by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 24 October 2012
Photos by ActiveStills
Activists called for the boycott of occupation and its products. Four activists were detained and several injuries due to soldiers’ brutality
This morning, more than 100 Palestinians, joined by number of international activists staged an action protest at the entrance of Rami Levi’s supermarket in Sha’ar Benjamin settlement north of Ramallah, to protest occupation and settler terror. They entered the market and walked up and down the aisles chanting for freedom and waving Palestinians flags. As activists exited the building, about forty policemen and soldiers were waiting outside, they attacked physically the demonstrators and fired stun grenades at them, causing several injuries, two of which were taken by ambulance to the hospital. Four people, including Basim Tamimi, the head of the Popular Committee of Nabi Saleh, were beaten and arrested by Israeli police. Tamimi’s ribs were broken and several Palestinians were injured. Protesters called for the boycott of occupation and all its products, and stressed that “as long as there is no justice to Palestinians, Israeli and settler daily life can’t continue on as normal.” Two of those arrested were Palestinians including Bassem Tamimi in addition to two international activists, an American and Polish. The protest was part of Popular Struggle Committees’ actions to protest the occupation and settlers terror against Palestinians. Last week about 50 Palestinian activists blocked the Apartheid Road 443 (known as Modi’in, which passes on West Bank lands, connecting Tel Aviv to Jerusalem). The road was blocked for about 30 minutes to Israeli and settler traffic.
Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories: Israel must release Palestinian detained for organising peaceful protests against expanding Israeli settlement
Palestinian human rights defender Bassem Tamimi is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for his role in organizing peaceful protests against the encroachment onto Palestinian lands by Israeli settlers, and should be released immediately and unconditionally, Amnesty International said today.
Bassem Tamimi was arrested on 24 March 2011 and charged days later with “incitement and support of a hostile organization, organizing and participating in unauthorized processions, incitement to throwing objects against a person or property” and other offences. Bassem Tamimi denies the charges. He is currently detained in Ofer prison while his trial continues.
Bassem Tamimi, aged 44, is married with four young children. He has repeatedly affirmed non-violent principles in his defence of villagers against the construction of settlements on occupied territories which violates international law. In a statement in court on 16 November 2011, Bassem Tamimi said:
“International law guarantees the right of occupied people to resist Occupation. In practicing my right, I have called for and organized peaceful popular demonstrations against the Occupation, settler attacks and the theft of more than half of the land of my village… I organized these peaceful demonstrations in order to defend our land and our people… The military prosecutor accuses me of inciting the protesters to throw stones at the soldiers. This is not true. What incites protesters to throw stones is the sound of bullets, the Occupation’s bulldozers as they destroy the land, the smell of teargas and the smoke coming from burnt houses. I did not incite anyone to throw stones, but I am not responsible for the security of your soldiers who invade my village and attack my people with all the weapons of death and the equipment of terror.”
Before his arrest, Bassem Tamimi had been organising weekly protests against the encroachment onto village lands of al-Nabi Saleh near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank by a neighbouring Israeli settlement, Halamish – Neve Tzuf. The protests began in December 2009 – a few months after the settlement began to expand rapidly despite a temporary settlement construction freeze announced by Israel following US pressure – and have been largely peaceful.
The Israeli army has repeatedly used excessive force in countering these demonstrations, as a result of which the organizers reiterate instructions for Palestinian demonstrators to adhere to non-violent methods. Occasionally, individual protestors have engaged in throwing stones at soldiers. One such protestor, Mustafa Tamimi, was shot in al-Nabi Saleh on 10 December 2011 by a high-velocity tear gas projectile fired at his head at close range from an Israeli military jeep. He died the next day in hospital.
At another hearing on 19 February 2012, Bassem Tamimi said:
“International law gives us the right to peaceful protest, to demonstrate our refusal of the policies that hurt us, our daily life and the future of our children… I do not know and do not care if they [the settlements] are permitted by your law, as it was enacted by an authority I do not recognize…True justice would not have me stand here before this court at all, let alone while I am imprisoned and shackled. This case is baseless and made up with the sole goal of putting me behind bars.”
Amnesty International has previously documented the torture of Bassem Tamimi by the General Security Service, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, in 1993. After his arrest on 9 November 1993, he was subjected to violent shaking during interrogation. He suffered a subdural haematoma, as a result of which he lost consciousness for six days, during which he underwent life-saving surgery. He was subsequently released without charge on 6 December 1993 (see Amnesty International, “Under constant medical supervision”: Torture, ill-treatment and the health professionals in Israel and the Occupied Territories, Index: MDE 15/037/1996, August 1996, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/037/1996/en).
Some 490,000 Israeli citizens live in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a result of years of government-sponsored settlement construction. The establishment and retention of civilian settlements in occupied territory violates international humanitarian law. The “transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” is considered a war crime under Article 8(2) of the Rome Statute of the ICC, “when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes.” Israel’s settlement policy is also inherently discriminatory and results in continuing violations of the rights to adequate housing, water and livelihoods for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli authorities continue to construct new housing and plan entire new neighbourhoods in settlements in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, adding to over 230 already existing localities.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Israeli authorities to put an immediate end to the construction or expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to take measures to evacuate Israeli civilians living in settlements in the West Bank. All Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip were removed by the government in 2005. The establishment of settlements not only violates international humanitarian law, but also constitutes a serious violation of the prohibition on discrimination, as laid out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to which Israel is a state party. The International Court of Justice found in July 2004 that the ICESCR is applicable in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The presence of Israeli-only settlements has led to mass violations of human rights of the local Palestinian population
by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 2 March 2012
This weeks’ protest in Nabi Saleh was held in solidarity with hunger-striking political prisoner Hanaa Shalabi. The village also celebrated the release of Naji Tamimi, member of the local popular committee released after a year in military prison.
Video by Israel Puterman
Naji Tamimi, member of the Nabi Saleh popular committee, was arrested by the Israeli army on March 6th 2011, and subsequently charged with “incitement”, “organizing unpermitted processions” and “solicitation to throw stones”, together with his cousin and fellow veteran activist, Bassem Tamimi. Returning to his village after a year in military prison, Naji Tamimi opened this week’s weekly demonstration in a speech held above the grave of Mustafa Tamimi who was shot dead by the Israeli army during a demonstration three months ago. Picture Credit: Yotam Ronen/Activestills
The demonstration then preceded towards the main road leading from the village to the nearby settlement of Halamish, built mainly on Nabi Saleh’s agricultural lands. Protesters carried signs and posters calling for the immediate release of Hana Shalabi, a woman administrative detainee who has gone on hunger strike. Israeli soldiers used tear-gas canisters, rubber coated bullets and the “skunk”, a water canon spraying foul smelling water, to disperse the demonstrators. Some clashes between the army and local youth took place in the outskirts of the village, following which the army invaded the village shooting large amounts of tear-gas canisters inside populated areas. One demonstrator was slightly injured by a rubber coated bullet shot at his arm from close range. He required medical treatment and was taken to the hospital. Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills
Hana Yahya Shalabi (30) from the Burqin village near Jenin was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, after being held in administrative detention for over two years (Sep. 2009 to Oct. 2011). During her arrest she was sexually harassed, put in solitary confinement and was denied trial. No allegations were brought against her by the Israeli security forces. On February 16th 2012 she was re-arrested and put under administrative detention for six month along with several other Palestinian prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit deal. Hana began a hunger strike, inspired by the hunger strike of Khader Adnan, to protest administrative detentions and abuse during interrogations and arrests. Hana Shalabi and over three hundred Palestinians are imprisoned for long periods without any charges and are never brought to trial. As a woman, Hana Shalabi faces a great risk of humiliation and sexual abuse, and has already been harassed in the past. Her strike calls attention to the physical and mental violence suffered by Palestinian women and men in Israeli jails.
On Friday, 17 June, the Consuls from Malta, France, EU and Holland attended the non-violent demonstrations in Nabi Saleh to observe the village’s resistance to Israel’s ongoing occupation. In response to the non-violent demonstration, the Israeli Occupation Forces violently attacked village residents and supporters with teargas and rubber bullets.
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 2 June 2011
Tamimi, who has already been held in custody for over two months, will plead not guilty to the anti-free speech charges against him before a military court.
What: The opening ofBassem Tamimi’s trial Where: Ofer Military Court * * Entry to the military court must be coordinated with the Israeli army’s spokesperson in advance.
When: Sunday, June 4th, 2011, at 9:30 AM Media contact: Jonathan Pollak +972-54-632-7736
After more than two months in custody, the trial of Bassem Tamimi, a 44 year-old protest organizer from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, will finally begin Sunday. Tamimi, who is the coordinator of the Nabi Saleh popular committee, will plead not guilty to the charges against him. He will, however, admit to having organized demonstrations against settlement expansion and argue that it is i,n fact, the Israeli Occupation that should be on trial.
Tamimi’s detention was recently extended indefinitely by an Israeli military court. The judge ordered him to be kept in remand until the end of legal proceedings. The indictment against Tamimi is based on questionable and coerced confessions of youth from the village. He is charged with incitement, organizing and participating in unauthorized processions, solicitation to throw stones, failure to attend legal summons, and a scandalous disruption of legal proceedings charge, for allegedly giving youth advice on how to act under police interrogation in the event that they are arrested.
Last summer I found myself wading around a swimming pool in the middle of the scorching desert on a Kibbutz in the Negev. I had come to this kibbutz to see an old friend from high school. Over the past 12 years we have developed and maintained a close friendship despite clear political differences which, in this country, can easily destroy personal relationships.
As we swam in the cool water, the topic of conversation turned to his reserve service. This friend of mine, let’s call him Avichai, had just finished a round of reserve duty in the Palestinian village of Ni’ilin, where I often attend and cover the demonstrations against the Separation Barrier. I was shocked to hear that he had served there and quickly realized that he had probably fired tear gas, rubber bullets or live ammunition at me. Our conversation took an uncomfortable turn.
I asked him directly, ‘what does it take for you to look at children and shoot at them with tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire?” He nonchalantly informed me that they are not children, rather enemies on a battlefield. When I asked him if he considered me an enemy for standing with the children, he brushed away the question suggesting that I was just confused. Sensing his growing discomfort, I ended the conversation knowing that relationships can end over politics in Israel.
Avichai’s thoughts regarding the use of force against Palestinian children, while shocking, are not that uncommon in my experience in Israeli society. Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO which collects testimonies from soldiers about their service in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, has released a number of first-hand accounts of soldiers who were told by their superiors to treat civilian areas as combat zones. Reading the testimonies, one sees an army that does not always make the proper distinction between enemy and civilian. This policy is on raw display during the weekly unarmed demonstrations against the Separation Wall and Occupation throughout the West Bank.
In the quiet village of Nabi Saleh last Friday, during a weekly demonstration against the Occupation, a child was directly hit by an Israeli tear gas canister. According to eyewitness Jonathan Pollak, the media coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, eleven-year-old Muhammad Bilal Abdul Salam At-Tamimi was standing in a crowd when soldiers began firing tear gas canisters in their direction. Tamimi was hit directly on the side of his stomach and taken to a Ramallah hospital. After a brief stay in hospital, he was released in what appeared to be a good condition.
Photographs by Wafa Images: Nabi Saleh residents and supporters outside Ofer demonstrating in support of Naji and Bassem Tamimi.
Video: Residents from An Nabi Saleh and their supporters outside Ofer Prison demonstrating in support of Naji Tamimi and Bassem Tamimi who have been arrested by the Israeli Occupation Forces for their non-violent activism.
This Friday Nabi Saleh demonstration against the settlements and occupation was joined by a group of West Bank March 15 activists and was larger than usual. Some 80 people marched through the village’s main street and then crossed into the fields to reach the spring and land being stolen and threatened by settlers. This turn to the fields also helped the protesters avoiding being fired at by the Israeli soldiers who awaited them down the street. Even before the marchers could reach the village’s main road, Israeli soldiers came to stop them, throwing stun and tear gas grenades and shooting rubber-coated metal bullets at a non-violent protest. This, however, did not deter the protesters, who kept standing in front of the soldiers in defiance. The soldiers than turned to violently arresting two Palestinian protesters and attempting to arrest a third one.
This afternoon nine people were arrested at a demonstration in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh. Among the arrested were two ISM activists along with one Danish, one Palestinian and five Israeli protesters. Both ISM activists report being beaten by the Israeli military whilst non-violently demonstrating. The Swedish activist was pepper-sprayed in the face before having his hands tied behind his back and being dragged around a corner and hit in the face several times causing his glasses to break. The other ISM activist, a woman from the United States was hit in her chest whilst being arrested. The third international from Denmark also had his hands tied before being dragged two metres by his hood and then beaten. Both men were left with their hands tied for over two hours.
Naji Tamimi during a demonstration in Nabi Saleh. Picture credit: Nariman Tamimi
Naji Tamimi, member of the Nabi Saleh popular committee and one of the leading figures in the struggle against the annexation of village lands by the nearby settlement of Halamish, was arrested last night during an army night raid on the village. The military also searched the home of another popular committee member, Bassem Tamimi, absent at the time. These last few weeks saw the army waging an extensive arrest campaign against village residents, specifically targeting minors.