form of protest or demonstration in the West Bank. In fact, every Friday, the Israeli military issues orders defining those very villages as closed military zones. The demonstrations are violently dispersed by the Israeli army and police with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and live ammunition. The military’s violence has led to the death of 28 activists, and the wounding of countless others. Palestinian organizers and participants in those protests face ongoing persecution, includingnight raids on their homes, and long periods in prison, sometimes under administrative detention.

While Israeli demonstrators are often arrested, charges are usually not brought against them, and when they are, they rarely lead to conviction. It seems that this is what this latest operation seeks to circumvent. In a statement published on the INN website, a police representative of the Shai District (which oversees activities in the West Bank) stated [Hebrew]: “The orders… were distributed to them personally as part of an offensive action led by a commander in the area. It is being implemented in order to prevent illegal activities under the pretense of lack of awareness that the locations are closed military zones. This operation is part of the day to day activities of the Shai District against those who disrupt public order with nationalist motives from all sides of the political map (be it from the left or from the right).”

The police’s operation seems to be another attempt to sever the bonds between Palestinians and Israelis who take part in acts of popular resistance which challenge institutional policies of separation and segregation. However, those orders are unlikely to deter most activists who join the Palestinians in protest on a weekly basis.

 

Bassem Tamimi sentenced to 4 months in Israeli military jail

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 6 November 2012

Bassem Tamimi

In a plea bargain, Bassem Tamimi was sentenced to four months in prison, ordered to pay a fine of NIS 5,000, and given an additional three-year suspended sentence. Just recently having completed a 13-month prison stint, he was arrested last month while taking part in a protest at a settlement supermarket.

From: www.http://972mag.com

Ofer Military Prison — A series of military courts operate inside a row of cramped and dilapidated cabins. An Israeli flag hung from the ceiling overlooking a line of seated and shackled defendants. Courtroom staff and defendants looked equally bored, both by the tedious bureaucratic processes at hand, and with 99.74 percent of all trials in Israeli military courts ending with a conviction, they were probably aware of the outcome. People wandered in and out, disrupting any fleeting sense of an orderly courtroom environment. The translator slouched on an office chair, every so often forgetting to translate the judge and lawyers from Hebrew in to Arabic for the defendants. Bassem Tamimi, 45, father of four, a school teacher and a grassroots protest organizer from the village of Nabi Saleh, was ordered to stand before the military clad judge.

Arrested on October 24 during a protest action at a branch of Rami Levy, a Jewish-owned supermarket chain, Tamimi stood accused of illegal assembly, interfering with police work and breaching a suspended sentence. Rather than risk being remanded during what would likely become a lengthy trial, Tamimi’s defense lawyer, Neri Ramati, reached a plea bargain on his behalf with the prosecution. The judge approved the agreement, and sentenced Tamimi to a total of four months in prison, ordered him to pay a fine of NIS 5,000, and imposed on him an additional three year suspended sentence. Despite the verdict, Tamimi occasionally turned to smile at activists who attended the hearing, and when it ended, he raised his hand in a V sign for victory.

Bassem Tamimi has been detained by Israeli authorities 13 times, at one point spending more than three years in administrative detention without trial. In 1993, as a result of an interrogation by the Israeli Shin Bet, Tamimi was left unconscious for eight days and required surgery for a brain injury. Following a demonstration on March 24, 2011, against the expropriation of land belonging to his village of Nabi Saleh by a neighboring Jewish settlement, he spent 13 months in prison.

Tamimi is recognized internationally for his work in organizing peaceful protests against the encroachment onto Palestinian lands by Israeli settlers. The European Union has described him as a “human rights defender,” and Amnesty International has demanded his release as a “prisoner of conscience.”

Amnesty International: Israeli soldiers arrest son of detained Palestinian activist at West Bank protest

by Amnesty International: 2 November 2012

Israeli soliders arrested 16-year-old Wa’ed Tamimi at a demonstration in the village of al-Nabi SalehIsraeli soliders arrested 16-year-old Wa’ed Tamimi at a demonstration in the village of al-Nabi Saleh

The 16-year-old son of Bassem Tamimi, a detained Palestinian rights activist in the occupied West Bank, was himself arrested by Israeli soldiers today during the regular weekly protest against the encroachment of Israeli settlers onto Palestinian land.

Wa’ed Tamimi was arrested along with four activists during the demonstration on Friday afternoon in the West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, 21km northwest of Ramallah.

“Today’s arrest of Wa’ed Tamimi while he was walking peacefully in his village points to the continuing harassment of activist Bassem Tamimi, his family, and the community of al-Nabi Saleh by Israeli military forces,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director. “This harassment must stop”.

“Wa’ed Tamimi and the four others arrested in al-Nabi Saleh today must be allowed access to lawyers and should be released immediately unless they are to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence. His father Bassem is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for peacefully protesting Israel’s illegal settlement expansion, and must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Nariman Tamimi told Amnesty International how she witnessed her son’s arrest: “I saw him being dragged violently by a soldier who immediately put him in a jeep,” she said. “Right now I am very tired and worried, and I am not sure what to do.”

Wa’ed Tamimi was taken to the police station in Sha’ar Benyamin settlement north of Ramallah.

Bassem Tamimi has been detained since his arrest on 24 October following a non-violent demonstration in a supermarket in the settlement of Sha’ar Benjamin. He faces a further prison sentence after appearing before the Ofer Military Court on Wednesday.

All Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law. Amnesty International is calling for their construction and expansion to stop as a first step towards removing the Israeli civilians living there.