Haaretz: IDF probe: 80 bullets fired without justification in death of West Bank Palestinian, Rushdi Tamimi

Rushdi-Tamimi

By Chaim Levinson and Jack Khoury | Jan.16, 2013

|Investigation finds no reason to use live ammunition in the November shooting death of Rushdie Tamimi, 31, in Nabi Saleh, in the West Bank.


An IDF probe has concluded that in November, Israeli soldiers fired 80 bullets without justification causing the death of a Palestinian man shot in the back during clashes in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

Rushdie Tamimi, 31, was killed when a group of Palestinians in the village began throwing stones toward a road from a long distance, and an army reserve unit tried to disperse them.

The army probe of the November 19 shooting in Nabi Saleh arrived at harsh conclusions regarding the conduct of the IDF company commander and the reserve unit called in to disperse the stone-throwers.

While events were still unfolding, Channel 10 reported that the commander had been relieved of his duties following the shooting. The probe conducted by the army’s Central Command found that the commander had been driving in the vicinity when he saw some 10 youths throwing rocks from a hilltop.

The probe determined that the youths were too far from the road to constitute any real danger. Nevertheless, the commander summoned about 10 reserve soldiers from a nearby army outpost and instructed them to disperse the youths.

However, he neglected to report this immediately to battalion headquarters, which was only 50 meters away.

It turned out that the commander did not report the shooting incident at all, until
Haaretz approached the IDF spokesman two days later for a response to the incident. The army investigation found that the soldiers had fired tear gas at the stone-throwers for an hour and a half. When they ran out of canisters, a medic was sent by jeep to the adjacent outpost to bring back some more. At that point, the commander instructed the soldiers to use live rounds.

They fired 80 bullets, one of which hit Tamimi in the back. For several minutes, the soldiers prevented anyone from giving him medical aid, until they relented. Tamimi was evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah, where he died two days later.

The investigation found there was no reason to use live ammunition. Even when the order was given, the commander did not clearly indicate the target and the reason for opening fire. In professional terms, the troops did not “control the fire.”

The commander claimed the soldiers had not noticed that anyone had been hit, which is why they prevented anyone from approaching Tamimi to provide medical aid. This seemed a dubious claim, though, since the victim was bleeding from the head.

Nabi Saleh has been the scene of frequent weekend protests against settler incursions on villagers’ water supply. The stone-throwing that preceded Tamimi’s death took place during Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza.

The army sees the incident as a “failure of values,” and the Military Police’s investigation branch has opened a formal inquiry into the fatal shooting.

On Tuesday, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was shot to death by Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the West Bank village of Budrus, Palestinian sources said. Samir Awad was shot four times in the torso and legs, sources said. He is the fourth Palestinian killed by IDF fire in the last week.

The incidents came a day after Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man in the Gaza town of Beit Lahiya near the border with Israel. Gazan officials said Mustafa Abu Jarad, 21, was a farmer. He was taken to Shifa hospital, where doctors said he died from his wounds.

The Israel-Gaza frontier has been mostly calm since November, when eight days of Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli air strikes killed 170 Palestinians and six Israelis.

Since then, four Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli troops along the Gaza border, most of them in an area Israel has deemed off-limits for several years, citing the risk of attacks on soldier

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B’Tselem: One year on, investigation into the killing of Mustafa Tamimi still not completed

by B’Tselem: 5 Dec 2012

A year after the killing of Mustafa Tamimi, resident of the West Bank village of a-Nabi Saleh, who was fatally injured in the head by a tear gas canister, B’Tselem contacted Military Advocate for Operational Matters Lt. Col. Ronen Hirsch, demanding clarification of the status of the case. The organization served notice that it intends to seek legal remedy as may be required to end the delays in pursuing this case and prevent damage to the rights of the complainants and to the criminal process.

Photographs of the firing directly at a-Tamimi, by Haim Scwarczenberg, 9 Dec. '11.
Photographs of the firing directly at a-Tamimi, by Haim Scwarczenberg, 9 Dec. ’11.

Nearly one year ago, on 9 December 2011, an Israeli soldier shot a tear gas canister at very short range at Mustafa Tamimi during a demonstration in a-Nabi Saleh. Tamimi, critically injured, was taken for treatment at Beilinson Hospital and died of his wounds the next day. On the same day the incident took place, B’Tselem submitted a complaint to the Military Police Investigations Unit in Jerusalem. The MPIU opened an investigation two days later. Nonetheless, the Advocate for Operational Matters has yet to announce a decision on whether to serve an indictment or close the case. To the best of B’Tselem’s knowledge, the investigation continues. The explanation provided to B’Tselem to justify the lengthy process is that “this is an operational inquiry, complicated and challenging, and decisions arrived at during it, which influence its duration, are taken in a matter-of-fact manner based solely on the needs of the inquiry and the quest for the truth.”

Noa Tal, Director of the Data Department at B’Tselem, noted in her letter that even had this explanation been acceptable some two months after the incident, an inquiry lasting a period of nearly one year cannot be considered reasonable. The longer the process is drawn out, the greater the damage to the prospects for an effective criminal proceeding, inter alia because some of the evidence will no longer exist and the witnesses’ recollections are liable to be less acute. Thus grave harm is done to the principle of the rule of law and the deterrent value for discouraging similar acts in the future.

Clashes erupted following martyr funerals in Nabi Saleh and Hebron

By Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 20 November 2012

nariman-waed-rushdi

Nariman Tamimi and son Waed, at her brother’s funeral.

Tuesday report: Marches took place in several locations and cities across the West Bank, one injured in the head from tear gas grenade and more than thirteen arrested.

Nabi Saleh: Thousands took part in martyr Rushdi Tamimi’s funeral today. The funeral procession began in Ramallah hospital and marched through Irsal Street in the city, followed by a military funeral. His burial took place in the village of Nabi Saleh. Youth clashed with the army who fired tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition.

Hebron: about ten thousand participated in the funeral of martyr Hamdi Falah. Clashes erupted following the funeral and spread across the city and governorate.  Clashes were also reported at Bab Alzawyeh by the old city, which continued until the late evening. wo people were arrested.

Jenin: More than a thousand protesters marched today from Jenin city to the Jalameh checkpoint. Clashes erupted with the army who fired tear gas canisters and rubber coated steel bullets extensively. Six people were reported to have been arrested.

Atara: hundreds of protesters reached Atara checkpoint. Clashes erupted with the army. Few injuries were reported from rubber coated steel bullets. Soldiers also attacked two photojournalists today.

Ni’lin: clashes erupted between tens of residents and soldiers after the army entered the village. Soldiers are fired live ammunition, tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets.Nablus: Hundreds of protesters marched toward Huwara military checkpoint. Soldiers fired great amounts of tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets. Several cases of suffocation were reported.

Bethlehem: more than a thousand protesters protested next to Belal Ben Rabah Mosque (Rachel’s Tomb). Clashes erupted with soldiers as they raided the entrance of the city. More than ten injuries were reported from rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas, including one from a canister hitting a protestor’s head. Two people were arrested.

Jerusalem: Four students were arrested during a demonstration at the Hebrew University against the assault on Gaza. Clashes also erupted with the army at Al-Issawiyeh village. Soldiers shot tear gas at houses and rubber coated steel bullets at protesters.

Eyewitness account of the shooting of Rushdi Tamimi

by Esti Na: 20 November 2012

I don’t know what to write, say, do. Last I checked – this morning, the number of martyrs in ghazze was over 90. We were either on the street or at hospital with Rushdie. When there’s a hundred martyrs, among them children, babies, sometimes a whole family wiped out, sometimes several children from one family burned/crushed/blown up/.. it’s seems almost selfish to talk about one martyr. Still.
This evening, Rushdie died. After rollercoaster at fkn ramallah hospital. Rushdie, Nariman Tamimi’s brother, the second martyr in less than a year in Nabi Saleh, Rushdie, relative of pretty much everyone here.

I could try to describe who broke down in which way, who needed medical aid, who needed to be carried away, who is still …. in ways I can’t describe. But I’m spent. I should look up what happened in Gaza and here (reports kept coming in off serious injuries, arrests, etc. in WB) but I’m worn out for tonight. Idon’t know any more. It’s all too much, been too much a good while ago. There’s no break, seems keep coming at this community here, people barely manage to get back on their feet when the next fucked up blow comes. Allah yer7amak, ya Rushdie, u Allah ya3tu alsabr 3ala a7lak.

I’ll repost what I wrote earlier about what happened here Saturday. One correction: we are not sure whether the wound on his forehead was from butt of rifle or from being dragged after getting shot, or perhaps beaten or… there’s different versions. we’ll not know cause no one could film as they were shooting life like hell.I held him in my arms trying while Nariman, Naji Tamimi and Hilme fought with the soldiers who wanted to arrest him and shoot at anyone coming close. I claimed he was my brother so they wouldn’t stop me/shoot me. I held him and asked how he was. He said he couldn’t see.

He was in ICU for two days, but “fine”, “stable”, until this afternoon when it was discovered way too late that he wasn’t, he had three temporary cardiac arrests, perhaps internal bleeding, he was too unstable to transport to Hadassa hospital, everyone had to wait for him to either die or get stabilized, we then heard he was stable, people were preparing the transfer, the transportation, and then came the news. his family has talked to him earlier today. the way the hospital dealt with things….. I‘ll write about that later. I’m tired. It hurts so much to see strong people, people i love, in this much pain AGAIN. i’ll stop here.

Nabi Saleh yesterday
what is happening these days in the rest of Palestine is no comparison to the ongoing massacre in Gaza, but as a friend said today “we’re in war and the West Bank is included” – in the sense that they army is using much more violence here. Several people and groups are trying to gather how many people were seriously injured and arrested on this side, it’s hard to know. i’ll post something about that in a bit.

But here what happened yesterday in Nabi Saleh. I’ve never heard so much life ammo being shot before – the video cut out some parts. When Rushdie brother of Nariman Tamimi, Jiji Tamimi, Noura, Shukri, Shaker, etc., nephew of Naji Tamimi among others, uncle of نعم انا جهاد and Waed Tamimi and Tamimi Ahed among others, cousin of Bilal Tamimi and Manal Tamimi among others was shot, they shot life like crazy. Tamimi Rawan Tamimi first tried to continue filming but they kept shooting. everyone kept crouching. Helmy took the camera and got up and was shot at immediately. Nariman – who was at home, actually counting her blessing that nothing serious happened for on Friday – came out running, grabbed the camera and ran down, while they kept shooting around her (video doesn’t make that clear). She only realized it’s her brother when she arrived.

Then hilme and Naji made it down in spite of threats. The soldiers kept pointing guns, shooting and wanting to arrest Rushdie. He had a head wound, while lying there, he said he couldn’t see, now we can. we thought the wound was from another bullet, but it was actually from the butt of a rifle, they hit him in the head when he was shot.
You can see how much his family had to fight and risk to get him away from the army and to hospital. He’s ok, in the sense, he will survive. he’s in the ICU, the bullet entered his leg (he says he can’t feel his leg) and went into his intestines. his family is at the hospital (again), waiting for news, while everyone is hoping no one will get arrested tonight. Interesting how much soldiers tried to hide their faces from the camera …
Video by Boshra Tamimi

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.

Protesters march in Nabi Saleh in memory of Palestinian martyrs killed during the struggle for a free Palestine

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 7 January 2012

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.

Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills
Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills

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
Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills

Background
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