When I read this morning that last September the Shin Bet had arrested two youths, Az Tamimi and Maher al-Tamimi from the village of Nabi Saleh, and their subsequent interrogations had led to the arrest of 19 more people “many of the village’s young people”, I immediately recalled the Tamimi video that went viral — the one that made headlines around the world last fall and caused so much embarrassment for the IDF. So, I checked the date of that incident, sure enough it was August 28, 2015, days or weeks before the arrests.
Probably just a coincidence.
The Haaretz article, Israeli Army Uses Dubious Testimonies to Incriminate Palestinians, Transcripts Show, describes one of the two Tamimi youths as having “a fifth-grade education, barely knows how to read and can barely write his own name” and the other “is considered by villagers to have a weak personality and to be easily swayed.”
It appears the youths, arrested at the behest of the IDF, were picked up so that interrogators could go on a fishing expedition for the purpose of rounding up and imprisoning the villagers. They ran into a few snags though as it turned out some of the villagers implicated by the youths were otherwise engaged, either out of the country, already in prison or “had a broken leg in a cast at the time of the event and could not have run” from the scene of the alleged crime.
Naturally, the military court facilitates this fiasco.
For the second time since his official interrogation ended, Az Tamimi, an 18-year-old Palestinian construction worker, was taken from his cell in Megiddo Prison for “supplementary questioning” by the police…..
Even though his testimony was ruled false in court, the police kept questioning him, hoping his story would eventually match reality…….
For example, al-Tamimi incriminated four people, saying they took part in violence with him at the end of Ramadan – but it turned out some of the four had been in Jordan that month. Al-Tamimi’s testimony was tossed out and the four were released.
The military prosecution, headed by Lt. Col. Maurice Hirsch, a resident of the settlement Efrat, did not quit. The prosecution focused on Tamimi, who had incriminated the 15 villagers.
The villagers’ lawyer, Talia Ramati, discovered that one of the people Tamimi framed had been in jail at the time he was accused of throwing rocks. The military court then released all 15 villagers, and the military prosecution reacted.
Tamimi was taken in for “supplementary questioning” by the police and was asked, “How can it be that Sacher threw rocks with you when he was in jail?” Tamimi replied, “I’m sure he threw rocks with me, but I’ve confused the date.”
The military judge accepted such answers and put all 15 back in Ofer Prison. By this point, seven were willing to sign plea bargains putting them in jail for five months to a year.
The article continues, picking up part of the court transcript. The reporter, Chaim Levinson, makes no mention of the armed humiliated soldier ambushed and unmasked while attempting to capture one of the Tamimi children last August. Maybe the two incidences are unrelated, maybe not. It occurs to me the IDF are just fed up with the Tamimi’s of Nabi Saleh and their weekly protests. Maybe they think by imprisoning a whole slew of their youths the villagers will end their resistance. But I doubt it.