For more than two years, protests have taken place in Nabi Saleh, a village outside of Ramallah. There, protesters have focused attention on the theft of water by the nearby Halamish settlement, which in 2009 took control of the Ein Al Qaws spring, preventing Palestinians access to their own land.
The protests – which broadly focus on all aspects of the Israeli occupation – have garnered some international attention in recent years, with footage filmed by protesters making it into the New York Times. Israeli forces have cracked down on protests in Nabi Saleh and elsewhere throughout the West Bank, at times arresting demonstrators.
This past Friday 9 December, 2011, however, Nabi Saleh experienced tragedy as activist Mustafa Tamimi, 28, was “critically injured after Israeli soldiers fired a tear gas canister at his face, and died at a hospital after his treatment was delayed by the occupation forces who had invaded the village to repress the weekly demonstration,” according to Linah Alsaafin, who also wrote:
One difference that distinguishes Nabi Saleh from other villages with popular resistance committees, like Nilin, Bilin, Biddu and Budrus is that no one has been killed, or martyred in the protests. Beaten up, yes. Arrested, ditto. But never a death. Until yesterday.
On blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, Palestinian activists are mourning the loss of one of their own. Blogger Abir Kopty writes:
I remember your braveness during Nabi Saleh’s weekly rallies, facing the army with open chest. I apologize to you for not having your courage. Your life doesn’t worth less than mine.
Dear Mustafa, for the time being I’m afraid to make promises, as we have learned not to make promises bigger than us. I can only promise you that I will continue going to Nabi Saleh, I will not give up the hope, exactly as you didn’t. I promise you that your courage will keep inspiring me and giving me strength.
Rest in peace comrade.
Kopty also tweeted:
Everyday i say tomorrow is a new day, but the anger doesn't go away. #Mustafatamimi
On collective blog Front Line Echo, @amraamra writes:
For those who tell me that I take things too personal, I will continue to take it too personal and at heart because I’m human! I breathe, feel, cry, laugh, love and hate. So when someone hurts me, I hurt. When someone tickles me, I laugh. When we mourn the loss of a fellow Palestinian brother and other desensitized Palestinians are watching on the streets, smirking and making ridiculous comments, I will feel fury. When someone steals the life of another comrade in such a brutal and grotesque way, I will grieve. I will grieve… just like others are grieving.
The blogger continues:
When the international community tells Palestinians to adopt to more peaceful resistance in resisting the ongoing Israeli occupation, that is what we do. Yet, we are met with the same and even more brutal suppression. At this point I do not know what gives me the hope to continue, and I think many will agree. Nothing seems to make sense now. But one thing does make sense. Mustafa Tamimi’s soul has not gone in vain. We will carry him with us in our continuous struggle against occupation. We will not give up Mustafa… and that is for sure!
On Monday 12 December, Israeli soldiers came under fire for seemingly defending the use of fatal force on social media, a story covered by The New York Times. Their defense largely revolved around the fact that Tamimi had thrown rocks at an armored vehicle as it drove away. In response, Israeli-American Joseph Dana tweeted:
Should throwing stones at an antagonistic armored military jeep be a crime punishable by death?
Journalist Haggai Matar, in a post translated for and republished by +972 Magazine, shares one perspective from Israel:
It is simply shocking. Truly shocking. I look around, and I don’t see my society shocked. Not shocked at all of these people, or at the two head injures in Nabi Saleh yesterday, or at the two arrests in a peaceful demonstration in Ma’asara, which didn’t even get any coverage. I see the careful reports reading, “Palestinians claim that…” and the blind faith in the stance of the IDF Spokesperson. And the lack of shock shocks me even more…
This Friday's protest will be in honor of Tamimi; a Facebook page has been set up for coordination.