Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Night raid and arrests in Nabi Saleh caught on video

By Mike J.C. - February 19, 2014
Section: [Main News] [Videos] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Nabi Saleh] [arrests]

At about 2:00 AM on Tuesday 18 February, around 50 or 60 armed soldiers and several military vehicles invaded the village of Nabi Saleh, going door to door and searching the homes. When it was over, after 4:30 in the morning, five people, including a youth aged 16, were blindfolded and taken away to an undisclosed location. 

Speaking with the Palestine Monitor by phone, local resident Manal Tamimi described the moment soldiers banged on the door of her family home. “[My husband] Bilal asked to see the search warrant, but they didn’t give one,” she said. “One of the soldiers told him, 'I am the commander and my word is the warrant.’”

The soldiers searched the home and took pictures, and on their way out confiscated a decorative display of spent tear gas canisters the family had set up on a table in their living room. She said she told the soldier, “Okay, you can take them. We don’t care, because in the morning, in one minute, I can pick up another hundred canisters.” 

A small village of about 500 people, Nabi Saleh is prominent in the West Bank popular resistance movement against the Israeli occupation and settlements. Every week, the village’s demonstrations are violently repressed by armed Israeli soldiers using excessive amounts of tear gas, along with sound bombs, rubber bullets, and other weapons meant to control and intimidate the villagers.  In response, the people of Nabi Saleh proudly and defiantly display the relics of their oppression, decorating trees and fences with the shells of tear gas and sound bombs, and setting up displays like the one that offended the soldiers in Manal Tamimi’s home.

She believes the army might have come looking for her son, Usama, because witnesses reported that the soldiers were carrying a binder of photos that included the faces of a dozen or more men and youth, her son’s face among them. However, the army did not find him. 

Several other young men whose pictures were allegedly in the soldiers’ album happened to be up late at the time, Manal Tamimi understood, and as the military invaded the village, they went into hiding and avoided capture. 

Five others, however, were not so fortunate. From separate houses, though part of the extended Tamimi family, Mohammad Attaallah (25), Rami Hussein Yousef (36), Jihad Muhammad Rushdi (23), Mahmoud Mohammed Wagih (19), and Basil Abdul Ilah Saleh (16), were each taken from their homes, handcuffed, blindfolded, and loaded into military jeeps before being driven off into the night. 

According to Manal Tamimi and her husband Bilal, the military gave no explanation for the searches and the arrests, although the reasons are undoubtedly tied to the village’s ongoing resistance activities. 

“They will try to arrest more and more people in order to stop what is happening in the village,” Bilal explained over the phone. 

Bilal himself was arrested and detained last week for over seven hours during a daytime incursion into the village, for allegedly “disrupting” the military’s operation. Bilal regularly films the army’s actions in and around the village; he was recording at the time and filmed his own detention. He also recorded the most recent nighttime raid (you can see the video below). 

Asked if last night’s arrests were related to the youth and young men throwing stones during clashes with the military, Bilal responded: “Not just because they are throwing stones. But in order to stop everything that is happening in the village, the demonstrations, and the popular resistance.” 

In addition to weekly Friday protests, many activists from the village are closely involved in popular resistance activities across the West Bank. Some of the direct actions they have supported include blocking settlement roads and knocking holes in the Israeli separation wall surrounding East Jerusalem, as well as setting up protest villages on their own occupied land that is slated for annexation and settlement expansion (including last year’s Bab al-Shams and this year’s Ein Hijleh). 

Bilal fears the Israeli military may return to the village in the coming nights. “I think they will maybe come today or tomorrow to search the other houses they did not search last night,” he said.

In all, more than ten homes were searched on Tuesday, including the Tamimi Press and Media Office, where meetings and visitors are frequently hosted and from which the army confiscated dozens of large prints and posters that depict the repressive measures of the Israeli army and the oppressive conditions of the military occupation.

The following evening, according to a news brief from Tamimi Press, one of those detained, Muhammad Attaallah Tamimi, was released on 1,000 NIS bail, while the other four remain in detention. The press release also added that 16-year-old Basel Tamimi is awaiting his bail hearing, scheduled for the morning of Wednesday 19 February, and that his father, who went to the prison to witness his son’s interrogation (under Israeli law, a parent or guardian must be present during the interrogation of minors) was arrested on the spot and now remains under detention.


For more information about Nabi Saleh, please see: Tamimi Press

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