Sunday, July 14, 2013
The arrest of Nariman Tamimi for walking while Palestinian
Last October, as part of the Dorothy Cotton Institute’s delegation of civil rights activists and Jews coming to support nonviolent Palestinian resistance to the Occupation, we stayed with the Tamimis in Nabi Saleh. Nabi Saleh is a village on the West Bank whose olive groves have been cut by a wall to protect a gleaming pink settlement – Halamish - on a nearby hill. Israeli soldiers routinely fire tear gas and live ammunition (they have killed at least 2 demonstrators) as well as skunk gas at unarmed people.
The Tamimis have offered nonviolent protest – the 1500 or so villagers are named Tamimi – which has won concessions – the Wall has been forced back – but at a terrific price. Bassem Tamimi, a leader, has been beaten up (his ribs broken) and spent time in jail before and after. His relatives Mustafa Tamimi and Rushdi Tamimi have been murdered while protesting by the illegal and immoral Israeli Occupiers of Palestinian land.
See “Janna’s Song” here.
Nariman Tamimi welcomed us into her house. She and another women, Rana Hamadah, were arrested by the Israeli army for walking while Palestinian. They supposedly entered, while engaged in nonviolent protest, a suddenly declared “closed military zone.”
They have since been jailed and subject to military courts (in Israel, there is at best unequal “justice” and more likely, no justice for Palestinians) which seek to ban protest. The Dorothy Cotton Institute delegation has written a strong letter of protest, signed by all of its members and in memory of all those who fought in the American South against the similar violence and oppression of Jim Crow, against this outrage.
It is nonviolent protest which the state of Israel most fears. It reveals the militarism and brutality of the Occupation and the new transfer/ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. It makes shine the faces of those who are unjustly and cruelly and carelessly violent.
To Nariman Tamimi
July 12, 2013
Last October, you, Bassem, and the Tamimi family welcomed us, members of the Dorothy Cotton Institute Civil and Human Rights Delegation with gracious hospitality when we visited Nabi Saleh. We remember your warmth and generosity, and are grateful for the opportunity to learn about your struggle for human rights, democracy and justice. As people who have been active in the struggle for human rights, democracy and justice in our own country, we were deeply inspired by the extraordinary courage of the people of your village.
We were shocked to hear about the recent IDF arrest and detention of you and your friend, Rana, for demonstrating non-violently against the theft of your land and water spring. We admire your courage and continued determination, and we deplore the mistreatment that you and your friend have been subjected to.
When will this terrible injustice end? When non-violent demonstration is cause for arrest and brutal mistreatment, it is clear that in this freedom struggle no forms of resistance for the rights of Palestinians are considered legal and permissible expressions of human dignity. Stealing your people’s land (to build the settlement of Halamish), preventing you from walking to your water spring appropriated by the settlers of Halamish, arbitrarily defining the area as a “closed military zone”, then handcuffing, blindfolding, and detaining you for three days before being charged are disgraceful violations of your basic human rights. The baffling charges against you are clearly contrived.
By detaining you and then placing you under house arrest, the IDF and the military court seek to make an example of you who dare to resist in Nabi Saleh. Yet, the need the IDF feels to bar you and Rana from the weekly demonstrations reveals the power of your presence and your resistance. You will still inspire others, even while drinking tea on Fridays, inside your home.
Nabi Saleh is such a thorn in Israel’s side because your spirit cannot be broken. No matter what you are subjected to, they have not diminished your dignity. No matter how they try to curtail your liberty, you, Nariman, are the essence of a free person, and the people of Nabi Saleh are heroes and free, sovereign people.
Some of us participated in the struggle for freedom and democracy in our own country some fifty years ago. We are all engaged in ongoing struggles for freedom, democracy and justice today, here and elsewhere. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We know that the struggle of the people of your village is a moral struggle that will prevail.
Please, stay strong and remember that you have friends and supporters here in the US, and thanks to your allies in independent media, we are watching and stand in solidarity with you.
The Dorothy Cotton Institute 2012 Civil and Human Rights Delegation to the West Bank:
donnie i. betts, Filmmaker, Denver, CO
Rabbi Joseph Berman, Chair, Boston Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, Boston, MA
Laura Ward Branca, Senior Fellow, Dorothy Cotton Institute, Ithaca, NY
Prof. Clayborne Carson, Director Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Dorothy F. Cotton, Distinguished Fellow, Dorothy Cotton Institute, Ithaca, NY
Kirby Edmonds, Senior Fellow and Program Coordinator, Dorothy Cotton Institute, Ithaca, NY
Jeff Furman, National Advisor, Dorothy Cotton Institute
Prof. Alan Gilbert, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Dr. Vincent Harding, Historian, Activist, Friend and Colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Denver, CO
Robert. L. Harris, Jr., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Sara Hess, Ithaca, NY
Dr. Margo Hittleman, Senior Fellow, Dorothy Cotton Institute, Ithaca, NY
Rev. Lucas Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Atlanta, GA
Aljosie Aldrich Knight, Atlanta, GA
Rev. Carolyn McKinstry, Birmingham, AL
The Rev. Dr. Allie Perry, Board Member, Interfaith Peace-Builders, New Haven, CT
Dr. Paula M. Rayman, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Watertown, MA
Dr. Alice Rothchild, American Jews for a Just Peace, Cambridge, MA
Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Freeman Fellow, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Boston, MA
Dr. James Turner, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Rabbi Brian Walt, Palestinian/Israeli Nonviolence Project Fellow, Dorothy Cotton Institute, Ithaca, NY
By Mairav Zonszein |Published July 8, 2013
When non-violence is criminal: Palestinian women stand trial for West Bank protest
The IDF did not charge the two protesters with stone throwing, violent conduct or illegal gathering – but rather for violating a ‘closed military zone order,’ a highly unusual indictment. If the pair are convicted in court, it could set a precedent that demonstrates Palestinians are forbidden by Israel to oppose the occupation in any way.
Nariman Tamimi and Rana Hamadah being arrested in Nabi Saleh June 28, 2013 (B’Tselem)
The IDF’s Ofer Military Court in the West Bank will hold its first hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) in the trial of Nariman Tamimi and Rana Hamadah, two Palestinian women who were arrested on Friday, June 28 at the weekly demonstration against the occupation in Nabi Saleh.
The two women were held in Sharon Prison, in Israel, for more than three days before being brought before a military judge and indicted for entering a “closed military zone.” Rana Hamadah was also charged with obstructing a soldier in the execution of his duty.
Hamadah told +972 that during her arrest she asked the IDF soldier why she was being handcuffed, to which he replied: “Because I feel like it.” Hamadah said the pair were left handcuffed and blindfolded for nine hours, and were driven around in a vehicle with two male soldiers for seven more hours before being booked in Sharon Prison.
“Seeing the prisoners’ struggle from the inside gives an incredible urgency to their cause,” she said, adding that, “what we don’t see, and easily forget, is that the prisoners really must struggle for every passing minute.”
Nariman Tamimi told +972 this was the fifth time she has been arrested. She speculated that her arrest was part of the IDF’s efforts to crack down on the village’s right to protest, saying that Israel is “trying to make an example out of the village” by inflicting collective punishment.
A foreign national arrested along with the two Palestinian women was released later the same night and barred from entering the village for 15 days.
According to Israeli military law, under which Palestinians live, there is no such thing as a legal protest without permission from a military commander, which is rarely if ever granted (which is why arrests for stone throwing or organizing protests are so rampant).
According to B’Tselem, the legal proceedings initiated against Tamimi and Hamada since their arrest – and especially the IDF request for their remand for duration of proceedings (which was denied) – are unprecedented given the minor nature of the offense they are charged with. The indictment does not claim that the two women acted violently – which is usually the pretense for IDF arrests – and the military prosecution rarely issues indictments for violating a “closed military zone.” From personal experience, I can attest that the IDF often baselessly issues such orders as a tool to repress protests, and in violation of Israeli High Court rulings, so the suspicion is that Israel is using its military legal control in the West Bank to repress legitimate protests.
As indicated by video footage, the demonstration was not violent and the women were not involved in any stone throwing or other act that could be construed as violent. Two military judges who watched video footage of the women’s arrest stated that they found no evidence of violent or menacing behavior on their part. It will therefore be interesting to see if and how the courts uphold the IDF’s arrests.
IDF arrests Nariman Tamimi at Nabi Saleh weekly protest June 28, 2013 (Activestills)
Like other high-profile arrests in Nabi Saleh, the women’s case is also attracting international attention. Amnesty International issued a statement on July 4 demanding that Israel stop the “bullying of Palestinian activists.” Its Middle East and North Africa program director said of the two women’s arrest: “They have been denied the basic human right to peacefully protest over land illegally seized by Israeli settlers, and the Israeli judiciary has used spurious legal tools to punish them for exercising their basic human right to peaceful protest.”
Since 2009, Nabi Saleh has been holding weekly protests against Israeli occupation, the wall and annexation of their land, including their spring, which has been seized by settlers from Halamish. Nairman’s husband, Bassem Tamimi, the village’s well-known Palestinian activist and non-violent leader, has been arrested several times and spent years in Israeli jail. Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience last year.
In this interview below, Nariman Taimimi describes the ordeal of their arrest, which she claims was the first time she was NOT beaten, but included other abuses such as being held overnight in a car and threatened with being strip-searched by male officers: [here]