14 December 2011

Jonathan Pollak on the death of Mustafa Tamimi

In the 13 December online edition of the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, Jonathan Pollak, one of the founders of the Israeli organisation Anarchists Against the Wall, published an opinion piece on the death of the young Palestinian Mustafa Tamimi at the hands of the Israeli Defence Force.  Tamimi was killed by a tear gas canister fired at his head from close range from the rear of an armoured vehicle, during the weekly demonstration at his home village of Nabi Saleh, a demonstration against the theft of their water and land by the nearby illegal settlement of Halamish.  The settlers at Halamish have appropriated for their exclusive use the water from an important natural spring belonging to Nabi Saleh villager Mr Bashir Tamimi, and denied the villagers of Nabi Saleh access to their land.

Under the headline A courageous Palestinian has died, shrouded in stones, Pollack writes:

The army spokesman was right. Mustafa died because he threw stones; he died because he dared to speak a truth, with his hands, in a place where the truth is forbidden. Any discussion of the manner of the shooting, its legality and the orders on opening fire, infers that the landlord is forbidden to expel the trespasser. Indeed, the trespasser is allowed to shoot the landlord.

Mustafa's body is lying lifeless because he had the courage to throw stones on the 24th anniversary of the first intifada, which begot the Palestinian children of the stones. His brother Oudai is imprisoned at Ofer Prison and was not allowed to attend the funeral, because he too dared to throw stones. And his sister was not allowed to be at his bedside in his final moments, even though she is not suspected of having thrown stones, but because she is a Palestinian.

Mustafa was a brave man killed because he threw stones and refused to be afraid of a soldier bearing arms, sitting safely in the military jeep covered in armor. On the day Mustafa died, the frozen silence roaming the valley was only slightly less chilling than the shrilling sound of his mother's laments which fell upon it occasionally.

Read Pollack’s full piece here.

One can understand the empathy Pollak feels for Mustafa Tamimi and his family.  Apart from his support for their cause, he has been the victim of a remarkably similar attack.  Amongst the numerous injuries he has suffered at the hands of the IDF while demonstrating on behalf of the Palestinians, on 3 April 2005 an IDF soldier shot him in the head with a teargas canister from an M-16, from a distance of approximately thirty metres, at a protest against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in (see here).

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