“Sydney Levy, Jewish Voice for Peace” <[email protected]>
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu came to the U.S. and claimed that Israelis are not occupying the West Bank (1) and that a return to the 1967 line would be impossible because those lines “don’t take into account certain changes that have taken place on the ground… over the last 44 years.” (2)
Those “changes” are called settlements, and they are illegal under international law, much as the whole Israeli occupation is.
No one understands this more concretely than the Palestinians who are seeing larger and larger portions of the land grabbed for exclusive Jewish-Israeli use.
They have seen these “changes” and have put their bodies on the line, organizing unarmed protests in Palestinian villages and cities against the occupation, the wall, and the settlements.
Bassem and Naji Tamimi are fathers, scholars, committed peace activists. Both are sitting now in an Israeli jail because they dared organize these protests in their West Bank village. They need your help today.
Thousands of you spoke have already raised your voices on their behalf, but we need thousands more. President Obama needs to recognize that there are Palestinian protesters every bit as brave and every bit entitled to human rights as Syrians, Egyptians, or Americans.
Bassem and Naji Tamimi are fathers, scholars, committed peace activists. Why is Israel jailing them? Because the army wants to use them as examples in order to stop the unarmed protests in the village of Nabi Saleh.
Like other villages, such as Bil’in and Ni’ilin, which protest weekly against Israeli Occupation, Nabi Saleh has been the target of systematic military repression in an attempt to quell the protests. The Israeli army has raided the village by day and by night, causing hundreds of injuries and carrying out 75 protest-related arrests – more than 10% of the village 550 people population – including women and many children.
Take the case of Bassem Tamimi. Since demonstrations began in the village, his house has been raided and ransacked numerous times, his wife was arrested twice and two of his sons were injured – Wa’ed, 14, was hospitalized for five days after a rubber-coated bullet penetrated his leg and Mohammed, 8, was injured by a tear-gas projectile that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder. Sadly, his case is not unique.
Despite of all of this, the Israeli army has not managed to break the spirit of the residents of Nabi Saleh, who continue to hold unarmed protests.
Naji and Bassem Tamimi were jailed on equally dubious grounds as Abdallah Abu Rahmah of Bil’in, who was finally freed after a year and a half in prison. Naji and Bassem were arrested based on confessions from teenagers who were themselves seized in midnight raids, denied legal counsel, and beaten. This is not justice. We must raise our voices again to secure their quick release.
PS. The U.S. Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Israeli Prime Minister’s Netanyahu speech. If you are as outraged as I am, take action here.
(1) “And you have to understand this: In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers.” (Transcript of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. He uses the term used by the Israeli government–Judea and Samaria—to refer to the West Bank.) See at
(2) Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel After Bilateral Meeting. See at