Beatings, Arrests, Injuries and Intimidation Continues in Nabi Saleh

Dozens of villagers and Israeli and international activists demonstrated in Nabi Saleh, many hiking through the mountains to join the villagers since the village and surrounding area was made into a ‘closed military zone’ by the Israeli military at 9 am and shut with the new gate (one of two) that was installed earlier this week.

New gate installed at the enterance to Nabi Saleh

This week the villagers decided to pray on the mountain facing the settlement (instead of in the village mosque) before the demonstration began. When they gathered to pray, the Israeli military descended and ordered them to go inside their houses arguing that it was illegal for them to be outside of their houses when the village was a closed military zone. The villagers refused and non-violently staged a sit-in on the mountain until clashes broke out in the center of the village between the Israeli military and the youth, who were throwing stones and the Israeli soldiers left the mountain top.

During the clashes, the Isreali military shot tear gas directly at the youth, who threw tear gas canisters the army dropped back at the soldiers and broke the window of one of Israeli military’s jeeps. Several non-violent demonstrators made attempts to speak to the Israeli military and were sprayed with pepper spray directly in their faces. Dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation and three people were taken to the hospital, including a pregnant woman who suffered from tear gas that was shot directly into her house.

A Mother tries to protect her son as Israeli soldiers storm her home in an attempt to arrest him for throwing stones.

 

The Israeli military also occupied several houses and the holy shrine of the Prophet Saleh during the course of the day, entering one house after a 17 year old boy who they said they saw throwing stones, beating him and terrorizing his family as they resisted their entrance. They also arrested a seventeen year old boy and tried to arrest a twelve year old boy, who they said they saw throwing stones, but villagers and solidarity activists resisted his arrested and the Israeli military let him go. The arrest and torture of youth has heightened in the past week, with three children under the age of thirteen being arrested and tortured in an attempt to make them into collaborators.

 

The Israeli army arrests a young boy who they claim was throwing stones.

At the end of the day, the Israeli military beat Naji Tamimi, one of the leaders of the popular struggle in the village, punching him three times in the face as he tried to protect soldiers from entering his house. Before the Israeli army left the village, they surrounded it in a cloud of smoke shooting over 60 tear gas bombs on the village simultaniously.

Israeli military occupies the holy shrine of the prophet (nabi) Saleh and point a gun at villagers who try to defend the shrine.

There was no official press at the demonstration, making the situation incredibly dangerous for the demonstrators. The Israeli military repeatedly told activists and citizen journalists to not take pictures or video and threatened them with pepper spray for documenting their activities.

Photo Essay: West Bank Village, Nabi Saleh, Celebrates One Year of Popular Struggle

Last weekend I attended the one year celebration of the Popular Struggle in Nabi Saleh. Palestinians, Israelis and internationals joined together to celebrate one year of unarmed resistance by planting over 500 olive trees in the valley between the village and the settlement.

One year ago, the settlers, who already have built their homes on the villagers’ land, went outside of their settlement and stole one of two fresh water springs in the area by building around the spring and posting a sign dedicating it to a member of the settlement. In response, the villagers marched to the spring to reclaim it when a clash erupted between the villagers and the settlers. The settlers throwing stones at the Palestinians, and the Palestinians responding by burning part of the structure the settlers built around the spring (video here).

Since this initial incident, the villagers of Nabi Saleh, a tiny village outside of Ramallah, joined the Popular Struggle and started demonstrating weekly to try and reach the spring and reclaim their land. These weekly unarmed demonstrations have resulted in violent repression by the Israeli Army, dozens of people injured and imprisoned. There are weekly night raids by the Israeli Army in the village and several housing demolition orders have been issued over the course of the past year.

During the week, when the Palestinians can reach the spring by car, after five minutes of being at the spring, the Israeli Army comes from the base inside the Israeli settlement and forces them off the land. On the other hand, the Israeli Army consistently protects the settlers while they picnic and swim in the spring and has protected them as they expanded the settlement by planting trees on stolen land.

Palestinians West Bank Alison Ramer

Brothers from a Palestinian village spend a moment pining over their stolen land, one year after Israeli settlers stole their spring and expanded their settlement.

Alison Ramer Journalist Israel / Palestine

Palestinian children from Nabi Saleh cast shadows over images of the past year's struggle

Bassam Tamimi, a leader of the Popular Struggle in Nabi Saleh, addresses the crowd of 300 before leaving the center of the village for the farm lands across from the spring that was stolen by the settlers one year ago.

For the first time in fourteen years, a female Israeli activist joins the Palestinians in direct action.

One carries the roots of tomorrow, the other picks up the rootless rubbish of yesterday.

300 Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators descend on the valley between the Palestinian village and the settlement, which is located on their land.

Palestinians descend on their land between their village and the Israeli settlement.

Palestinian youth plants trees on the valley between his village and the Israeli settlement which is located on the village's land.

Israeli settlers and soldiers stand at the edge of the spring, looking at the Palestinians, Israeli and internationals planting olive trees below.

This land is my land.

A Palestinian mother and her son patrol past an Israeli soldier with a B'Tselem camera.

Over 300 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals plant olive trees in the valley between the Palestinian village, Nabi Saleh, and the settlement, Halamish.

The Palestinian Authority's Minister of Settlement and Wall Watch, Maher Ghnaim, plants a tree with Bassam Tamimi, leader of the popular struggle in Nabi Saleh, and other local leaders.

Members of the Palestinian Authority and the Minister Against the Wall and Settlements stand for the Palestinian national anthem.

A Palestinian freedom fighter attends the one year celebration of Popular Struggle in Nabi Saleh weeks after his leg was shattered in nine places by a Israeli tear gas missile.

An Israeli soldier takes a nap while occupying the Palestinians' spring.

After the Israeli Army turns the spring into a closed military zone, the army protects Israeli settlers, as they watch Israeli human rights activists leave the Palestinian's stolen spring.

Israeli Occupation Forces Attack Nabi Saleh with Skunk Water and Long Range Tear Gas Missiles

This week during the demonstration against the occupation in Nabi Saleh, six civilians were wounded and dozens of men, women and children suffered from the high quantities of tear gas, rubber and plastic coated steel bullets and large quantities of skunk water that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) used against civilians.

Starting at 9:00 am IOF made Nabi Saleh into a closed military zone and denied Palestinians, internationals and journalists with government issued ID cards to enter the village.

During the demonstration, the IOF expelled the residents of a house and occupied it for the afternoon, using it as a barrack and point for shooting further tear gas (including long-range tear gas missiles) and bullets at unarmed civilians. More than half a dozen homes were  damaged when skunk water and tear gas shot directly into the homes forcing women and children out onto the street. After the demonstration, several residents found that the windows of their cars had also been broken by steel bullets.

Young people in the village responded by throwing stones at the IOC and their bomb proof jeeps. No members of the IOC were injured.

Twenty-Three Injured and House Occupied in Weekly Demonstration in Nabi Saleh

Nabi Saleh, Occupied Palestinian Territories — This week the Israeli Army and the Border Police invaded Nabi Saleh and violently tried to repress Palestinian and international civilians who demonstrate weekly against the confiscation of their land by the nearby settlement, Halamish. According to Palestinian sources from the village, twenty-three people were injured, five members of the village taken to the hospital and three of them stayed in the hospital over night. Two soldiers were also injured when they were hit by stones (4:28).

The Israeli Army invaded the village before the afternoon prayer and demonstration began. While international supporters were gathering in Bassam Tamimi’s house, one of the leader’s of the Popular Struggle, the Israeli Army started to surround the house. “I was outside hanging laundrey when the soldiers started surrounding my house. I started shouting at them to go away when one of them came up to me and sprayed pepper spray right in my face,” said Nariman Tamimi.

Since the Israeli Army was surrounding the house and had occupied the main intersection, the international supporters and several leaders of the Popular Struggle could not reach the tree at the top of the village where the rest of the demonstrators were gathering. As they left the house, the Israeli Army — joined by the Border Police — started firing tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and plastic covered steel bullets directly at demontrators.

Once some of the demonstrators reached the road to the spring, Naji Tamimi sat down in the road to non-violently object to the Isreali Army. As you can see in this video, one of the soldiers thew tear gas directly at Naji (00:48). A few minutes later, after he attempts to speak with the soldiers and returns with a few supporters to sit peacefully in the road, a Border Police officer comes up and sprays him directly in the face with pepper spray (3:00).

Later in the demonstration, after demonstrators started throwing stones, a soldier was injured by a stone that hit his face (4:28). Like demonstrators, soldiers also were injured by tear gas inhilation (5:30) before they occupied a house (the same house that the occupied the week before) in order to shoot tear gas and bullets from a high point in the village (6:07).

This week the Tamimi Press continued to send out press releases and photographs from the demonstration. You can view the album that they published on facebook here.