From the chambers of Congress to the shores of the Mediterranean, non-violent protesters are rising up against the Israeli occupation. And while the action I took to disrupt Netanyahu in Congress one month ago and the CODEPINK delegation preparing to sail to Gaza aboard The Audacity of Hope have received global media coverage, the small West Bank village of Nabi Saleh has been struggling without the attention it deserves. And you can shine a spotlight on their plight.
The people of Nabi Saleh have been challenging the illegal theft of their land by the settlement of Halamish since January 2010. Dozens of men and women gather every Friday, including today, to voice their opposition to the injustice they face. International and Israeli supporters of Nabi Saleh's just cause join these weekly creative, non-violent actions.
In an attempt to silence dissent, the Israeli army uses banned high-velocity tear-gas projectiles, rubber-coated steel bullets and at time live ammunition against unarmed civilians. Additionally, between January 2010 and April 2011, the Israeli Army carried out 73 protest-related arrests, rounding up men, women and children. Two of the arrested are cousins Bassem and Naji Tamimi, main organizers and members of the local Popular Committee.
Bassem's next hearing will take place on Monday, June 27th at the Ofer Military Court. Join us in calling for Bassem Tamimi's release! The US government cannot stand idly by while the Israeli army continues to unjustly assault and jail peaceful protesters. Send a letter today to US officials urging them to tell Israel to stop targeting the non-violent Palestinian demonstrators and insist that an American representative be present at Bassem's upcoming court appearance.
Netanyahu retorted to my interruption in Congress that only in democratic nations are such protests allowed. But the violent attack I faced in the Congressional Gallery, and five activists experienced inside the AIPAC Gala, and the jailing of non-violent organizers across the Palestinian Territories suggests otherwise. And while we may be bruised, Bassem, a father of four and a respected member of his community, is sitting in jail for the crime of non-violent organizing.
In a speech prepared for his court appearance, Bassem Tamimi, a father of four and a respected member of his community, stated, "Land theft and tree burning are not just. Your military laws are nnot legitimate. Our peaceful protest is just. I organized these peaceful demonstrations to defend our land and our people.” (See Tamimi's full statement).
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Ambassador András Dékány stated last week, "The rights of Israeli and Palestinian Human Rights Defenders protesting peacefully against settlements and the separation barrier are severely curtailed… The EU is observing the trial, which opened on 5 June before an Israeli military court, of Bassem Tamimi… an activist of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh affected by the illegal settlement expansion." (Read the full statement here).
While the EU has been outspoken about the arrest of “Palestinian Gandhis” and has condemned the arrest of Bassem Tamimi, the American government remains silent.
Will you demand the U.S. State Department take action? Join us in calling for Bassem Tamimi's release.
Rae and the CODEPINK Team
PS If you supported what I did in Congress, please support the real heroic actions of Palestinian activists living daily under occupation. Send a letter today!