Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bassem Tamimi - ML King would understand

Thanks to Israeli activist Jonathan Pollard from whom I received the news that Bassem Tamimi (shown), the leader of non-violent protests in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh has had his detention extended. He was arrested, held for seven days and now it will be for eleven more.

This by order of an Israeli military judge.

Here are the charges against him
  • incitement
  • organizing marches without a permit
  • solicitation to throw stones
  • disobeying the duty to report to questioning
  • giving youth advice on how to respond to interrogation if they are arrested
This goes right back to the bad old days of civil rights protests in the United States where black protesters were arrested, charged with absurd "crimes", put before a white judge and convicted. Martin Luther King, Jr. would immediately recognize Tamimi's predicament.

This is what we Americans are making possible with our support of Israel and we should be ashamed our ourselves for doing so, particularly in light of our own national history. Even in the worst days of segregation in America, there was at least the pretense that blacks were under the civil laws of the land. With Israel, all Palestinians in the occupied territories are under Israeli military law - the laws of the occupying army. Some justice.

UPDATE: Having been held in prison awaiting trial (Palestinians don't have any right to bail under Israeli military law), Tamimi's trial is to begin on June 4, 2011. You should read this account of Tamimi's history - he has lived his entire life under Israeli occupation and has spent 3 years in Israeli prisons though he has never been convicted of anything.

UPDATE (December 2011): The Foreign Minister of France weighs in on the side of Tamimi, still undergoing the purposefully lengthy procedure of a "trial" under Israeli military law.

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