Israelis shoot boy in head, take revenge against his family

Nour Tamimi, left, in an undated photo posted on Facebook by her father.

Israel has escalated its revenge against the extended family of Muhammad Tamimi, the boy who is lying in a coma after occupation forces shot him in the head last Friday.

Soldiers in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh detained 21-year-old Nour Naji Tamimi from her home in a night raid.

Naji Tamimi posted on Facebook on Wednesday that “occupation gangs raided my house at dawn and arrested my daughter Nour, on accusations of attacking a soldier.”

Affirming the family’s pride and support for Nour, Naji Tamimi said he believed the arrest was an effort by Israel to “lift morale” and restore the “lost dignity” of its army.

Nour was seen in a viral video filmed last Friday, along with her 16-year-old cousin Ahed Tamimi. It shows them ordering Israeli soldiers off the family’s property and then attempting to physically remove the soldiers when they refuse to comply.

The soldiers were reportedly from the Israeli army’s Givati Brigade, which has also been involved in serious war crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

In a night raid early Tuesday, Israeli forces detained Ahed from her home.

Israeli forces later arrested her mother Nariman.

On Wednesday, Ahed was brought to an Israeli military court which extended her detention at least until Monday.

The military judge denied a request to release Ahed despite acknowledging that she posed no danger.

Israel has arrested at least 17 people in Nabi Saleh in an ongoing sweep, the newspaper Haaretz reported.

Israeli forces also summoned Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi for questioning Wednesday when he went to the Ofer military court to see his daughter.

But they had not formally arrested him at that point, according to a Wednesday afternoon tweet from family member Manal Tamimi.

Later on Wednesday, prisoner solidarity group Samidoun stated that Bassem Tamimi remains in Israeli custody.

Bassem is a well-known activist and former prisoner of conscience, part of a family renowned for their resistance and sacrifices in Nabi Saleh’s struggle to defend itself against Israeli occupation and colonization.

Shot in the head

Earlier on Friday, before the videotaped confrontation, soldiers in the village shot 14-year-old Muhammad Fadel Tamimi, another member of the extended family, in the face with a rubber-coated metal bullet, gravely injuring him.

Manal Tamimi, a cousin of the victim, told Al Jazeera that “the blood was pouring from his face like a fountain.”

The bullet entered the boy’s face below his nose and broke his jaw before getting lodged into his skull, Al Jazeera reported.

Muhammad underwent six hours of surgery at a hospital near the West Bank city of Ramallah and remains in a medically induced coma. Doctors fear he may be left with permanent disabilities as a result of the attack.

In a Facebook post early Tuesday, Bassem Tamimi alleged that one of the soldiers involved in the incident on the video was responsible for the shooting of Muhammad.

Muhammad Tamimi is another victim of Israel’s allegedly “less lethal” weapons – including rubber-coated, sponge-tipped and 22-caliber bullets – that have regularly caused death and serious injury to Palestinians, especially children.

He was among hundreds of Palestinians injured on Friday alone, a day when Israeli forces also killed four Palestinians amid ongoing protests sparked by US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Incitement, revenge and collective punishment

Israel’s revenge against the Tamimi family does indeed appear – as Naji Tamimi asserted – to be an Israeli effort to restore some kind of lost honor at seeing Palestinian women and girls courageously challenging heavily armed men.

As noted by The Electronic Intifada on Tuesday, the Israeli army posted a video of Ahed Tamimi’s arrest, but only on its Hebrew, not its English, Twitter account – suggesting the detention was meant to appease a domestic appetite for retribution.

An analysis in Haaretz observed that the order to arrest Ahed Tamimi only after the video appeared across Israeli media, “was an exercise in damage control and in satisfying the urge of the Israeli public to somehow expunge the humiliation.”

Israeli leaders are publicly inciting against the Tamimi family.

Haaretz reported that one former lawmaker responded to the incident by tweeting that he “missed [Elor] Azarya,” the army medic who received a hero’s response and a lenient sentence for the cold-blooded execution in March 2016 of an injured, incapacitated Palestinian.

Education minister Naftali Bennett told army radio that Ahed and the Tamimi women seen in the video “should finish their lives in prison.”

Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman promised collective punishment, telling Israeli media that “Everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve.”

But the Tamimi family is not bowing to Israel’s threats.

In his Facebook posting announcing the arrest of his daughter Nour, Naji Tamimi said: “We confirm that that the crimes of the terrorist state will not deter us from our legitimate struggle until liberation and victory, and the establishment of a free state on all Palestinian soil in which everyone enjoys freedom, justice and equality.”

Editor’s note: This article has been amended to give Ahed Tamimi’s age as 16, the age provided by the human rights group Defense for Children International-Palestine.

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The Tamimi family and all who stand with them in their steadfast resistance deserve full support in every activist organisation and community around the world. Please sign any and all petitions demanding the immediate release of Nour, Ahed and her mother Nariman.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.