A day after the violent arrest of Nabi Saleh Popular Committee leader Bassem Tamimi, one Palestinian, five Israelis and three international activists were arrested in Nabi Saleh on Friday. A Palestinian cameraman and three more Israelis were briefly detained.
Only a day after the arrest of Bassem Tamimi, the coordinator of the village’s popular committee, the IDF has escalated its attempts to suppress protest in Nabi Saleh. During the early hours of the morning, long before the weekly demonstration began, large groups of Israeli soldiers and Border Police deployed on the three roads leading into Nabi Saleh, and in the groves surrounding the village, bringing movement in and out of the village to a standstill. Three Israeli activists were detained in the groves as they tried to march, despite the siege.
At about 10 AM, dozens of soldiers moved from the entrance to the village to its main junction. When the demonstration began, protesters skirted the soldiers by walking between the houses, and managed to reach the road leading to the spring threatened by settler takeover.
When the soldiers noticed the march peacefully heading towards the spring, they immediately opened fire at it, shooting tear-gas projectiles directly at the crowd. Eventually, the soldiers managed to push everyone back into the village. At that stage, dozens of soldiers, some of them masked, were effectively occupying the entire village, patrolling its streets and enforcing an undeclared curfew.
One Israeli activist was arrested from inside a store after soldiers showed him a closed military zone warrant and he refused to leave the village. An American protester was arrested under similar circumstances shortly after.
Soldiers then arrested 19 year-old Udai Tamimi, as he was walking down a street in his hometown, claiming they’ve seen him throw stones in the past. He was cuffed, blindfolded and shoved into a military jeep. Protesters who ran to the place sat in front and under the jeep, trying to prevent the soldiers from taking Tamimi away.
Those sitting in front of the military jeep were beaten, pepper sprayed and tear-gassed. Four Israelis, one Swede and one Danish activist were arrested and Udai was eventually taken, as well.
Shortly after midnight, all Israeli and American activists were released on condition that they do not enter Nabi Saleh for 15 days. The two other internationals are expected to be brought before the Magistrates Court in Jerusalem Saturday evening. Udai Tamimi, in a clear example of racial discrimination, will only be brought in front of a judge in eight days, where his remand hearing will take place in front of a military judge.
The hilltop village of Nabi Saleh is home to approximately 550 residents and is located 30 kilometers northeast of Ramallah along highway 465. Residents have been holding regular demonstrations against the occupation and the creeping confiscation of their lands by the adjacent settlement of Halamish since December 2009. Protest was sparked after settlers, abated by the IDF, forcefully took over a natural spring belonging to the village.