Friday, December 28, 2012

13 year old Palestinian girl, Ah'd Tamimi, wins Hanzala Award for Courage.

 Dear friends,
Ah'd Tamimi, the daughter of my friends Bassem and Nariman Tamimi from the village of Nabi Saleh has just been awarded the Hanzala Courage Award in Turkey.

Many of you will have seen photos of Ah'd and other children from Nabi Saleh regularly challenging Israeli occupation forces who invade the village and terrorise the residents on a regular basis.  

Ah'd comes from a family of activists who have refused to be cowered by the Israeli state and/or the Israeli military.  Her father, mother and siblings actively take part in Nabi Saleh's popular unarmed resistance against Israel's occupation and apartheid politics.

Ah'd's father, Bassem, is currently in prison for participating in and leading non-violent civil disobedience actions against Israel's occupation and apartheid system.  Bassem spent a year in prison for being a leader of the non-violent struggle in Nabi Saleh and has been imprisoned again for participating in the first BDS action carried out in an illegal Israeli colony in the occupied Palestinian Territories.  

Ah'd's mother, Nariman, has been also been arrested several times for her non-violent activism against Israel's occupation and apartheid policies.   Earlier this year, A'hd's brother was also arrested and detained by the Israeli military. 

On 17 November (2012), Ah'd's uncle, Rushdi Tamimi was killed by Israeli Occupation Forces who shot him during an unarmed protest in Nabi Saleh in opposition to Israel's recent assault on Gaza.  At the time, IOF soldiers invaded the village using extensive force, firing live ammunition, rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas. 

Ah'd, along with the other children of Nabi Saleh and Palestine, show amazing courage every single day in the face of a brutal occupation and apartheid regime. 

Please find below, a news article from Time's Turkish online magazine about A'hd's award.

in solidarity, 
Kim


A'hd receiving award in Turkey

Palestinian girl gets courage award


Ahed Tamimi who challenged the Israeli soldiers that had arrested her brother was awarded with 'Handala Courage Award'.


27December 2012

Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi who challenged the Israeli soldiers that had arrested her brother was awarded with "Handala Courage Award" in Istanbul on Wednesday.


Visiting Turkey as being the guest of Basaksehir Municipality of Istanbul, 13-year-old Tamimi attended a series of events ahead of the award ceremony and opened an art exhibition titled "Being children in Palestine".


She thanked Turkish children for welcoming her as she was one of them, and called on the Palestinian children to stand tall, at the ceremony.


Tamimi said she was proud to get the Handala award which would enhance her strength. She said she showed her fist to the soldier and thought she could make Palestine free.

Answering questions of AA correspondent, Tamimi said she would like to be a lawyer in order to contribute to the Palestinian issue.


Handala Courage Award, handed out by the Basaksehir Municipality, was named after the cartoon character Handala created by Palestinian cartoonist Naji Salim al-Ali noted for the political criticism of the Arab regimes and Israel in his works.


Handala, a 10-year-old boy, became an icon of Palestinian identity and defiance. (aa)



 Ah'd attempting to stop the arrest of her mother, Nariman.
Ah'd arguing with an Israel soldier after her 15 year old brother Wa'ad was arrested for participating in an unarmed demonstration against the occupation in their village.  A week earlier A'hd's father Bassem had been arrested for participating in a non-violent BDS action in an illegal Israeli colony/

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Australian Activists: Don't Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas

Dear friends,
please find below my article which appeared on Mondoweiss about the Melbourne "Don't Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas" action.

Mondoweiss have embedded the shorter of the two videos from the action.  While I have posted up these videos before, I will embedded both videos again with the article so people do not have to go searching for the earlier post.

in solidarity, Kim 

**
Australian Activists: Don't Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas

by Kim Bullimore: Mondoweiss: 17 December 2012



On December 7, more than 140 Palestine solidarity activists and human rights supporters in Melbourne staged a peaceful BDS action as part of the "Don't Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas" national week of action around Australia.  The Melbourne action was organised by Students for Palestine and supported by the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (Melbourne).



Palestine solidarity activists sang Christmas Carols, which had been adapted to reflect the situation faced by Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and apartheid, to encourage Christmas shoppers to think about the oppressive conditions faced by Palestinians and to encourage them to join the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in support of the Palestinian people. 

Joining the “festive” spirit at Melbourne’s City Square, where a huge Christmas tree and Nativity setting are located, Palestine solidarity “carolers” sang a version of “Ode to Joy” and John Lennon’s “So this is Christmas”.  Jeremy Gibson and Patrick Alves from Students for Palestine noted the similarities between the struggles of the Palestinian people and the struggle of Indigenous Australian, acknowledging Aboriginal ownership of the land and giving respect to Aboriginal elders past and present.

Owen Cosgriff from Students for Palestine also noted that if the “three wise men” of the Nativity “were to try and follow the star to Bethlehem in this day and age that they would find themselves detained at one or multiple checkpoints in the West Bank”.  He went on to point out that this was the lived daily reality for Palestinians who continue to live under  Israel’s brutal military occupation.  Cosgriff noted that the caroling action hoped to highlight that at Christmas time when many people were out doing their Christmas shopping and there were songs being sung about peace and good will to everyone, that the suffering of Palestinians does not stop in the West Bank and Gaza. 

Palestine solidarity activists then took their “caroling” to the streets of the Melbourne CBD, singing renditions of “Little Drummer Boy” and “I wish you a Merry Christmas”.  Outside the Myer Christmas windows in Bourke Street Mall, Jo Mettam from the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid in Melbourne, announced the launch of the group’s new SodaStream BDS campaign, which will commence later this month.   

Mettam noted that SodaStream, which is sold widely by many Australian retailers, is the largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of Home Carbonation Systems and has its main production plant in Mishor Adumim, an industrial zone located in the illegal Israeli colony of Ma'ale Adumim in the Occupied West Bank.  She went onto explain that as a settlement factory, SodaStream receives regular tax benefits/breaks from the Israeli government and employ Palestinians under exploitative labour conditions.   

The peaceful action then made its way to one of the two Max Brenner Chocolate shops located in Melbourne city.  Early this year, in July, sixteen Palestine solidarity activists who had been arrested at a pro-boycott demonstration outside of Max Brenner in 2011 had charges of“trespassing” and “besetting” dismissed against them.  The solidarity activists had been arrested on July 1, 2011 at a peaceful protest organised by the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, which sought to highlight the complicity of the company Max Brenner Chocolate and its parent company, the Strauss Group, in Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies.

The Strauss Group, which owns Max Brenner, is one of Israel’s largest food and beverage companies. On its website, the Strauss Group has highlighted its support for the Israeli military, providing care packages, books, games and sports and recreational equipment for soldiers. In particular, Strauss has boasted of its support for the Golani and Givati brigades, who have a long record of human rights abuses against Palestinians and in Lebanon.  Both brigades were heavily involved in Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 2008-09 assault on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the killing of approximately 1,400 Palestinians, including approximately 350 children.

Similar "Don't Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas" activities and solidarity actions will be taking place in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane as part of the national week of solidarity between 8-15 December.




Saturday, December 8, 2012

Don't Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas 2012

Dear friends,
On December 7 in Melbourne, Palestine solidarity activists and human rights supporters staged a peaceful BDS action as part of a national week of action, "Don't Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas".

Palestine solidarity activists sang Christmas Carols, which had been adapted to reflect the situation faced by Palestinians living under occupation and apartheid, to encourage Christmas shoppers to think about the oppressive situation faced by Palestinians and to join the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in support of the Palestinian people.

Please find below some photos and the video I shot of the action.

In solidarity,
Kim 



Don't Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas - full version (11 mins)


No profit for Israeli apartheid - short version (4 mins)










Sunday, December 2, 2012

Photo Essay: Solidarity with Gaza and the Palestinian people - Melbourne (23 November 2012)

Dear friends,
Please find below (albeit a little late) photos from the November 23 Palestine solidarity rally in Melbourne.  Over 1000 people marched in support of the people of Palestine, opposing Israel's assault on Gaza.  

Palestinian activist, Moammar Mashni from Australians for Palestine who co-chaired the rally, along with Vashti Kenway from Students for Palestine, read out an email from one of the Norwegian doctor working in Shifa hospital in Gaza giving a first hand account of the impact of Israel's assault on the Palestinian population in Gaza.

Speaking at the rally in support of the Palestinian people were: Aboriginal elder, Robbie Thorpe; Luke Kilihari, Victorian Trades Hall Council; Senator Scott Ludlum (Greens); Peter Slezak, Australian Independent Jewish Voices; Palestinian activist, Enas Sammak; Josh K from Jews against Israeli Apartheid.

The rally took place one day after the announcement of the so-called "ceasefire".  However, despite this, supporters of the Palestinian people, in Melbourne and around the world, still came out onto the streets in large numbers because they recognised that the so-called "ceasefire" did not mean an end to Israel's violence against Palestinians. Instead, Israel's violence would continue in the form of the siege and occupation of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Between the end of Operation Cast Lead and the beginning of this assault on Gaza, Israel killed 270 Palestinians in Gaza and 43 in the West Bank.  In the last week, since the "ceasefire" was announced, Israel has continued to break it and fire on unarmed Palestinians, killing at least two people. 

Now more than ever, it is important to continue to take a stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and your local Palestinian solidarity group and/or the Palestinian BDS campaign.

In solidarity, Kim  




Robbie Thorpe, Aboriginal elder speaks in solidarity with the Palestinian people.  Robbie noted the similarities between the struggle of Indigenous Australians and the people of Palestine.  He was joined by other members of the Aboriginal community at the front of the rally.

more than 1000 supporters of Palestine and human rights gathered at the 
State Library of Victoria to oppose Israel's assault on Gaza.












Monday, November 19, 2012

First West Bank Martyr in Demonstrations Against the Assault on Gaza

Dear friends,
terrible news from of Nabi Saleh, a village I have many friends in and have worked closely with. 

On Saturday, the IOF opened fire with live ammunition and rubber coated steel bullets against unarmed demonstrators in Nabi Saleh protesting Israel's assault on Gaza.  Rushdi Tamimi (31) was shot and died in hospital on Monday. Rushdi is the second martyr killed in the village. In December 2011, 28 year old Mustafa Tamimi died as a result of being hit in the head by a high velocity tear gas canister fired from less than a meter away from an IOF jeep.

Please find below footage of the demonstration shoot by my friend Boshra Tamimi and also the media release issued by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.

With the Israel's assault on Gaza and the murder of almost 80 people including many women and children, as well as the murder of Rushdi Tamimi in Nabi Saleh, it is more important now than ever to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.  We have a choice either to feel helpless in the face of Israel's brutality or to make our voices heard and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Please join the rallies in your city in support of the people of Gaza and opposing Israel's assault.  

Please also get involved in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.  

in solidarity, Kim

***

video

video by Boshra Tamimi


First West Bank Martyr in Demonstrations Against The Assault on Gaza

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.”  

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.

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 2012, the Israeli Army has carried 98 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 98, 31 were minors. Dozens more were detained for shorter periods. Two of the village's protest leaders – Bassem and Naji Tamimi – arrested on protest-organizing related charges, were recognized by the European Union as human rights defenders. Bassem Tamimi was also declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, recently denounced his conviction by an Israeli military court and Human Rights Watch warned that he did not receive a fair trial.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Death in Gaza, lies from Israel

Dear friends,
please find below my latest article on Israel's assault on Gaza.  The article seeks to address the blatant lies and propaganda being touted by Israel in an attempt to justify its current attack on Palestinian civilians in Gaza.  

The article also includes an interview with my good friend, Dr Mosheer Amer, who lives in Khan Younis with his family.  Mosheer is a Palestinian academic and recently helped organised the conference which brought Noam Chomsky to Gaza for the first time.  In the interview he briefly discusses the situation on the ground in Gaza in the first 24 hours and explain the immediate political background to the current assault on Gaza.

In solidarity, Kim 

****

Death in Gaza, lies from Israel
by Kim Bullimore: 16 November 2012: Socialist Alternative Magazine


Jihad Mishawari mourns his 11 month old son killed by Israel in Gaza
Since Wednesday Israel has carried out a massive bombing campaign against two million people trapped in the Gaza Strip. At the time of writing, 33 Palestinians, including six children, are reported killed. In addition, at least 250 civilians have been wounded. According to the Israeli military, at least 800 air strikes have now been carried out in the attack – named Operation Pillar of Cloud
Throughout the invasion, Israeli officials have repeatedly promoted the lie that Hamas is the aggressor and that Israel is acting in “self defence”. For example, Australian born Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told Channel 10 News on the second day of the assault: “Our operation is primarily defensive; if Hamas wasn't shooting these rockets into Israel we wouldn't be doing anything today.” The facts, however, contradict Regev and Israel’s claim.
Since 2007, Gaza has remained under Israeli siege and blockade. And in the period between Operation Cast Lead (which cost some 1,400 Palestinian lives in December 2008-January 2009) and Operation Pillar of Cloud, Israel has killed more than 270 Palestinian in Gaza, including at least 28 children. According to figures from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, during this same period no Israeli civilians were killed as a result of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza. B’Tselem notes that in addition to those Palestinians killed in Gaza, a further 43 were killed in the Occupied West Bank, where 14 Israeli settlers and 1 Israeli policeman were also killed.
The current assault on Gaza, which formally began on Wednesday, was preceded by a number of attacks by the Israeli military. On November 8, the Israelis killed a twelve year old Palestinian child who was playing soccer. In response, Palestinian resistance fighters blew up a tunnel along the Gaza–Israel frontier. The explosion resulted in one Israeli soldier being injured. On November 10, Israel fired artillery shells into the Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinian children aged sixteen and seventeen. Two more Palestinian civilians were killed and 24 others were wounded when Israel fired on a mourning tent set up for the funeral for one of the boys. On the same day, resistance fighters blew up an Israeli military jeep on the Israeli-Gaza border injuring four Israeli soldiers. Israel continued to carry out attacks against Palestinian civilians, which resulted in one death and a dozen more injured on November 11.
On 12 November, Palestinian factions agreed to a truce if Israel stopped its attack on Gaza. However, two days after the factions agreed to the truce, Israel unilaterally broke the agreement by carrying out an illegal targeted assassination against Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades. Israel has repeatedly claimed that the assassination was a “surgical” strike. However, at least eight civilians were killed in the Israeli assassination of Jabari, including two children.
There is nothing new about Israel’s conduct. According to a study conducted by American and Israeli academics, Nancy Kanwisher, Johannes Haushofer, and Anat Biletzki, Israel has displayed a pattern of unilateral attack. Their 2009 study, which examined 25 periods of non-violence between Israel and the Palestinian resistance, revealed that Israel repeatedly initiated violence. Between 2000 and 2008, Israel “unilaterally interrupted…96 percent of the ceasefire period, and it unilaterally interrupted 100 percent of the 14 periods of non-violence lasting more than 9 days”. Writing in the Huffington Post in January 2009 at the height of Operation Cast Lead, Kanwisher noted that “it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week”.
In 2008, as with today, Israel broke a ceasefire period in order to justify carrying out Operation Cast Lead. Between June and November 2008, Hamas had abided by and enforced a four-month ceasefire. However, on November 4 Israel launched a military strike, saying that it was targeting tunnels along the Gaza-Israel frontier. Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the death of one Palestinian, brought an end to the ceasefire. A month later, claiming “self defence”, Israel invaded.
In an interview from Gaza, Palestinian academic Dr. Mosheer Amer told me on 15 November that “What we see here represents a pattern too familiar for those observe the situation here: the Israeli army first starts attacking resistance fighters which in turn provokes Palestinian response.” Amer, who lives in Khan Younis with his family, also noted that the current assault on Gaza was closely tied to domestic politics in Israel:
“This particular…escalation coincides with the coming Israeli elections and of course the present right wing Israeli government wants to score elections points with the Israeli electorate by showing that it is strong and tough with the Palestinians.”
When asked about the situation on the ground in Gaza, Dr Amer said: “Things are tense, people are huddled in their homes and following the news, the ground operation has not begun yet, but Israeli drones and fighter jets haven’t left Gaza’s skies, [and there is] frequent bombardments everywhere in Gaza.” He also noted that people were also stockpiling whatever food they could access, as well as petrol for use in electricity generators. Despite the current devastation being rained on Gaza by Israel, Amer remains defiant:
“The Palestinian people will never back down and raise white flags because they are fighting for their freedom and dignity…the Palestinian people look to their brothers and sisters in humanity for support to continue and stand hand in hand in the struggle for freedom, dignity and human rights which Israel deprived them”.
Kim is a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and is a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service – the only all women international peace team working on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She writes regularly on the Palestine-Israel conflict and has a blog atlivefromoccupiedpalestine.blogspot.com.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

400 attend "snap" action in Melbourne and call for an end to Israel's bombing of Gaza

Dear friends,
on 17 November, approximately 400 people attend a snap action in Melbourne to protest Israel's bombing of Gaza.  The protest called for an end to the bombing, end to Australian support for Israel, an end to Israel's occupation and apartheid policies and support for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions campaign against Israel.

Please find below some photos from the demonstration.  

A second demonstration against Israel's attacks on Gaza is being planned for Melbourne to be held on Friday, 23 November at 6pm at the State Library of Victoria.

in solidarity,
Kim



Above and below: 400 Melbourne protesters occupy city intersection, shutting down traffic for a short period of time. Protesters call for an end to Israel's bombing of Gaza and Australian support for Israel 



Melbourne protestors march through city

 Melbourne protests marching to the Victorian State Library - call for an end to Israel's assault on Gaza



Protesters at the steps of the State Library of Victoria 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bassem Tamimi sentenced to 4 months imprisonment for non-violent BDS activism in the Occupied West Bank


Dear friends,as you will be aware, my friend Bassem Tamimi was recently arrested for participating in a non-violent BDS action in a settlement in the Occupied West Bank.  Bassem received 3 broken ribs and has been sentenced to four months imprisonment in an Israeli military occupation prison.  Amnesty International has recognised Bassem as a "prisoner of conscience".   

Please find below a video from Amnesty International about Bassem's arrest and includes an interview with Palestinian activist Nariman Tamimi, who is also Bassem's wife and Bassem before his arrest.  Also below is a report from +972 on Bassem's sentencing.  For more information on Bassem's arrest see my earlier posts.

Keep up to date with what is happening in Nabi Saleh by joining the Nabi Saleh Solidarity page on Facebook  here or visiting the Nabi Saleh Solidarity web blog here.

In solidarity, Kim
**

BASSEM TAMIMI SENTENCED TO FOUR MONTHS IMPRISONMENT


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.
By Alon Aviram: +972 Magazine: 6 November 2012
Bassem Tamimi arrested at the Rami Levy supermarket protest (credit: ActiveStils)
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 percentof 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.”

Saturday, November 3, 2012

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

Dear friends,
news has just come through that Israeli Occupation Forces arrested Wa'ed Tamimi yesterday.  

Wa'ed is 16 years old and he is the son of my friends, Bassem and Nariman Tamimi. Wa'ed is an amazing young man and like the rest of his family, Wa'ed is active in the popular non-violent resistance to Israel's occupation. 

Two weeks ago, as you will be aware, his father Bassem was arrested by the IOF for his participation in the first BDS action in the West Bank against an Israeli settlement (see my earlier posts). 

Amnesty International who issued a statement earlier this week about the arrest of Bassem has now also issued a statement about Wa'ed arrest.  Please find it below. 

The arresting of Palestinian children is a regular ploy used by the Israeli Occupation Forces in order to try and intimidate Palestinian activists and Palestinian communities. See my earlier articles and blogs on this both on Palestine Chronicle (here and here) and on this blog (here).

As soon as more news come to hand about both Bassem and Wa'ed I will let you all know. In the meantime please share the widely with your networks the two statements by Amnesty International and raise awareness of the situation being faced not only by the Tamimi family, but also the whole Palestinian community Nabi Saleh and Palestine as a result of Israel occupation and apartheid policies.

If you are not already involved in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, please consider getting involved and take a stand in support of Palestinian human rights and self-determination.

In solidarity, 
Kim

****
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 Saleh 
Israeli 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.

Children from Nabi Saleh try to block an Israeli military jeep after it stormed into the village, arresting 5 activists, amongst them a 15 year old Palestinian boy, the brother of 2 of the children seen in the photo, during the weekly demonstration against the occupation in Nabi Saleh, West bank, November 2, 2012. 
Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

Amnesty International: Israeli authorities must release Palestinian prisoner of conscience in West Bank

 Dear friends,
earlier this week, Amnesty International issued a statement in support of Bassem Tamimi, demanding Israel release him. Please find the details below.

in solidarity, Kim
 **

Amnesty International: Israeli authorities must release Palestinian prisoner of conscience in West Bank

by Amnesty International: 1 November 2012

Nariman Tamimi, Bassem's wife said that "the police were brutal" during his arrestNariman Tamimi, Bassem’s wife said that “the police were brutal” during his arrest

"Once again, Bassem Tamimi is being held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly. We believe he is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally"
Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Programme Director
Thu, 01/11/2012
The Israeli military authorities must end their campaign of harassment, intimidation and arbitrary detention against a Palestinian activist in the occupied West Bank, Amnesty International said.
Bassem Tamimi, who has been detained since his arrest at non-violent protest against the encroachment of Israeli settlers onto Palestinian land last week, faces a further prison sentence after appearing before the Ofer Military Court on Wednesday.

“Once again, Bassem Tamimi is being held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly. We believe he is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

Tamimi was arrested on 24 October following a non-violent demonstration in a supermarket in Sha’ar Benjamin settlement north of Ramallah. More than 100 protesters had gathered to call for an end to the occupation and a boycott of all Israeli products.

He faces charges of assaulting a police officer, participation in an unlicensed demonstration, and activity against the public order.

If convicted of either of the latter two “offences”, he will also have to serve one or more suspended sentences from a previous trial: two months for participation in an unlicensed demonstration, and 17 months for “activity against the public order”.

After viewing footage of the protest, the military judge ruled that he should be released to house arrest for the duration of legal proceedings. The military prosecution is appealing this decision, and he remains at Ofer prison.

Tamimi was previously sentenced in May 2012 to 13 months in prison for his role in organizing regular non-violent protests against Israeli settlements in the West Bank. At the time, Amnesty International considered him to be a prisoner of conscience, and called for his immediate and unconditional release.

The establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank violates international humanitarian law.


Violent arrest
According to eyewitness and media reports, as the protesters left the supermarket on 24 October they were beaten by Israeli police and security forces who also fired stun grenades.
Bassem’s wife Nariman Tamimi attended the protest and told Amnesty International: “The police were brutal during the arrest. They threw Bassem on the ground and pressed him down while putting the cuffs on his hands. Anyone who tried to approach them was beaten up. The police seemed scared and nervous. They wanted to make arrests fast.”

Despite the police use of unnecessary and excessive force, the military prosecution has charged Bassem Tamimi with assault, based on the testimony of one police officer who alleges that the activist hit him on the hand.

Amnesty International spoke to witnesses and reviewed numerous videos from the protest, and found no evidence that he or the other protesters used violence. Tamimi is committed to non-violent resistance and has a long record of peaceful protest. Another Palestinian protester, now released on bail, faces similar charges.

Tamimi managed to contact his wife after his arrest.

“He still had his phone with him, he told me that he was in a cell somewhere, and he said that he felt like there was something broken in chest, he said ‘I cannot move or breathe and I am very tired’. Then they took the phone away so we could not talk more,” she told Amnesty International.

Encroachment of settlers
Bassem Tamimi is from the West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, 21km northwest of Ramallah.
In July 2008 Israeli settlers from nearby Halamish began to use the Qaws spring, which is on al-Nabi Saleh land and used to irrigate crops there and in the nearby village of Deir Nitham. In February 2009 settlers began to build structures on the spring site.
The Palestinians complained that settlers were building on private Palestinian land, and that the work damaged other property including trees. Israeli police routinely close Palestinian complaints against settlers due to “lack of evidence”.

Israel’s Civil Administration, the military body which controls most of the West Bank, prohibits Palestinians from visiting the Qaws spring site in groups and on Fridays, while settlers are allowed unfettered access.

Ongoing demonstrations
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 or 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 Saleh 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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Palestinian Activist, Bassem Tamimi, Faces Another Imprisonment



Dear friends,
last week as you will be aware, Palestinian activists carried out the first BDS picket against an Israeli supermarket located in an illegal settlement in the Occupied West Bank.  The non-violent protesters were violently beaten and attacked by Israeli Occupation Forces and 4 were arrested, including my friend Bassem Tamimi from the village of An Nabi Saleh.  
Bassem spent 1 year in prison for the "crime" of non-violent activism and he now remains in prison with 3 broken ribs and is now facing another imprisonment for his non-violent activism.  
Please find below a media release from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee on Bassem's arrest and detention.
For more information and updates on Nabi Saleh visit the Nabi Saleh Solidarity webpage here  or join the Nabi Saleh Solidarity page on Facebook here.

In solidarity,
Kim
***
 
Media Alert: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Palestinian Activist, Bassem Tamimi, Faces Another Imprisonment

Tamimi, who was released last march after spending 13 months in prison for organizing demonstrations, was re-arrested last week at a protest and may face 17 months.
When: Wednesday, October, 31, 2012 at 10am
Where: Ofer military court
Media contact: Abir Kopty +972-54-6782420
Bassem Tamimi, 45, a Palestinian protest organizer and grassroots activist from the village of Nabi Saleh, was arrested last Wednesday, October 24, during a demonstration inside Sha’ar Benyamin settlement, east of Ramallah.
As the demonstration came to an end, several Israeli police officers violently detained Tamimi, breaking three of his ribs in the process. He was subsequently interrogated on participating in an unauthorized demonstration and assault of a police officer.
During his latest prison stint, which ended only in March, Tamimi was recognized as a human rights defender by the European Union and pronounced a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. He was convicted of protest-organizing related charges, and sentenced to 13 months of imprisonment, as well as a 17-month suspended sentence that now looms over his head.
Tamimi's arrest has already been extended twice by a military judge, who denied him bail, “because of his burdening past, pending suspended sentence and recent imprisonment”. An indictment against Tamimi will be filed tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Ofer Military Court by the Israeli Military Prosecution, which is expected to petition to extend Tamimi's remand until the end of legal proceedings against him.
Nariman Tamimi, Bassem's wife, said today, “According to military law, Palestinians don't have a right to demonstrate – all protest is illegal. An Israeli military judge told my husband that if he exercises his right to protest again, he will spend 17 months in prison. Well, he wouldn't sit quietly at home, and now they want to try and punish him for that”.
Background
Bassem Tamimi’s previous detention spanned between March 2011 to March 2012. He was indicted on protest-organizing charges, and has spent 13 months in jail. His trial has shed light on systematic violations of Palestinian minors' right during police interrogations, and the use of their coerced confession to persecute political leadership.

Tamimi has been recognized by the European Union as a human rights defender and recently pronounced a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

During the course of Tamimi's trial, new evidence has emerged, including first hand verification given by a military commander of disproportional use of force by the army in response to peaceful demonstrations, as well as police admittal of systematic violations of Palestinian minors' rights during police interrogations, when a police interrogator who questioned both material witnesses against Tamimi, said on the stand that in his 25 years as an officer, he cannot recall a single time in which a Palestinian minor was allowed the presence of his parents during questioning.
Personal Background
Bassem Tamimi is a veteran Palestinian grassroots activist from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah. He is married to Nariman Tamimi, with whom he fathers four children - Wa’ed (16), Ahed (12), Mohammed (10) and Salam (7).

As a veteran activist, Tamimi has been arrested by the Israeli army 11 times to date, though he was never convicted of any offense. Tamimi spent roughly three years in administrative detention, with no charges brought against him. Furthermore, his attorney and he were denied access to “secret evidence” brought against him.

In 1993, Tamimi was falsely arrested on suspicion of having murdered an Israeli settler in Beit El - an allegation of which he was cleared of entirely. During his weeks-long interrogation, he was severely tortured by the Israeli Shin Bet in order to draw a coerced confession from him. During his interrogation, and as a result of the torture he underwent, Tamimi collapsed and had to be evacuated to a hospital, where he laid unconscious for seven days. As a result of the wounds caused by torture, Tamimi was partially paralyzed for several months after his release from the hospital.

At the opening of his previous trial, on June 5, 2011, Tamimi proudly owned up to organizing protests in the village. In a defiant speech before the court he said, "I organized these peaceful demonstrations to defend our land and our people." Tamimi also challenged the legitimacy of the very system which trys him, saying that "Despite claiming to be the only democracy in the Middle East you are trying me under military laws [...] that are enacted by authorities which I haven't elected and do not represent me." (See here for Tamimi's full statement).

As one of the organizers of the Nabi Saleh protests and coordinator of the village's popular committee, Tamimi has been the target of harsh treatment by the Israeli army. Since demonstrations began in the village, his house has been raided and ransacked numerous times, his wife was twice arrested and two of his sons were injured; Wa'ed was hospitalized for five days when a rubber-coated bullet penetrated his leg and Mohammed was injured by a tear-gas projectile that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder.

Shortly after demonstrations in the village began, the Israeli Civil Administration served ten demolition orders to structures located in Area C, Tamimi's house was one of them, despite the fact that part of the house was built in 1965 and the rest in 2005.