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Dec-11-2011 14:33printcomments

The Story of One Palestinian Murdered by Israel

Electronic Intifada writer Linah Alsaafin (left) with Ola Tamimi (center) after Mustafa Tamimi was shot at close range by the Israeli military in Nabi Saleh village (Anne Paq/ActiveStills)

Mustafa Tamimi
Mustafa Tamimi (ActiveStills)

(SALEM) - Every death of every person in Palestine who perishes from violence is terrible, but the recent death of Mustafa Tamimi, who was shot in the face with a tear gas canister by the Israeli army on Friday, stands out. It begins with the dismissive comments from the Israel soldier who shot Mustafa.

All of it; the incident, the reaction... screams one word, that is apartheid.

Our writer in Egypt, Dr. Ashraf Ezzat, covered the incident in depth first, writing:

... Witnesses say the soldier was less than ten meters away when he fired, causing severe damage to the orbital region of Tamimi’s face.

'Half of his face was destroyed, pretty much. It looked really, really bad and he lost a lot of blood,' said Lazar Simeonov, a photographer that was in the village at the time. 'I am not sure he will make it.'

Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the weekly protests in Nabi Saleh. A larger crowd than usual had gathered for this week’s demonstration, including a delegation from the United Nations.

Israeli policy of separation means men like Mustafa live their lives in utter humiliation, always subjected to rules and procedures that Jews are exempt from. For speaking out about it, he was murdered in front of his friends. He survived less than a day after the Israeli canister smashed his face into a state where he could hardly be recognized.

The twisted thing is that nothing will happen to the Israeli soldier, nothing ever does. We only know of one disciplinary action Israel has ever taken of significance, and that happened when they shot a British activist to death for trying to save Palestinian children from an Israeli sniper, it is an extremely well-documented story and the parents of Tom Hurndal had the money and time, several months in Israel, all to get a short sentence for a soldier who would have done more time in the US for drunk driving. (Learn more: visit The Shooting of Tom Hurndall)

The Israeli soldier's action violated their own army's protocol.

Electronic Intifada writer Linah Alsaafin (left) with Ola Tamimi (center) after Mustafa Tamimi was
shot at close range by the Israeli military in Nabi Saleh village (Anne Paq/ActiveStills)

In the story No miracle yesterday in Nabi Saleh: Mustafa Tamimi murdered published by Electronic Intifada, Linah Alsaafin wrote:

'Ambulance! Ambulance!'

So far, there were three people who had suffocated from the tear gas, and three people injured by rubber bullets. I saw gas, and so assumed that it was another case of suffocation. But the cries got louder, urgent, desperate — quite unlike the previous calls. Along with those around me, we began running to where the injured person lay, 50 meters away.

Screams. 'Mustafa! Mustafa!'

I ran faster. I stopped. The youth I was so used to, the same ones who were always teasing and joking and smoking, were crying. One turned to me and groaned, 'His head. His head is split into two!'

My stomach plummeted and I forgot to breathe. Exaggeration, I thought. Impossible. Not here. More screams of 'Mustafa!'

I saw the man lying on the ground. I saw the medic with one knee on the ground, his face a mask of shock. I saw his bloodied gloved hands.

Mustafa’s sister was screaming his name. I saw Mustafa. I saw the blood, the big pool of dark red blood. I saw the blood dripping from his head to the ground as they carried him and put him in a taxi, since the ambulance was nowhere to be found. I saw other the tear-streaked faces of other activists, and all I felt was numbness.

Mustafa’s sister Ola was still screaming, so I put my arms around her as she buried her head in my chest. I was babbling, 'It’s ok, he’s gonna be fine, it’s ok' but she kept on screaming. Her screams and the disturbing reactions of those around me made my legs numb. Ola then left to go to the watchtower where the taxi with her brother was, and my state of shock crumbled as I gasped out my tears in the arms of my friend.

Israel shoots Mustafa Tamimi

And there you have a portrait of 'Israel's need for security'. This is what really happens, this man is who Israel deems worthy of murder, even though he was unarmed and only raising his human voice with a hope of lifting the oppression from others.

What is really is, amounts to a mass murder of Palestinians, the refusal to allow non-violent peaceful protest.

It is a dark and dirty regime Netanyahu leads, intent on making Palestinians so miserable and hopeless that they join their brothers and sisters as refugees spread out all over the world, everywhere except their actual homeland.

The unofficial motto is simple: 'Leave or die'.

This is Israel's right wing message to the people who lived here before the mass exodus from Europe. The whole entire mess is the fault of Hitler.

All of it.

Without Hitler's Genocide of the Jews and Roma and so many others, none of this would have ever taken place.

It was the responsibility of the western powers to prevent Germany from rising up after the first World War.

A document titled the 'Treaty of Versailles' spelled the recipe for repairing the world and preventing Germany from ascending to power, but the French and the British were lackadaisical and they did not enforce the treaty, and are thus responsible for Hitler's very existence.

But the Palestinians, living quietly in the Middle east, much as they had for so long, had absolutely nothing to do with it. Mustafa Tamimi's ancestors weren't part of it, yet his human life was relegated to second-class citizenship, why?

No human being and or ever will accept this regard, so it is foolish and stupid for Israel to continue its brutal thuggery that leaves behind such hatred, such emotional distress, so much physical pain.

There is enough land, but Israel wants the specific land that people already possess.

Mustafa Tamimi's family didn't deserve this, his culture does not deserve oppression, or apartheid laws. He lived just long enough to give his family what Israel denies them, and that is hope, and in both cases that is dashed on the rocks once again.

Freedom, it is a word so often used by Americans; the same people whose taxes fund this very oppression, this exact set of circumstances...

Linah Alsaafin says Mustafa was the first protester death in Nabi Saleh:

Friday, 9 December marked the second year since the tiny village began its weekly demonstrations protesting the expropriation of their land for the neighboring illegal settlement of Halamish, and the confiscation of the village’s main water supply, the Kaws Spring. It also marked the 24th anniversary of the first intifada. Fittingly, it seemed only natural the Israeli army would react with more violence than usual. But never did we expect someone to be killed. It’s too awful to think about. Nabi Saleh has a population of around 500 people. Everyone knows everyone in this tight-knit community, so when one gets killed, a big part of us dies also.

We all should pray for this family, and for peace, because it is becoming more elusive, harder to find a trace of...


Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address:

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