Rights and Accountability 13 December 2011
For an introduction, I recommend reading the following links: Mourning Mustafa Tamimi as Israeli Soldiers Escalate Violence, and Funeral of Murdered Mustafa Tamimi Ends in more IOF Violence and Savagery.
I want to laugh every time I look at the picture below. Call it hysteria, call it exhaustion, call it the result of being subjected to so many cruel emotions the past few days after witnessing the murder of a freedom fighter.
The picture shows Tasneem H, @Tweet_Palestine, @_Watan, and myself among others in a human pile on the ground with Israeli soldiers beating us as we tried to prevent them from arresting us and the other activists we were protecting with our bodies. The following is our testimonies, collected and edited by me.
The soldiers were in their place, watching us advance. They didn’t fire tear gas; their presence itself was enough provocation. We stood in front of them, and began shouting at each of the soldiers, going from face to face with Mustafa Tamimi’s poster held up by our hands.
Our grief spilled into rage.
“Which one of you killed Mustafa?”
“Which one of you did it?”
“Which one of you has the courage to look in his sister’s eyes, the one you prevented from seeing him?”
“WHICH ONE OF YOU MURDERED HIM?”
The question was asked a million times that day, and was answered by tons of tear gas, sound bombs, and physical violence. They were afraid of the question, terrified to look at the eyes of the man they killed, and we were not going to be silent any more.
Chants of “Murderers! Murderers! Murderers!” and then “Animals! Animals! Animals!” The soldiers backed away from us a few steps, perturbed. We wouldn’t let them go that easily. We followed them.
We were simply using our words…Our words and our voices of truth to question the Israeli soldiers of the murder of Mustafa Tamimi. I took out a poster with a photo of Mustafa and asked the soldier to look at the man they were responsible for murdering. I wondered to myself if their conscience would be moved at all by this. Did they still have a conscience?
I had the picture of Mustafa and was demanding them to look at it, to look at Mustafa’s eyes, the man they killed so heartlessly. One of the soldiers grabbed the picture from me and balled it in his fist. I went berserk.
“Give it back!” I shrieked. “Give it back, you animal! You’re not human give it back!” I grabbed at his hand and he shoved me vehemently. I tried again and he threw the torn picture on the ground.
All of a sudden one of them jumped on Jonathan [Pollack] who was standing next to us. They tried to arrest him and we all jumped on him trying to keep the soldiers from taking him. The soldiers kept hitting us everywhere. Then one of them tried to choke Jonathan until he fainted and was carried away.
They were hitting him, and choking him. The rest of the girls and I ran toward them, trying to save him from their murderous hands. His face was starting to get blue and then he passed out, and still the soldier wouldn’t let go of him. Luckily we were able to get him out just in time to save him from being killed too.
We were over the metal rink, on the road now. The spring was only across the road. The soldiers began shoving and pushing us, as we continued to demand justice for Mustafa’s murder. Sound bombs were thrown right next to us. Then we saw one international activist lying face down on the ground, his hands tied behind him. We tried to stop the soldiers from taking him with our bodies. They shoved us roughly. We screamed back. I felt a rifle butt hit me on the forehead. The commander came over and said we had five minutes to clear off. I told him we wouldn’t and for them to clear off. He pointed at me and ordered for my arrest. I felt myself being dragged by two soldiers and my biggest fear was that if my parents found out I could kiss this world goodbye. Then I felt someone grab my legs, someone else around my waist, and we all collapsed to the ground. The girls, my fellow activists, my sisters were clinging to me as hard as they could, preventing the soldiers from taking me.
I turned over to see my friend Linah in the hands of two soldiers. They were arresting her, and the only thing I could remember next was holding her in my arms, and I was not alone…the girls gathered making a human pile, each holding the other so strongly to save her from being arrested.
More soldiers came and began to drag the other girls away. There was a flurry of movement and another international activist was pinned to the ground by the soldiers. We grabbed him as he became buried in our human pile. He clung to my leg. One of my arms was around my friend’s back, the other clutching another friend’s shoulder. My waist and legs were gripped by them tightly. The soldiers hit my friend on her head. One repeatedly slammed his knee in the back of the international activist we were shielding.
The soldiers pushed us and we fell on the ground. We were literally on top of each other, yet we were not willing to let go. We were hit and kicked everywhere and one of them hit me on the head with the back of his gun.
We lay on the ground holding him while the soldiers hit us in every direction. I remember Linah next to me screaming the same words over and over again “You will not take any of us.” Another girl was screaming “This is for Mustafa, stay strong!” I had lost my voice by then and couldn’t scream but I moaned and cried as one soldier was trying to break my fingers away from one of the Israeli activists buried within us. Another soldier pulled me from my kuffiyeh and choked me with it, and then I let go of the activist because the pain was just too strong. I watched the soldiers pulling him away from me, dragging him on the street while one soldier put his leg above his head.
They tried to choke her with her own kuffiyeh.
In a split second another soldier screamed “Take this girl!” and someone pulled my legs and I was dragged away from the girls. I knew that it meant it was over: they were going to arrest me. I was on the ground when I heard the girls screaming out my name and I then knew I was safe, I knew they would not let the soldiers take me. One soldier had his leg on me crushing me to the ground and the girls jumped on the soldiers and tried to free me.
Our human barrier made things difficult for the Israelis. We were in their way. They began violently pulling, kicking and punching the girls and I as well as the protesters they tried to arrest. I heard cries of anguish as the Israelis tried to wrench the human barrier. And in between these cries of anguish, you could still hear the words of truth continuing to be spoken by each and every single one of us.
We were screaming and kept holding on to each other, our bodies pretzeled against each other. The soldiers were beating us as we lay there, and my anger was spent. I whispered, “You have no humanity” followed by repeating, “You’re not taking any one” over and over again.
“You are not gonna take any one of us.” Her voice broke my heart yet also made it stronger. We were sad, angry, hurt, tired, and beaten up. But we were also a pile of determination and each time they hit us we became stronger. I remember the face of the international activist we were shielding. He was looking at us as if we were the safest place on earth. It was us vs. Mustafa’s killers, Truth vs. Violence.
I felt so helpless, so futile. I was looking at the soldiers in their eyes as they beat us and attempted to drag us away. I wanted to cry so badly. They were not human. They didn’t even have not one ounce of humanity in them. Isn’t it enough they killed a man yesterday that they had to beat up girls today? Is it too much to ask to mourn Mustafa properly?
I looked up and realized more people from our side had arrived. They tried to talk to the soldiers. We finally but very carefully and gingerly picked ourselves off the ground as the people formed a human wall around us and we jumped over the metal rink. Another international activist was getting arrested. We jumped back and tried to grab him but we were pushed back with even more brutal force. The commander kept telling us to go. He added the word “please”. My hands were bruised, my knuckles were blue and bleeding, my body was aching. I was shaking all over. Mustafa’s picture was still in my hand. We turned back to make the long trek up the hill, and they fired tear gas aimed at our bodies to hinder us.
I ran as fast as I could then fell to the ground.
@Tweet_Palestine fainted. The men carried her and went down to the ambulance on the road.
We climbed back up the hill, carrying the unanswered question and more determined than ever to continue and bring Justice to Mustafa.
I saw friendly faces around me. I realized I had fainted in the ambulance. I was terrified; what if they took any of the other girls? I should stand on my feet and go back but somehow my brain was no longer in control of my body. I was taken to one of the warm houses in Nabi Saleh, the same house I was taken to when I was attacked the last time. I just wanted to know if the girls were safe and I kept asking “Where is Linah where is @_Watan? Did they take them what happened where are they?” and then they came in from the front door and we hugged each other and started crying uncontrollably.
I still can’t comprehend why arrests were made and violence was used by the Israelis. Were our words of truth threatening to them? Were our words of truth threatening their security? Did our words of truth penetrate so deep into their conscience that caused insecurity within themselves?
They couldn’t even respect Mustafa in his death with this show of savagery.
What had we done I thought. Did it make any difference in the world when we asked these soldiers who killed Mustafa? I don’t know if it did but I felt that my voice again was my only weapon and even if these soldiers did not feel anything even if they beat me up, still I did something I raised my voice. I refused to be silenced by their guns, I refused to be silenced by the Canister that silenced Mustafa. The Israeli army and government and the Zionist movement need to understand that their weapons of murder and their methods of torture will not stop us, will not silence us. We will keep screaming and fighting and as hard as they try to silence us they will never succeed.
Touched by you, inspired by you
Permalink Annet replied on
Touched by you're story, inspired by you're strength and words. The story of Isreal isn't televised as it should be in Holland. I wonder why? I found answers on internet. I feel connected with a lot of people since I join The Occupy movement in Holland. The world will know by social media. Faith. Palestine. Hang in there, stay strong. The world is watching, and we will spread the word true social media. Lots of love to you and you're friends. My condolence for all the lost friend. Peace
I´m so sorry. Thank you for
Permalink Nerea replied on
I´m so sorry. Thank you for keep inform us. Kisses and regards from Spain. Free Palestine
Never, ever, ever give up!
Permalink Susan Hass replied on
Sending you love, prayers and moral support. Your cause is just, your courage remarkable, and your friends inumerable. Stay the course. We are with you. God's blessings on your fight!
The whole World tears will not be enough to show my pain
Permalink Abby replied on
Dear Palestinians, I love you guys for who you are and admire you for the faith and love you have to your country. All the tears will not be enough to tell you how much I am hurt deep inside for what's going on in Palestine... Free Palestine and no matter how much they kill from the Palestinians you will always live in our heart, souls and Palestine will always be our big love
Ashamed and sad for not being there to defend you.
Permalink Anonymous replied on
You girls are amazing! Keep it up, say the truth and always stay true to the cause. I'm so sorry to hear about what you've all been through and I'm ashamed that I can not help...I feel helpless , I wish I could be there and have the honor to join your struggle, our struggle. Solidarity from Romania.
Sad and angry
Permalink Souzan replied on
First I want to send you my condoleances for Mustafa Tamimi, your feedomfighter who died so needlessly. I feel sad, very sad about this and everything happening to your people and I'm very angry about the Israelian soldiers and gouvernment.
Also I feel deeply ashamed about the gouvernment of my country (Holland) which choses the Israel site instead of judging them honestly.
I just hope you keep up the spirit and keep sending your fotographs, video's and testimonies over the world so at last the world will stand up for you.
Freedom and peace for Palestine!