Bassem is for mass nonviolence against the wall, and mobilizes the creative energy of villagers (and others) to stop Israeli violence and stealing with the thought that others have souls, that those who must be stopped, need not and should not be killed. That is a thought frightening to the Occupying Israeli government, whose conquest, aggression and violence do much to provoke violence.
There are 1500 villagers. They resist a powerful army. Children are often asked to take part in demonstrations, and in any case, Mohammed Tamimi was wounded – his arm broken – when soldiers fired into the Tamimi home. As Nariman says in one of the articles below, there is no safety from attack day or night anywhere in Nabi Saleh; being at demonstrations is, for children, less traumatic…
Nariman and Ahed, her daughter who are very courageous – along with an aunt Nawal and other women from Nabi Saleh – saved her 12 year old son/brother. They surrounded and jumped on the soldier. Watch the very revealing youtube video here.
Defeated by the women, saved from himself, the soldier, at the end of the film, still bitterly throws down a tear gas canister…
I also know Bilal Tamimi, the courageous videographer of many struggles (and threatened and sometimes beaten or arrested by the IDF which lives off silence behind the Wall).
Bassem, as Amira Hass rightly says, worked also to save the soul of the young soldier by contacting an officer (the souls of some Israelis she speaks of are as poisoned now as the souls of the racists in the segregated South or of many Germans under the Nazis). He was put in this horrific situation, one in which the Israeli stranglehold – his own – must be kept firmly on each 12 year old’s neck – frightened, primed to do horrors…
Interestingly, today, there are more Germans particularly soccer teams – the Bundesliga – and soccer fans who are reaching out to Syrians and welcoming them to Europe than there are racists freaking out about immigration and bombing the houses of those who welcome strangers. See here. This is a marked, self-aware, hopeful contrast with the sometimes racist conduct of soccer fans. And Angela Merkel, having been insensitive to a Palestinian child several weeks ago, is today as good for decent treatment and immigration as she was awful to the Greek people (and is still) – see here, here, and here.
Would that there were mainstream party in Israel, currently unified on trying to get the US to aggress against Iran (neither the Arab coalition nor Meretz is quite mainstream) that today expressed themselves as forcefully against the Israeli government’s racist Occupation and diversionary belligerence (Netanyahu’s losing campaign to get the US to sabotage the world’s nuclear treaty with Iran which the US negotiated – for which he will still accrue – already the second most effective military in the world, with some hundreds of nuclear weapons, running experiments of weapons in Gaza, training American police forces (!) and receiving $3 billion in aid to purchase US weapons – even more weaponry. Nonetheless, Netanyahu and AIPAC are no longer able to rule US foreign policy (as their neocon allies, backed by Democrats, arguably did in securing the perverse and counterproductive US aggression against Iraq).
That Germans are welcoming Syrians is hopeful and, one may pray also, for Israelis to achieve the same compassion and accomplishment as some – for instance, Anarchists against the Wall – already exhibit.
Still, the US is complicit – the machine gun held by the Israeli soldier while pushing Mohammed against a rock – in every act of oppression in Palestine.
Sometimes, young men (in Mohammed’s case, a child with one arm in a cast), frustrated by the immense Israeli violence of the Wall, of its vast weaponry, of settlements built on Palestinian land, of children seized from their beds at 2:am and kept in prison for two weeks and tortured while settlers children thrown urine and shit on the bazaar in Occupied Hebron and are protected by the Israeli army (if by chance arrested for other “crimes,” they are brought to court within 24 hours) throw rocks.
That is not nonviolent. And it takes away from the serious nonviolence of the village movement. But it is understandable (a wanting to hit back against bullying and injustice). And it is not, as Ahed says, like the use of guns – what the IDF does, firing US tear gas canisters (made by Consolidated Systems Inc, with its phony name) and black rubber bullets (the Tamimis are also a larger family name for everyone in the village; Rushdi and Mustafa, a cousin and close friend of Janna had been murdered by the IDF in the month surrounding the time I was there).
Killing by Israeli soldiers is common (Netanyahu wants to “loosen the rules,” making more murders, including as these scenes too vividly show, of children who sometimes throw rocks…).
In the American South, as Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Rights Initiative have traced, nearly 4,000 blacks were lynched by the local government/Ku Klux Klan nexus. Racists would sometimes bring their children to a “picnic” at the murder…
In Occupied Hebron, the IDF and settler parents celebrate children who throw shit on the bazaar.
Had this soldier killed Mohammed – who has a cast, who struggles and screams but could not fight – the IDF would wink at it.
As Amira Hass’s puts it about Nabi Saleh,
“The real problem is not the rocks but the fact that the burden of holding demonstrations, the same modest and determined weekly reminder that the armed robbery continues, falls on the shoulders of so few. The raids of their houses, the arrests, the tear gas, the fear of being injured and killed take their toll, said Nariman, who almost four years ago lost her brother (a Palestinian police officer, who by the way did not throw rocks and did not fire): An Israeli soldier shot him in the back, killing him.
At the demonstration in his memory, a soldier shot her with live
ammunition and wounded her seriously in her leg, while she was filming.
She admits the individual struggle is tiring. ‘We did not choose this
publicity or this status. It is clear that if more people would join us,the struggle would be heard more and gain strength.'”
Ahed led the way. Nariman, who was on crutches and aunt Nawal, and the other women soon rushed in to save Mohammed. Nariman realized, as she told Amira Haas, the frightened young man with a gun inside the mask. “He is a victim of the policy; he himself is a child,” she observed, “but he should ask himself why he is being sent to our home to harm us.”
Bassem Tamimi reached out to calm the situation:
“Bassem, who saw the other soldiers far from their comrade, became afraid that some of the Palestinian youngsters would get closer, the soldier would try to shoot them, someone would get hurt and the youngsters would try to take revenge on the soldier. ‘I was caught up in the tension between concern for my son and for what was liable to happen,’ he said. He shouted to an officer who was standing 70 or 80 meters away to come. ‘I shouted in Hebrew, in English, in Arabic. If I knew any other language I would have shouted in that too.’ The officer came and held the soldier who was sprawled on the ground. When he stood up, the soldier kicked the women and the girl, hit Bassem with his rifle butt and threw a stun grenade.”
Mass nonviolence in the village – shown in repeated, weekly demonstrations – altered the course of the Wall, permitting villagers to reach and water more of their olive trees (some were cut off; the IDF “promised” people could cross the barricade to water them, but then allowed them but once a year…)
What Amira Haas describes – the diversion of the spring to the settlement Halamish was a crime that occurred three years before we visited but among the plethora, we weren’t told. In general, Israel takes all the Palestinian’s water and one can tell Palestinian houses because they have black water tanks on the roofs – to collect rain – as well as that they are comparatively meager and the sidewalks beside them broken. Walking in Jerusalem by the last playground before reaching the Wall, full of fancy new equipment for Israeli children onto the rubble sidewalk for Palestinians is a genuinely shocking experience, that of imprisonment in ghettos (as someone who has spent much of my life fighting Nazism, neo-Nazism and diverse forms of racism, this is, sadly, all too recognizable…).
But Nabi Saleh had its own spring…
Amira Hass names the Occupation armed robbery. Some in Israel like to content themselves with “not being as bad as the Nazis.” (Avraham Burg) But was not German policy in the ghettoes also armed robbery?
As a Jew, Amira Haas chooses to live in Occupied Palestine and tells the truth.
After the demonstration, Nariman and Ahed went to the hospital. So did Bassem and Nariman’s other son Salam who had been shot with a rubber bullet in the foot.
The day after Bassem and Nariman were arrested by the IDF. Nawal has been threatened (see the +972 article by Natasha Roth below).
In Amira’s second article – the third below – Nariman cites the Lockean, that is, self-defense response to Israeli violence (the Second Treatise underlines this point about OccupationTyranny). The Israeli papers, except Haaretz, accuse the women of violence for stopping the soldier. For he with his big machine gun grabbed the 12 year old boy with a cast on his arm and initiated the danger (and while he was wrestled off, nothing happened to him or his big gun…). He later said he did not realize he had grabbed a child (the film does not lie; perhaps, he is blind…):
“In the days since then [Bassem and Nariman] have hosted masses of journalists and friends. No official of the Palestinian Authority came. Between all the visits Bassem repeatedly read in amazement the reports in Hebrew about ‘the Palestinian women who attacked a Golani fighter.’ His wife Nariman refuted this version of events. ‘Now, when there are social networks, all the lies won’t help. The videos clearly show who the attacker is. We have the right to defend ourselves from the attacker.’
‘I don’t understand,’ added Ahed. ‘A rock is violence and a rifle is not violence?’”
An Israeli activist who was present trying to protect the lives of the Palestinians testifies that Mohammed did not have a rock (see the +972 article by Natasha Roth, fourth below). And the armed and masked Israeli soldiers, as Nariman too underlined, were hidden – setting out to trap demonstrators (from my own observations three years ago, the demonstrators are often spread out, when attacked, and very few throw rocks…).
As a Jew – along with Amira Hass, Anarchists against the Wall and many other decent Israelis – it is necessary to stand up for – stand with – the courageous nonviolent activists. The Occupation is odious. It reeks to heaven. As many young American Jews are, we all must stand with Boycott and Divestment (BDS)- note that the campaign just won a great victory with the withdrawal, after 7 years, of Veolia from its last investment in the Jerusalem rail line which links the Occupied Territories – East Jerusalem – to the West “for Jews only” – and supports all of the Israeli violence and ethnic cleansing – see here. We must use every nonviolent method to break the hold of Israel on American politics and fight for a decent solution, one that recognizes the Palestinians as fully human and not, as they are now, prisoners in a large open air concentration camp (h/t Tom Farer and Amira Hass)
“Armed robbery: The Israeli army’s policy in the West Bank
The much publicized video of an Israeli soldier choking a 12-year-old
boy show just one way in which the army terrorizes residents of
Palestinian villages in order to steal their land.
By Amira Hass | Sep. 2, 2015
The soldier who choked 12-year-old Mohammad Tamimi last week belongs
to the organization that carries out and ensures the continued armed
robbery of land in Nabi Saleh, employing various methods to terrorize
the residents. He is not the first and not the last; the armed robbery
is not conducted solely on the lands of this village, and the spring
at Nabi Saleh is not the only one in the West Bank taken over by
The praise the soldier received from his father and the media over the
“restraint” he showed mostly teaches us something about what has
happened to Israeli society. In the eyes of Israeli society, the
courageous behavior of a civilian confronting an armed soldier is
mutiny. To Israeli society a uniform and military ID card are
retroactive justification for firing, injuring and killing civilians,
including children. The noteworthy exception (both positively and
negatively) is he who “shows restraint.”
For the sake of the soldier and his parents we must hope that it was a
conscious decision to refrain from seeking the trigger of his rifle,
and not the numerous cameras around him that led to his restraint.
Nariman Tamimi, who like every sane mother struggled with him using
her fists to try to free her son, also discovered the child in the
soldier, and felt sad for him. The father, Bassem Tamimi, who saw the
soldier grab hold of his son and choke him, said about the theory of
restraint that it is “proof that everyone is appalled by the absence
of humanism. Therefore [the soldier’s father] is trying to present his
son’s behavior as the opposite of what it is — violence.”
Tamimi is the one who alerted the officer so that he could rescue the
soldier, and pull him out of the swamp in which the policy of armed
robbery had cast him. The Palestinian father worried about the life of
his own son, and at the same time worried about the wellbeing of the
soldier. He did not want any of the angry youths in the village to try
to harm the soldier who was, at that moment, the weakest link of this
same armed organization.
It was apparently the blondness of the family that triggered the
memory of the Israeli media, which recalled that the sister,
14-year-old Ahed, had “confronted” soldiers in the past. That time
they arrested her older brother, and her cries and screams did not get
him released. Israelis see seriality (a synonym for criminality) in
the family’s actions. Israelis have eyes but cannot see the true
criminal seriality in the theft of the spring and the land for the
good of the settlement “Halamish,” and the ban which prohibits the
village from building on a large part of its lands.[in fact, one should
add, the Occupation – an act of aggression and conquest – is, every
The Israeli media dealt a lot with the rocks the boy threw, or did not
throw. “I don’t understand,” said Ahed, who has experience with
journalists who cannot take their eyes off her blond curls. “A rock is
violence and a rifle is not violence?”
If there were no land theft and no settler-lords, there would be no
need for a rifle to enable the settlements to blossom and expand,
while the Israel Defense Forces’ Civil Administration disseminates
demolition orders and stop-work orders for houses in the Palestinian
village on whose land the settlements are built. And if there were no
rifles and soldiers to block access to the spring, there would not be
rocks. So simple really, just like it sounds.
The real problem is not the rocks but the fact that the burden of
holding demonstrations, the same modest and determined weekly reminder
that the armed robbery continues, falls on the shoulders of so few.
The raids of their houses, the arrests, the tear gas, the fear of
being injured and killed take their toll, said Nariman, who almost
four years ago lost her brother (a Palestinian police officer, who by
the way did not throw rocks and did not fire): An Israeli soldier shot
him in the back, killing him.
At the demonstration in his memory, a soldier shot her with live
ammunition and wounded her seriously in her leg, while she was
filming. She admits the individual struggle is tiring. “We did not
choose this publicity or this status. It is clear that if more people
would join us, the struggle would be heard more and gain strength.”
For the full video, see http://www.imemc.org/article/72838 or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh8cD__wnC0
Video: Women of Nabi Saleh unmask, remove Israeli soldier as he attacks an injured child
A radical scene unfolded Friday after Israeli forces intercepted the weekly protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, Palestine against the illegal confiscation of their land and spring. The courageous actions of the Tamimi women of Nabi Saleh rescuing their captured child spread immediately on social media after the UK’s Daily Mail published a series of breathtaking photographs taken at the scene. The event was captured on video by Bilal Tamimi and Royal News TV.
The boy has a cast on his left arm. The soldier briefly loosens his chokehold before tightening his grip again.
The struggling continues over the wild screams of the boy. The soldier, ironically gasping for breath, yells out at the top of his lungs – calling for assistance from his comrade forces – unable to pull off this arrest of the boy on his own. He adjusts his rifle, pulls back the boy’s good arm and shoves the boy’s face towards the boulder, then stands and tries lifting the boy up from under the child’s armpits as the boy’s arms and cast fly into the air he lets out a painful scream. The soldier struggles to contain the squirming writhing boy who’s wildly kicking his legs into the air.
And then the Tamimi women of Nabi Saleh descend on the soldier.
They plunge down on the soldier, pulling him off the child (2: 05). He thrusts them off and struggle ensues, he tackles the boy again as women and girls proceed yanking his limbs, beating his head, biting him, slapping him (while the soldier is yelling for backup), mounting his back, putting a chokehold on his neck, ripping his mask and finally tearing it off his face, unmasking him completely (2:52). Other soldiers enter into the scene and rescue him from the Tamimi women of Nabi Saleh. The boy is fighting him off the whole time.
Note the last scene of the video. The humiliated, defeated soldier draws a teargas canister, arms it, and throws it to the ground.
Many more photos here.
Amira Hass :The Palestinian Family That Fought a Soldier to Save Their Son
On Sunday afternoon Nariman Tamimi repeated her answer for probably the thousandth time, telling yet another journalist that she had done the natural thing when on August 28 she ran to rescue her 12-year-old son Mohammad from the grip of an Israel Defense Forces soldier at the demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. To say she “ran” is an exaggeration, as she was hobbling on crutches.
On November 21 of last year, an IDF soldier shot her, wounding her left shin as she was filming soldiers dispersing the weekly demonstration in the village. That same demonstration marked the second anniversary of the death of her brother, Rushdie, whom an IDF soldier shot in the back and killed. An IDF investigation found that on that day the soldiers had fired about 80 bullets, with no justification, to disperse a protest in the village.
When Nariman heard her son’s screams and began limping towards him as fast as she could between the boulders and the thistles, she was thinking about one thing only: What would happen to his broken arm? Last Wednesday, military jeeps drove into the village. Youngsters threw stones at them in protest, the soldiers fired tear gas and people, among them Mohammad who was shopping at the grocery store, fled the gas. He tripped, breaking his left arm.
Because of Nariman’s difficulty walking she cannot join the weekly demonstrations in which Nabi Saleh inhabitants demand their right to return to their fresh water spring, which the settlers from Halamish took over. She was standing on the hilltop overlooking the spring, the road and the settlement. From there she was watching the demonstration.
About 25 people participated in it, among them several Israelis and solidarity activists from abroad. The soldiers blocked their path halfway there, fired tear gas grenades at them and locked the iron gate at the entrance to the road. They drove in jeeps towards the spring and the soldiers who emerged from the vehicles started climbing the hill and from there continued to fire tear gas at the demonstrators, related Bassem Tamimi, Nariman’s husband.
Youngsters from the village gathered at the top of the hill and threw stones at the soldiers (Nariman was standing some distance away from them and was filming with her mobile phone). “Suddenly,” she recalled, “more than 20 armed and masked soldiers appeared near the youngsters. They were lightly dressed, without flak vests or helmets.”
People assume that the soldiers had secretly stationed themselves in a nearby villa on the hilltop late the night before. “There was chaos, people started dispersing in every direction. And then we saw the soldiers assaulting and beating up an Italian citizen who was filming,” related Bassem.
He and others ran to rescue the Italian (who was under arrest until last Monday). And then they noticed that they were also arresting Nariman’s cousin Mahmoud Tamimi (who is still under arrest). Suddenly they heard the sound of a boy screaming and the voice of their relative, Bilal, shouting at them to come quickly.
Ahed, the 14-year-old daughter of Bassem and Nariman, was the first to reach the source of the screaming. She saw a masked soldier gripping her brother Mohammad and wrapping an arm around his neck.
“I was there and I was watching the soldiers and the youngsters,” related Mohammad. “Suddenly I saw a soldier coming to grab me. I tried to run away but he caught me. He strangled me with one arm, held my head and pushed it down on the boulder. Of course I was afraid.”
Ahed, his sister, says she wasn’t afraid when she ran towards the soldier in order to detach him from her brother. “When things are happening,” she said, “you don’t feel fear.”
After Ahed arrived at the scene, her mother, aunt and father followed. “I saw the soldier strangling my son, shoving him onto the boulder, holding his head and beating it on the boulder. Violence that’s hard to describe,” said Bassem. Together the mother, sister and aunt grabbed the soldier from all sides in order to tear him off the frightened boy. When the armed soldier held out a hand to push Ahed away, she grabbed it and bit it.
Nonetheless, Nariman felt sad for the soldier. “He is a victim of the policy; he himself is a child,” she observed, “but he should ask himself why he is being sent to our home to harm us.”
Bassem, who saw the other soldiers far from their comrade, became afraid that some of the Palestinian youngsters would get closer, the soldier would try to shoot them, someone would get hurt and the youngsters would try to take revenge on the soldier. “I was caught up in the tension between concern for my son and for what was liable to happen,” he said. He shouted to an officer who was standing 70 or 80 meters away to come. “I shouted in Hebrew, in English, in Arabic. If I knew any other language I would have shouted in that too.” The officer came and held the soldier who was sprawled on the ground. When he stood up, the soldier kicked the women and the girl, hit Bassem with his rifle butt and threw a stun grenade.
The parents feared that Mohammad’s broken arm had been hurt again and started to move down towards the center of the village to find transportation to a hospital. “The soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets at us,” related Bassem. “Suddenly Salam [their younger son, seven years old] screamed. It turned out he had been injured in his leg. I carried him and Yonatan [leftwing activist Jonathan Pollak] held Mohammad and Naji [another relative]carried Ahed, who because of the beating from the soldier couldn’t walk. We looked for an ambulance.” At the hospital in Ramallah it turned out that Salam’s toe was broken, but Mohammad’s broken arm had not been further injured. Everyone suffered a bit from bruises.
In the days since then they have hosted masses of journalists and friends. No official of the Palestinian Authority came. Between all the visits Bassem repeatedly read in amazement the reports in Hebrew about “the Palestinian women who attacked a Golani fighter.” His wife Nariman refuted this version of events. “Now, when there are social networks, all the lies won’t help. The videos clearly show who the attacker is. We have the right to defend ourselves from the attacker.”
“I don’t understand,” added Ahed. “A rock is violence and a rifle is not violence?”