By Naseem Roberts
2nd November 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
One Palestinian Youth was arrested and four others: two Israelis and two internationals were detained during the Friday non-violent weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh.
People from the village met in the main square of the village from 11:30am onwards. At 12pm the demonstration began and everyone walked down the main street of the village singing songs and clapping along. Children were in the procession waving flags and chanting into the megaphone.
The demonstrators turned a corner and headed towards their objective: the natural spring to which the people of Nabi Saleh have been denied access to because of the illegal settlement of Halamish. This is the point at which the day turned ugly. In front of the demonstrators was a line of Israeli soldiers. At 12.30pm without any threat to the soldiers and without any warning, the Israeli military fired tear gas canisters directly into the demonstration while they were still inside the village. People carried on walking up the hill undaunted. The soldiers then fired tear gas canisters at head height, missing one person by mere inches. The demonstrators walked up as close as they could to the soldiers, waving flags and putting their hands in front of the guns as the soldiers aimed to prevent them from firing more tear gas into the village. Once more the children of Nabi Saleh came courageously to the forefront of the demonstration, waving their hands in victory signs and holding kaffiyas in front of the soldiers faces to prevent them firing their guns, singing songs and chanting as they did so. The Israeli military were forced back over the hill and down towards the spring, followed all the way by the men, women and children of Nabi Saleh.
At 1.05pm a cry came from behind the demonstrators that the Israeli military were arresting someone in the village. People went back to the village to find that Waed Bassim Tamimi aged 14 had been arrested. Waed’s mother raced to her sons aid. Two Israeli activists, a French journalist and an international activist were detained by the Israeli army while they were trying to support Waid’s mother’s remonstrations with the soldiers. After this seven or eight live rounds were fired at demonstrators in the village.
Only a few weeks ago Waed was injured when struck in the side by a tear gas grenade fired at him during the Friday demonstration. On Wednesday 24th of October Bassim Tamimi, Waed’s father was arrested by Israeli police officers suffering three broken ribs. Nabi Saleh encourages the involvement of the village’s children in their peaceful activities. The Israeli military can imprison the organizers of protests but the culture of non violent resistance lives strongly in the next generation of Nabi Saleh.
Naseem Roberts is a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (name has been changed).