An Israeli soldier attempts to detain a 12-year-old Palestinian boy during a demonstration in the West Bank village. His mother and sister make sure that doesn’t happen.
See update below.
The weekly demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh took a particularly violent turn on Friday after an Israeli soldier tried to detain 12-year-old Mohammed Tamimi, leading to a fierce scuffle with his mother, sister and aunt. Eventually the soldier was led away by another soldier.
The incident was captured on video by Bilal Tamimi, a local Palestinian journalist. The soldier can be seen running down a hill chasing Mohammed, who had his arm in a cast after breaking it during clashes in the village a few days earlier. He eventually catches up with Mohammed, puts him in a headlock and pins him against a rock. The soldier then sits on Mohammed, preventing him from moving.
Others can be heard yelling at the soldier that Mohammed is a child, and that his hand is broken. The soldier calls out for someone to come and help him, and turns to the activist standing next to him and mutters something about “leftists being trash.” He then drags Mohammed forward and pins him down again. At this point Mohammed’s 15-year-old sister, Ahed; his mother and his father, Nariman and Bassem; and his aunt Nawal arrive, along with other activists.
Mohammed’s family tries to pull the soldier off the boy, tugging at his arms and head. The soldier responds by flailing his arms wildly at them, trying to hit them, and putting his hand around Ahed’s throat. They continue trying to pull him away until another soldier arrives and leads him away. As he is walking off, the soldier throws a stun grenade into the middle of the crowd.
At the same time, two other soldiers were busy arresting a Palestinian and an Italian activist with the International Solidarity Movement, both of whom are currently still in detention.
“The soldiers came out of nowhere, and no one realized what was happening. They were masked and had no gear, only a rifle,” Karam Saleem, a photojournalist who witnessed the event, told +972.
Bassem Tamimi, Mohammed’s father, told +972 that Ahed and Nariman had to be taken to hospital after the demonstration in which they were assaulted by the soldier. Bassem’s other son, Salam, was also shot in the foot with a rubber bullet.
Family members Nariman and Ahed Tamimi reiterated that the village is struggling for humanity, justice, peace and dignity, and that they need their freedom.
In a statement, the IDF claimed that Mohammed had been throwing stones, a claim denied by an Israeli activist who was present. The statement also claims that the soldier did not realize he was dealing with a minor.
The day after the incident, Manal Tamimi, a prominent activist in the village, received a message online threatening that her home would be burnt down in a “price tag” attack (link contains graphic language).
Nabi Saleh has seen a sharp increase in violence in recent months over Israeli settlers’ annexation of the village well. Manal Tamimi was shot in the leg with live ammunition during a recent demonstration, and Nariman Tamimi was on crutches for a number of months after being shot in the leg with live ammunition last November.
Bilal Tamimi, the journalist who recorded yesterday’s events, was arrested last week along with two Israelis and eventually released without charge after a judge ruled the arrest should never have occurred.
A house in the village was recently demolished and IDF soldiers stationed at the village have also been caught on camera throwing stones at photojournalists and firing tear gas canisters directly at protesters–at the same spot where Mustafa Tamimi was killed four years ago when a gas canister struck him in the face.
UPDATE (Aug 30): On August 29th, the day after the incident, the IDF filed a complaint with the Israeli Police. Officials from the Samaria and Judea District police force told the Hebrew-language news website 0404 that “the attackers are well-known and will be arrested soon.”