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IMAGE: Unarmed protester shot to death by IDF

Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year-old Palestinian from Nabi Saleh, Shot with tear gas canister at close range by IDF, Dec 9 2011. Tamimi later died of the injury (photo: Haim Scwarczenberg / activestills.org)

Mustafa Tamimi, 28, died this morning at Belinson Hospital [Note: Images at link are very graphic] after sustaining critical wounds yesterday in the village of Nabi Saleh when an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister directly at his head from a short distance.

Activestills, the only photo agency which covers protest in the West Bank on a regular basis, captured the moment of the deadly shot (above).

You can see the gun sticking out of the Jeep’s door and the canister in mid-air, a split second before it hit Tamimi [UPDATE: after further review, I believe the canister is seen here after it hit Mustafa]. It seems that the shot was done in violation of army orders; yet as we reported in the past, soldiers often don’t respect army regulations in the Occupied Territories. The pictures below show what happened after the shot.

For context on the protest in Nabi Saleh, I suggest reading this excellent post by Idan Landau. Also, take a look at this video I posted a few months ago: It shows an army unit terrorizing the villages’ people at night (IDF Spokesperson’s response given to me a week later basically confirmed there was no “military” reason for this attack).

I will post a longer commentary on IDF’s actions in Nabi Saleh tomorrow.

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    COMMENTS

    1. though

      not justifing the murder of Tamimi (sadly ironic, simmiler to innocent Tamim in hebrew), the road is strawn with rocks and the protestor next to Tamimi is seemed to be in mid-throwing in first photo.
      sure the fire was against regulations and the resault is sad and disturbing (how little do human life worth one must ask himself) but I dont know how fair the media coverage is if rock throwers are not reported, not how fair a peacfull protest if they are allowed to take part of it.

      Reply to Comment
    2. though

      Also, first pictures seemes to depict the moment AFTER the impact when it bounces from Tamimi’s head, and not before as you mentioned.

      Reply to Comment
    3. @THOUGH: your second comment might be true– it’s very hard to tell so I followed the caption on Activestill’s flickr page. I’ll try to post tomorrow my comment on the issue of stones and the legitimacy of resistance.

      Reply to Comment
    4. H. Cohen

      THOUGHT,
      the protestors have all the right to use stones against an army that is occupying their land. Or should they just remain silent so that you can stay relaxed in your warm house without watching these kind of disturbing images?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Tzippi

      I want to know how that soldier feels knowing he killed an unarmed man. Sadly, Im pretty sure he justified it by claiming Mustafa was a terrorist. A good man died today.

      Reply to Comment
    6. DeeDee

      It’s disturning to me to see how you react to someone’s killing!! I would like you to put yourself in his brothers shoes or his mother or maybe father and this post and say whatever one sided (inhuman)thing you are going to say..

      Reply to Comment
    7. aristeides

      The notion that armed soldiers in an armored car would need “defending themselves” from stones is obscene.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Philos

      One can condemn this killing as murder (and rightly so) but also question the tag of “peaceful” protest when stone throwing is involved. If I were to threw a large enough rock at someone I’d probably kill or maim them. In terms of legality this is murder because the use of force was disproportionate in relation to the threat posed by the stone thrower (i.e., the soldier was in an armoured car and his life was not in direct danger)

      Reply to Comment
    9. though

      I agree with Philos, I do think it’s murder, I do think it’s the Palestinian peoples’ right to resist the occupation.
      I also think that a truly non-violentprotest would yield better resault. The armys worst nightmare is 10, 15, 100 thousand and more Palestinians march on the roads in the west bank twards the Israeli check-points, wearing white with their hands in the air/behind their heads.
      As a soldier in the army, i knew what to do if someone throws rocks at me, i was traind for that and i could justify a violent action to save (a) life. you could not justify attacking unarme people who do not seem to try and attack you or run through the checkpost.

      @H.COHEN, nobody in the world should have the right to threaten the life and well being of anyone else. terror does not justify occupation, occupation does not justify violance.
      @aristedies, is it really? when does it stop being obscene, if the cars wheels are punctured but the doors are still locked? if the locks are broken but they are armed while the protestors are not?

      it’s a comples situation to which 19 year old kids are thrown, with guns and responsibility, with fear and the need to ignore and hide it. it’s a dangerous mix, and i hate the system (politicians on both sides) for thinking of itself and of the people of intrest rather then the intrest of the people.

      Reply to Comment
    10. directrob

      The attitude of the IDF during these protests is ridiculous. The shooting of gas grenades, sonic crowd control and rubber bullets and skunk has very little to do with the throwing of stones.
      .
      the movie:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RcibVRrT_4

      Reply to Comment
    11. Sam

      Occupiers vs. occupied
      Armed forces vs. civilians with rock

      this is NOT an equal fight, don’t try to paint it as one, and quit the disgusting “sad, but he was throwing rocks!” excuse of an excuse.

      The soldier is afraid for his life? he shouldn’t freaking be there in the first place. He is an occupying force. One that actively participates in making the lives of the people who live in the region a living hell. Should they throw flowers instead? Who are we to preach to the occupied people about the methods in which they should resist?

      Reply to Comment
    12. Henry Weinstein

      I agree with Philos and Though, the chosen title “Unarmed protester shot to death by IDF” being untrue is totally counterproductive: a lot of readers will not go further, because they won’t trust the writer.
      .
      Ed Frias, I don’t mean to legitimize throwing stones as non-violent actions, but it’s not at all the same thing to throw stones against civilians and to confront the army. Moreover here the soldiers were in an armoured vehicle, and the killer deliberately opened the door to shoot a protester at close range. Personally I don’t believe it was an accident, I think it was an execution.

      Reply to Comment
    13. alessandra

      these are war scenes. it’s a war. and one boy is dead. that’s what I see. and the situation reminds me an hamster wheel, running and running in a cage and be at the same place.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Sinjim

      So now @Though is admitting to having served in this terrorist army and bragging about being taught how to “handle” someone throwing rocks at him. Good for you, tough guy.
      .
      On top of this, you say Palestinians have a right to resist occupation, but then say that occupation doesn’t justify violence. What kind of doublespeak is this? Either Palestinians have a right to self-defense or they don’t. Don’t play your word games.
      .
      And yes, this protest was completely peaceful until your former colleagues showed up and began lobbing your chemical weapons at them. They did this for an hour before any of the Palestinians who were being assaulted by these thugs responded in self-defense. Yes, this protest was peaceful, your soldiers made it violent.
      .
      I’m convinced that no matter what Palestinians do, you and others will always manage to find fault with the residents of Nabi Saleh and all the other peaceful protests. Every time you bleat about non-violence, I am reminded that not a single of one you has ever adhered to the principles of non-violence. After all, you willingly joined this army and enforced the occupation, stole land, deprived actual human beings of their rights.
      .
      Just for this moment, while people are still mourning this hero’s slaughter, keep your criticisms to yourself.

      Reply to Comment
    15. aristeides

      Though – in the situation here, it has not come close to ceasing to be obscene.

      Reply to Comment
    16. PATRICK A. HAMMEL

      why do people need to resist with violent acts?
      why do they hope to escape unscatterd when their faces are masked? The Israelis are targeting rock throwers for a reason:many innocent jews have been killed by rock throwing bandits,i caal them bandits because their resistance is idiotic and serves no purpose whatsoever:as long as the jews will see that people such as hamas and friends use the same language and practise the same murders of innocent people you vannot expect tem to toss flowers at people who are trying to harm them.The IDF IS THERE TO PROTECT THEM.You who are sitting behind your pcs in order to promote resistance vs.ISRAEL WILL DO SO UNTIL YOU DIE and you will end up realizing that your battle was in vain.The only thing that will convince the Israelis to start listening to you is for you to start acting like human beings…..

      Reply to Comment
    17. Henry Weinstein

      Sinjim,
      I don’t think Though or Philos were playing wordgames. Other commenters did this, in an obscene way (I mean, on the other thread, and on JT post’s thread as reported by Larry Derfner).
      You took the time to explain more precisely what had happened, and it’s crucial to depict the facts, and Though took the time to explain honestly what he had experienced during his obligatory military service, being a very young man. That’s why when he writes nowadays “I do think it’s murder, I do think it’s the Palestinian people’s right to resist the occupation”, his words are important even if you reject them today; and I don’t blame you for rejecting them at this time of mourning, because Mustafa Tamini has been killed by an Israeli soldier, and he wasn’t a terrorist, he was throwing stones on an armoured vehicle, he was throwing stones on the Occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Henry Weinstein

      “Your comment is awaiting intial confirmation”
      La censure militaire. Because of two words, I guess. Le nom de la victime.
      .
      Sinim,
      I don’t think Though or Philos were playing wordgames. Other commenters did this, in an obscene way (I mean, on the other thread, and on the JT post’s thread as reported by Larry Derfner).
      You took the time to explain more precisely what had happened, and it’s crucial to depict the facts, and Though took the time to explain honestly what he had experienced during his obligatory military service, being a very young man. That’s why when he writes nowadays “I do think it’s murder, I do think it’s the Palestinian people’s right to resist the occupation”, his words are important even if you reject them today; and I don’t blame you for rejecting them at this time of mourning, because Xxxx Xxxx has been killed by an Israeli soldier, and he wasn’t a terrroist, he was throwing stones on an armoured vehicle: he was throwing stones on the Occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Henry Weinstein

      Errata & proofreading:
      “and he wasn’t a terrorist”
      .
      And he has a name

      Reply to Comment
    20. Henry Weinstein

      Sinjim, not Sinim
      Sorry, I had to rewrite my comment being very tired because of la censure

      Reply to Comment
    21. Piotr Berman

      It seems that there exists an attitude “aha, now we can kill them”, when “they” cross some magic line, like throwing a stone, or driving slowly and not stopping.

      Although in the latter case a Jew was shot dead.

      And all this brutality in Nabih Saleh is not because of abstract “occupation” but a totally arbitrary and unlegalized transfer of an important string to “Arab free” zone.

      Reply to Comment
    22. AYLA

      so sorry and saddened by the loss of Mustafa Tamimi, and the circumstances. @Noam–also looking forward to your follow-up piece; it’s important.

      Reply to Comment
    23. He is throwing a stone. There is a political economy of resitence under occupation. People will form alliances, friendships; they will help each other under the daily stresses of living under foreign guns; some, especially young males who perforce have their lives stunted, will throw things–maybe even sometimes more. This should not be surprising. It is not a matter of a “right to resistence”; it’s simply one of the few ways to have a proactive existence. It may not be effective, but, for some, it is all that they seem to have.
      .
      “Occupation” is a social phenomenon transcending its players, soldier or resiter. It must be condemned as destructive to all sides. The soldiers in that jeep have also been harmed by it; not to death, but harmed.
      .
      I happend upon this poem today, by the Isaeli poet Meir Wieseltier (born Moscow, USSR, 1941; arrived in Israel, 1949):
      .
      NOT A POEM
      .
      Not a poem
      a stone
      I fling in the face
      of a young breathing soldier
      not yet nineteen.
      .
      But instead of shouting
      You jerk, we’ll screw your sister,
      I’ll whisper
      to the porous stone,
      to the stone in its flight,
      Think, kid, think.
      .
      Poets on the Edge, ed. and trns. by Tsipi Keller (2008)
      .
      Stones are thrown. That could trap us; or we could shift their meaning, albeit still being thrown.

      Reply to Comment
    24. This is terrible, terrible. But we should not forget that even deaths like this are symptoms, not the problem. The bigger problem is of course the OCCUPATION. The IDF (witness the heartless comments by their spokespeople) will never see (or try to solve) the bigger problem, they will only try to wriggle out of any blame that may be placed on them for tragedies like this. And honestly, mainstream and right wing people around the world will also try to wriggle out of “blame” too – they’ll immediately point to the slingshot or the rock.

      We activists should work tireless to end the Occupation – otherwise things like this will just keep happening. We could even say the soldier who shot the cannister is also a VICTIM OF THE OCCUPATION. How can we harness progressive powers around the world (which will eventually have to include somehow the participation of Obama, European governments, the Arab League, Fatah, Hamas, the Palestinian people, the Israeli people and a new Israeli government, etc etc) to end the occupation?

      Reply to Comment
    25. aristeides

      The immediate problem is that the IDF is protecting the land theft and the thieves from the rightful owners.

      .
      Just imagine if the IDF were to to go the stolen property and clear out the thieves, then patrol the illegal settlement to make sure they don’t encroach on it again. Then all the little troopers would be safe from evil Palestinian stone-throwers. Of course, they’d probably be attacked by Jewish settler stone-throwers, but the law says they get to “defend themselves” with lethal force, so there’d be no real problem.

      Reply to Comment
    26. @Greg Pollock, I often find your comments edifying, informative, thought-provoking – but this time, it is also moving. Thanks.

      Reply to Comment
    27. ROSE

      I agree with Dalia

      Reply to Comment
    28. Dahlia,
      Given the way the last decade has gone for me, your comment is much appreciated, and unexpected. Really.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Greg, I have to ask – what happened to you in the last decade? You can always take it off-line.

      Reply to Comment
    30. AYLA

      @GP, yes. so moving.

      Reply to Comment
    31. a man with a stone is not un-armed.
      and being in this situation meny years ago, when one of my men got his jaw broken with a stone, it’s very diffecult to draw a line.

      un-armed is just this: UN-ARMED. nothing more.

      Reply to Comment
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