How Low Can They Go?
Is it possible for the Israeli State and Army to Sink Any Lower than kidnapping an injured child?
Muhammad Fadel Tamimi, 15, with his mother, at his home in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Salah on 13 January. A month earlier an Israeli soldier shot at close range with a rubber-coated metal bullet causing serious head injuries.Sipa Press
It is a story which is almost unbelievable, not least because of the stupidity of the Israeli army and the Head of the Occupation, General Yoav Mordechai.
Mohammed Tamimi was shot at point-blank range with a rubber bullet at the end of the December. The would be murderers were the Israeli army. It was this incident which provoked his cousin, Ahed Tamimi to slap the Israeli soldiers who invaded the grounds of her house. One of these soldiers was believed to be the man who nearly killed her cousin.
Fast forward to Monday of this week and a posse of Israeli soldiers raids Nabi Saleh and arrest 10 people, of whom 6 are children including Mohammad Tamimi.
Despite having been severely injured and awaiting surgery, these animals roused Mohammad from his bed and kidnapped him. Then in accordance with their normal racist routines, Mohammad was interrogated without, of course a lawyer or parent present. A practice which is never extended to Jewish children but which the media in this country does not, of course report.
What happened next is surreal. Frightened, fearful and no doubt anxious as to when he was going home and anxious about the fact that he was still very ill, Mohammad was ‘persuaded’ to agree to the pathetic lie that was put to him that he wasn’t shot but fell off his bike! The fact that a bullet was taken from his skull and that there are X-ray photographs to prove it, was ignored. This pathetic Zio story has been debunked by Sarit Michaeli of Israel’s human rights group Btselem who rightly called it Orwellian.
The idea that Mohammad fell off his bike is easily disprovable with medical evidence. When he was released Mohammad confirmed that the only reason he agreed with the Zionist version was out of fear. However the reason why Israel’s soldiers engaged in this macabre game was to ‘prove’ to its far-Right constituency that all the reasons given for his cousin Ahed’s slapping of a soldier were a lie. And of course Israel’s media, bar Ha’aretz, played along with this.
The fact that Israel refuses to record its interrogations of children or indeed adult prisoners gives the lie to the allegations made by Israeli army commander, General Mordechai.
It is also clear that the campaign to free Ahed Tamimi has severely embarrassed the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv. Despite the attempts to dismiss her as a good actor, as a girl who is older than her ‘official’ age or not part of a proper family, the fact is that the campaign has achieved massive support.
The reaction of the Israeli army is an example of the observation that military might and stupidity exist in inverse ratio to each other.
However you will be pleased to hear that in the case of a 17 year old Jewish settler living in Geulat Zion that matters were entirely different. For being locked up for one night and being placed in handcuffs he was awarded 6,500 shekels (nearly £2,000). Ahed Tamimi and indeed most Palestinian children are handcuffed and indeed shackled.
When Ahed was brought before the military judge and asked how she struck the soldier she replied that if they took handcuffs of she would show them!
It is nice to know that in the Jewish state that Jewish children are given such consideration and preference. Almost heart warming.
Muhammad Fadel Tamimi, 15, with his mother, at his home in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Salah on 13 January. A month earlier an Israeli soldier shot at close range with a rubber-coated metal bullet causing serious head injuries.
One of the classic warning signs of abuse is when a child shows a pattern of injuries, but the abuser forces the victim to go along with cover stories claiming the victim simply had a series of unfortunate accidents.
Israel, as a serial and systematic abuser, is once again demonstrating how shameless it is in its attempts to cover up its horrifying mistreatment of Palestinian children and to blame child victims for its own crimes.
On 15 December, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, an Israeli occupation soldier shot Muhammad Fadel Tamimi with a rubber-coated metal bullet at close range, causing devastating head injuries.
Photos of the 15-year-old have circulated around the world showing the effect of having one-third of his skull removed during life-saving surgery. While he awaits restorative surgery he remains very vulnerable, and faces a long recovery.
His case has been all the more embarrassing to Israel because he is the cousin of Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old who has been in prison for two months and is being subjected to a military trial in an Israeli kangaroo court for slapping and shoving two heavily armed occupation soldiers shortly after Muhammad was shot.
Both are members of the Tamimi family, against which Israeli leaders have vowed collective punishment and revenge because of their prominent role in the nonviolent resistance campaign to Israel’s theft of Nabi Saleh’s land for colonial settlements.
In the predawn hours of Monday, Israeli occupation forces raided Nabi Saleh and arrested 10 people, including six children. One of them was Muhammad Fadel Tamimi.
They took him away for interrogation and released him hours later leaving observers once again stunned at Israel’s callousness and cruelty.
It was obviously a carefully planned operation, as the newspaper Haaretz noted that the detention of the severely injured child “was approved by a military physician.”
Yet all became clear Monday night, when Yoav Mordechai, the general who runs COGAT, the bureaucratic arm of Israel’s military occupation, posted on Facebook what he clearly thought would be the revelation to absolve Israel of its crimes against Muhammad.
And it fit the classic pattern of the serial abuser. According to Mordechai, the boy had not been shot in the head after all, but had merely fallen off his bike.
“What is the truth regarding Muhammad Tamimi?” Mordechai wrote. “Wonder of wonders! Today the boy himself confessed in front of the police and in front of COGAT representatives that in December his skull was injured when he was riding his bicycle and fell off it and hit his head on the handlebars.”
Mordechai followed this up by claiming that the “culture of lies and incitement continues among the children and adults of the Tamimi family.”
His post was accompanied with a graphic with the words “fake news” emblazoned across it in Arabic.
Mordechai, it should be noted, works closely with the Palestinian Authority – collaboration between occupier and occupied that is actively promoted by UN officials.
Human rights defenders and journalists were quick to debunk Mordechai’s outlandish story.
Sarit Michaeli of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem described Mordechai’s claim that the boy merely “fell off his bike” as Orwellian.
What was stunning, she said is “not how big a lie it is” but that “such easily debunked lies show the only target audience is [the] Israeli right.”
Along with this denunciation, Michaeli tweeted copies of a medical report from the hospital that had performed the emergency “bullet removal” surgery from Muhammad Tamimi’s head.
Haaretz noted that “the version of events described by Mordechai does not coincide [with] eyewitness accounts obtained by Haaretz, according to which the day Tamimi was injured, IDF [Israeli army] forces were firing at Palestinians who were throwing stones, with the aim of dispersing them.”
“Tamimi, witnesses said, was standing on a ladder behind a wall and was hit in the head the moment he raised it above the ledge,” the newspaper added.
It also published photos of the bullet removed in the surgery and of a CT scan showing it lodged inside Muhammad’s head.
The boy himself gave a similar account in this video published by Haaretz in early January:
And Defense for Children International-Palestine reported days after the shooting, citing an eyewitness, that “Israeli forces shot Muhammad Tamimi, 15, with a rubber-coated metal bullet shortly after clashes had ended.”
“According to the eyewitness, Israeli forces appeared to have exited the area around 4 pm when an Israeli soldier shot Muhammad in the face with a rubber-coated metal bullet at close range,” the group stated.
“He [Muhammad] was laying on the ground. His face and clothes were covered in blood,” the eyewitness said.
The doctor who treated Muhammad told Defense for Children International-Palestine that the boy “underwent two operations to remove the rubber-coated metal bullet, which lodged in the back of his skull and caused severe bleeding in his brain.”
Coercing a frightened boy
A journalist for the French news agency AFP reported on Tuesday that Muhammad Tamimi “confirmed,” that following his nighttime arrest he told the army he had had a bike accident, “but said he lied to avoid jail for protesting.”
Gaby Lasky, a lawyer who defends members of the Tamimi family, accused COGAT head Mordechai of “cynically abusing” a “miserable, made-to-order” investigation that induced “a frightened child [to] lie during the interrogation.”
Lasky confirmed to The Electronic Intifada that Muhammad was interrogated without a lawyer or a parent present, one of many abusive practices Israel uses against detained Palestinian children to coerce confessions.
B’Tselem’s Michaeli also quipped that Muhammad Tamimi is “the only Palestinian boy in history who denied throwing stones and was believed [by] the Israeli army.”
Israeli conspiracy theories
All this evidence will not convince the Israeli army, nor Israel’s most fanatical supporters; the goal of sending soldiers to arrest a badly injured child in the middle of the night and then having a general post his “confession” on Facebook is not to seek the truth but to sow doubt.
And this is where the pattern comes in: Israel’s obfuscation, lies and denials are legion, but it suffices to point to just a few.
B’Tselem’s Michaeli recalled another instance of Israel’s Orwellian lies: Beitunia, 2014.
This is a reference to the 2014 Nakba Day killings of 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara and 16-year-old Muhammad Abu al-Thahir.
Both were shot dead in cold blood the same day and in circumstances where they posed no conceivable threat to anyone – killings that were caught on video.
After the shootings, Israel’s spin doctors were out spreading their Orwellian lies.
Michael Oren, now a deputy minister in the Israeli government, went on CNN to claim that the two boys shot dead on 15 May 2014 might not even be dead.
In order to cast doubt, he cited the videotaped shooting of 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura in Gaza in 2000 at the outset of the second intifada, which generated worldwide outrage.
Oren recycled the far-right conspiracy theory that the shooting had been staged, even questioning whether the child “was shot at all.”
Israel also first denied live ammunition had been used in the Nakba Day killings but when the evidence could not be buried it finally indicted one of its occupation soldiers, Ben Dery, with manslaughter for killing Nuwara.
Though Dery’s indictment was a rare instance of an Israeli having to answer for harming a Palestinian, the soldier has been offered a plea which will reportedly get him a “light punishment.”
No one has been charged in the killing of Abu al-Thahir.
More recently, Oren has promoted the conspiracy theory that the Tamimis are not a real family but rather a group of “blond, blue-eyed and light-skinned” actors hired to “make Israel look bad.”
And it’s hardly surprising to see that Oren quickly took to Twitter to promote Mordechai’s claim that Muhammad Tamimi just fell off his bike:
Peter Lerner, a former Israeli military spokesperson, also promoted the claim as an example of “Pallywood” – a term anti-Palestinian conspiracy theorists use to describe what they imagine is an an organized Palestinian effort to fake human rights abuses to embarrass Israel:
Israel won’t listen to words
B’Tselem’s Michaeli made an astute observation that Mordechai’s fabrications are intended solely for the consumption of the Israeli right.
That’s an indication that Israel understands that it is badly losing support among international audiences who care about human rights.
To sustain the level of oppression that Palestinians face, Israel needs to constantly convince its “home front” that it is in the right, that its soldiers are doing good and that Palestinians are uncivilized beasts who never really suffer, but only lie and fabricate to harm the image of Israel’s “most moral army in the world.”
And on the world stage, Israel is ever more reliant on alliances with a global far-right that is eager to lap up such lies, just as it shares Israel’s rampant Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia.
The message for anyone who cares about human rights is very clear: an Israel this unhinged and brazen doesn’t care about what human rights groups say in their meticulous reports, and is not bothered by the timid bleatings of European Union and UN officials.
Israel only cares what people do, so the answer to this outrage must be more efforts to isolate this regime and make it pay a price through boycotts, divestment and sanctions.
The teen, who spent a night behind bars after he was detained at a West Bank outpost that had been closed off by the military, will receive $1,869 in compensation
The illegal West Bank outpost of Geulat Zion where the teen in question was detained after reportedly trespassing on a closed-off military area.\ Moti Milrod
The Judea and Samaria Police were ordered to pay 6,500 shekels ($1,869) to a 17-year-old settler who was kept in a lockup overnight and brought to court in handcuffs unnecessarily.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court criticized the police for letting the youth sleep in the police lock-up and noted that bringing the youth to court in handcuffs was unlawful.
The teenager was arrested in June 2016 at the Geulat Zion outpost, considered to be one of the most extreme in the West Bank, on grounds he had violated a military order closing off the area. Geulat Zion is not a permanent community, as the authorities periodically remove the small groups of settlers who set up camp on the hill. The outpost is now located near the site where the new settlement of Amihai is being built for the families evacuated from Amona last year.
Police planned to release the youth with restrictions the day after his arrest, and left him to sleep in the jail cell. Police also planned to ask the court to keep him away from Geulat Zion for 180 days. The following day, he was brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in handcuffs.
Court registrar Judge Ofir Yehezkel wrote in his ruling that the arrest itself was legal. “The dispute is over whether it was possible to release the plaintiff when his questioning was over at night, or whether the defendant acted properly by keeping him detained. Regarding this dispute, I accept the plaintiff’s position.”
The court explained, “Based on case law, it is not proper to delay the release of a detainee that the police believe should be released with conditions, simply because the conditions at issue are the type that must be determined by a judge. In such cases, imposing the restrictions that are within the authority of a police officer is sufficient and after the release, if needed, there can be a request to impose more stringent conditions that will be discussed before a judge.” With regard to the police intention to ask that the youth stay away from the area for half a year, the court said this wasn’t sufficient grounds for leaving him in the cell.
The judge also expressed annoyance that the officer who made the decision to keep the youth overnight hadn’t even testified in court. “There was reason to expect him to appear to give testimony, to explain his considerations and be questioned about them,” the judge wrote.
The court was also critical of the decision to bring the youth to court in handcuffs. “People who constitute part of the general public circulate in the halls of the courthouse and are liable to see the prisoner while he is handcuffed,” Yehezkel wrote. “The courthouse is defined as a public place in various pieces of legislation. I believe that the court should also be seen as a public place for the purposes of the Youth Law and the Detention Law, and police procedures cannot contradict this.
“Moreover, the police’s own regulations state that in general one does not restrain minors while in detention unless they are acting wildly,” he added. As a result, the judge ordered police to pay the youth 6,500 shekels.
The youth’s attorney, Menashe Yado of the right-wing legal aid organization Honenu, said he hoped the ruling “will penetrate and lead to an internalization of norms of fair police conduct toward Jewish youths in Judea and Samaria.” There was no comment from the police
COGAT chief Yoav Mordechai wants us to believe that friends, relatives, doctors and left-wing activists cooked up a huge lie about Mohammed Tamimi. But he was just telling investigators what they wanted to hear
Ha’aretz, Feb 27, 2018 8:03 PM
|Mohammed Tamimi, at home in Nabi Saleh, January 2018.\ Alex Levac|
Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, expects us to believe that tens of Palestinians and a few Israelis conspired to concoct a huge lie in order to slander the Israel Defense Forces.
According to him, the liar is not only 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi. The liars are also his parents, members of his extended family in the village of Nabi Saleh, and friends – including Israeli leftist activist Jonathan Pollak. The latter were with Tamimi when he climbed a ladder on December 15 to see what the soldiers, ensconced in an empty house in his village, were up to. The teen was shot in the head and fell to the ground in a puddle of his own blood.
In his Facebook post on Tuesday, Mordechai claims, in effect, that the Palestinians are stupid because so many of them collaborated in creating a lie that is so very easy to expose. If indeed there was a lie.
|Maj. Gen. Mordechai. Claims, in effect, that the Palestinians are stupid because so many of them collaborated in creating a lie that is so very easy to expose. IDF Spokesman's Office|
He is relying on things Tamimi told his police interrogators on Monday, just hours after a large military force burst into Nabi Saleh and into his home, before dawn, rousing him from his sleep and arresting him. Five other minors and five adults were arrested along with him, under similar conditions.
Still in the dark, half asleep and shaken, surrounded by rifles pointing at him, with air reeking of tear gas and the disgusting smell of the skunk-water sprayed by the troops – Mohammed Tamimi was taken in for interrogation. It is easy to guess what went through the mind of the wounded boy, who is slated to undergo yet another operation to reconstruct his skull in the coming weeks.
He must have been thinking: Perhaps I'll be held under arrest for many weeks. Perhaps my medical condition will get worse. Perhaps I won't even be released before going into surgery.
Tamimi told the investigators and representatives of the Civil Administration Coordination and Liaison Office, who for some reason made a point of being present, what they wanted to hear: that he was injured when he fell off his bike.
The security forces carry out hundreds of arrests and interrogations every week in Jerusalem and the West Bank. No one disputes the fact that one of their aims is to expose those who plan or carry out armed attacks. A second aim is to gather information, even of the most innocent sort, about as many people as possible and about social and political activities. Very banal, sometimes even embarrassing, information is extracted – even years later and under unexpected circumstances: when a person travels abroad, or when someone applies for an entry permit into Israel or for a residency permit for non-Palestinian spouse.
A third aim (though not necessarily the third most important) is to quash popular activity against the occupation, of which the village of Nabi Saleh has become a symbol. Palestinians are forbidden to demonstrate their resistance to the occupation, in any manner.
One of the ways of deterring individuals who may be potential participants in popular struggles is to wreak serious harm on people who are already taking part in them – by means ranging from injuring to killing; to detention under conditions harsher than those encountered by graft suspect Nir Hefetz; sleep deprivation; painful handcuffing; humiliating interrogations; ridiculous accusations like those based on "evidence" like empty tear-gas cannisters or visits to book exhibitions; administrative detentions (arrest without charges being filed); arrest until the conclusion of proceedings; and exorbitant fines.
Mass arrests, interrogations and collecting of information – these are an integral part of the control Israel wields over the Palestinians. Many of the arrests are another means whereby Israel attempts, systematically, to undermine and unravel the Palestinian social fabric in order to weaken its ability to withstand and defy the occupation.
When the detainees are minors, their jailers have a greater ability – with the help of a few slaps, painful positions during questioning and psychological pressure – to extract false incriminations and exaggerated, boastful descriptions of events from them. It is easy to manipulate and break them.
Among themselves the Palestinians are debating participation of minors in protest activities against the occupation. The ethos of the struggle is dear to them, and the loathing of the occupation runs too deep for this debate to be conducted in public, but the high price that is being paid by minors and their families is clear to everyone.
It is too early to say if a post like Yoav Mordechai’s will encourage the debate and whether it will be taken into the public domain or strengthen the position of those who say that Israel stops at nothing in order to oppress and therefore youngsters should not be denied their right to revolt.
In the middle of the night on Monday, around 3 a.m., the Israeli military raided the central occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in full force, a common occurrence for the village’s internationally-recognized residents, the Tamimi family, who have seen several family members — a large portion of them minors — arrested from the village in the past few months.
On Monday alone, Israeli forces detained 10 members of the extended Tamimi family, including five minors between the ages of 14-17, a 19-year-old, and the rest between the rest between 21 and 29 years of age, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.
Among the detainees was 15-year-old Muhammad Tamimi, who is scheduled to have reconstructive surgery on his skull on March 5th. Muhammad was released later Monday afternoon.
Israeli soldiers had shot Muhammad in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet in December, during demonstrations in Nabi Saleh against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Moments after Muhammad was shot, his then 16-year-old cousin Ahed learned of his injury as Israeli soldiers continued to surround the village, including her family home.
It was then that Ahed was filmed kicking and slapping an armed Israeli soldier who had encroached on her family’s property — an incident she would be detained for days later, along with her mother and cousin.
Ahed, who spent her 17th birthday in Israeli prison, is now being prosecuted behind closed doors in an Israeli military court that has a conviction rate of over 99 percent.
After spending days in a coma and undergoing several life-saving surgeries, Muhammad — who has been injured by Israeli forces before, and was previously detained when he was 13 — was released back home to Nabi Saleh with half of his skull missing.
Over the course of the two months since Muhammad’s injury and Ahed’s detention, the extended Tamimi family of Nabi Saleh and its twin village Deir Nitham have seen over a dozen of their relatives arrested, at least three put on trial in military court, and one — 16-year-old Musaab Tamimi of Deir Nitham — shot and killed by Israeli forces.
Campaign of Vengeance
By Monday afternoon, Muhammad had been released, while the nine others who were arrested remained in Israeli custody, according to Bassem Tamimi, the father of Ahed Tamimi.
Despite being released, Bassem told Mondoweiss that the fact that Muhammad was even arrested in the first place is indicative of Israel’s disregard for basic human rights.
“Muhammad is critically injured because of the occupation, and they put his life in even more danger last night,” Bassem said, adding “this just proves they don’t care about any international opinion, human rights or international law.”
Bassem told Mondoweiss that Monday’s detentions were just another part of Israel’s campaign of vengeance targeting the Tamimi family in the wake of Ahed’s arrest.
“Every international institution that deals with the Palestinians and human rights issues are responsible for the lives of our children and for the suffering of the Tamimi family and Nabi Saleh village,” Bassem said.
The Tamimi’s relatives in Deir Nitham expressed similar sentiments following the killing of their son Musaab in January, saying that days after Ahed’s arrest, the people of the village were threatened by Israeli soldiers who told them “The day will come when you wish you are not a Tamimi.”
“We have become a symbol of nonviolent resistance, and they [Israel] don’t want the voice of Palestine to be heard from anywhere or anyone,” Bassem said, “who knows what they will do next.”
International campaign for Ahed’s release continues
The Tamimi family of Nabi Saleh is well known internationally for their activism against the Israeli occupation, which maintains a heavy, near-constant presence in their village.
Ahed is famous across Palestine and the Arab world for videos of her, since her childhood, defiantly resisting Israeli soldiers who clash with Palestinians in her village nearly every week.
Two years ago, her family made headlines when an Israeli soldier violently attempted to arrest her younger brother, who had one arm in a cast at the time. Ahed and her mother manager to pull the soldier of her brother and free him.
Since her arrest in December, Ahed has become the subject of dozens of solidarity campaigns across the world demanding her release from Israeli prison, and an end to Israeli detention of Palestinian children.
As Ahed and her mother Nariman — who was arrested after her daughter — are being prosecuted behind closed doors, international rights groups such as Amnesty International have called for their immediate release, saying that Ahed’s detention “is a desperate attempt to intimidate Palestinian children who dare to stand up to repression by occupying forces.”
The group highlighted that under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a state party, “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child must be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time,” adding that Ahed is currently facing up to 10 years in prison
According to prisoners rights group Addameer, as of January 2018, there were 330 Palestinian children being held in Israeli prison.
Meanwhile, Bassem, who has been denied permission to visit Ahed in prison, waits until the next court date to catch a glimpse of his daughter.