A radical scene unfolded Friday after Israeli forces intercepted the weekly protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, Palestine against the illegal confiscation of their land and spring. The courageous actions of the Tamimi women of Nabi Saleh rescuing their captured child spread immediately on social media after the UK’s Daily Mail published a series of breathtaking photographs taken at the scene. The event was captured on video by Bilal Tamimi and Roya News TV.
As a masked and armed Israeli soldier chases down a hillside you can hear voices yelling, then the unmistakable sound of a screaming child. The boy appears in view as he turns to face the soldier. Screaming, the boy pivots then rushes past the soldier and up the hill through a mass of boulders as the soldier finally catches up with the boy and captures him. Placing the boy in a chokehold the soldier forces the struggling child over a bolder as cameras close in on the scene and record what’s happening. What follows, captured on video and camera, is a sight to behold.
The boy has a cast on his left arm. Every move the soldier makes, briefly loosening his chokehold before tightening his grip again, I wince at the thought of the boy’s arm and throat. The soldier looks exhausted and somewhat bewildered as the camera pans in on his face (1:13). As the camera pans out you can see the child struggling as the soldier tightens his grip on the child’s neck. One wonders, what threat does this child pose for the soldier? His bravery perhaps, did he throw a stone with his un-cast arm at Goliath?
The struggling continues over the wild screams of the boy. The soldier, ironically gasping for breath, yells out at the top of his lungs – calling for assistance from his comrade forces – unable to pull off this arrest of the boy on his own. He adjusts his rifle, pulls back the boy’s good arm and shoves the boy’s face towards the boulder, then stands and tries lifting the boy up from under the child’s armpits as the boy’s arms and cast fly into the air he lets out a painful scream. The soldier struggles to contain the squirming writhing boy who’s wildly kicking his legs into the air. The soldier is not up for this mission. He’s getting taken to task by a little boy. And that was before the Tamimi women of Nabi Saleh descended on the soldier.
Determined lionesses intent on rescue, showing no hesitation or fear whatsoever, they courageously plunge down on the soldier, pulling him off the child (2:05). He thrusts them off and struggle ensues, he tackles the boy again as women and girls proceed yanking his limbs, beating his head, biting him, slapping him (while the soldier is yelling for backup), mounting his back, putting a chokehold on his neck, ripping his mask and finally tearing it off his face, unmasking him completely (2:52). Other soldiers enters into the scene and rescue him from the Tamimi women of Nabi Saleh. The boy is bravely fighting him off the whole time.
Note the last scene of the video. The humiliated, defeated soldier draws a teargas canister, arms it, and throws it to the ground. This is an act of pure punishment and spite, reminiscent of the famous video of the UC Davis pepper-spray incident, which resulted in a wide-scale investigation. If there is ever a security reason for using teargas, this certainly is not such an occasion. Will the soldier face any consequences for this abuse of civilians’ rights?
Many more photos here.
Roya News TV (Arabic) reports the child’s mother and some of the village womens’ quick response “reflects the steadfastness of the Palestinian women, and heroism in defense of their land and homeland”. They also reported “Israeli occupation forces arrested two Palestinian youths, during clashes dozens of others were injured with bruises and cases of suffocation.”:
The Israeli occupation forces suppressed the march, which began after Friday prayers in the village, heading towards the confiscated areas of Nabi Saleh land.
In a statement, the Palestinian Popular Resistance Movement in the village said that Israeli soldiers attacked the march and had fired tear gas and bullets and sound towards participants.
As it heaped Israeli soldiers with rifle butts on the Palestinians, wounding seven of them injured.