Point Blank, #MustafaTamimi

Related: Israel killed Mustafa Tamimi Overview | The Funeral – in pictures

PNN – Palestine News Network – 12.12.11 | by Gary Spedding

It is difficult to know how to begin writing about this tragedy without reflecting the raw anger and sorrow being felt not just by Palestinians but in fact the majority of those who have heard of this story throughout the world.



An Israeli soldier and a journalist at a protest in Qalandia on September 21, 2011 (Brendan Work, PNN).
There can thus be no question that this will be a piece written with clear emotional bias, but then again, we are talking about yet another incident involving a young Palestinian man shot in the face at point-blank range with a high velocity tear gas canister. The deliberate manner in which this was carried out was not just in total contravention of international law but also Israeli military regulation itself.
We cannot be mistaken in this clear-cut case as to the cause of death: shot directly in the face during the weekly demonstrations against the ongoing construction of the illegal concrete wall in the village of al-Nabi Saleh, Mustafa Tamimi has been robbed of his life. On International Human Rights Day, no less.
The death of a 28-year-old man is not just a tragedy to be spoken about in shock and then moved away from especially in this instance. I describe it as a thoughtless and deliberate act of murder committed by an IDF soldier poking a gun out the back of his fully armored jeep.
The gun can clearly be seen aiming directly at Tamimi who was throwing stones at what he quite correctly saw as an oppressor in military uniform interrupting and interfering with the lives of his people.
Even if the IDF infers “it was for state security,” I would like the question to be asked and remain at the forefront of people’s minds as to whether shooting a relatively unarmed (stone-throwing) person from the back of an armored jeep can possibly be justified. The stones obviously posed no threat the soldiers inside.
Sickeningly, there have also been reports that the IDF held up an ambulance taking him to the hospital where he died the following morning.
We must also think about what the result of yet another death amongst the Palestinian population will be in terms of reactions and long-term effects. I guess that those who support the nonviolence movement will probably gain a certain determination to protest strongly regarding this with the Israeli government and military. I hope they will make some noise but I doubt it will make enough for anything to be done about this crime. Many, however, will react by shying away from the struggle for human rights and basic freedoms and of obviously there will be some reacting in anger over this crime.
Israeli society reactions to Tamimi’s death have been varied with little help from the IDF spokespeople from the West Bank trying to actually justify their actions to the public. Are we really seeing an Israel where public opinion both locally and internationally has become more important than following proper internal and external investigation procedures? They drag up Tamimi’s jail record and say, as Captain Barak Raaz, Spokesperson for the IDF’s Judea and Samaria division said, “Death is regrettable – always. But we cannot ignore the role that violent rioters have in this unfortunate and cyclic story.”
The main, though rarely considered, result will be seen among Palestinians throughout the West Bank and even in Gaza who feel the very real fear that something similar as this could happen to them at any moment. There will be a strong resonance that this incident achieved what it is so obviously intended to do in stopping Palestinians from believing that protesting using nonviolence is an option.
The IDF spokes person and the various accounts set up on twitter to glorify commanders of the Israeli military in the West Bank may as well have put up status updates proclaiming the idea they know is getting out there. “Come to a protest and you could end up like Mustafa Tamimi”.
Further to this is the shifting of narratives in order to say that what was done was a necessity against violent, rioting Palestinians. I mean, lo and behold, the IDF have already tried justifying what they have done to Mustafa Tamimi. They have set a precedent allowing the justification of every incident both previous and following this incident. When they lay out a single sling shot as if it’s some kind of impressive weapons haul, we see the truth of IDF mentality throughout the West Bank.
I cannot help but think back in irony to a film I watched for the fourth time recently, called Avatar, but not in the way some might think. Yes, I could talk about the obvious parallel of natives fighting invaders with nothing but bows and arrows in a half-truth kind of way–that would likely receive a lot of criticism from some, but what I am really invoking here is the fact that different narratives are really very powerful when it comes to issues such as this. For instance, in Avatar, because the story is portrayed in a certain way, the audience progressively gains sympathy for the indigenous people’s narrative, despite the fact that the opposing narrative could just as easily also be reinforced.
It occurs all the time in various stories we read, see and hear about, and it depends entirely on the context and portrayal of that situation on who we sympathize with in the long run.
What I am trying to say here is that it really depends on the narrative and the way things are portrayed as to how someone will react to the image of Mustafa Tamimi after a tear gas canister has struck his head. I urge everyone to look at him and realize he was a human being, a precious life – he had a story as do countless others that also never get to tell theirs now that they are gone, his narrative from his perspective is now lost forever.
Shockingly, as it has already been said, the chances of a conviction for this crime are very slim, despite all the photographic evidence and eye-witness accounts. A meaningful and just punishment will most likely never be handed out. Justice for Mustafa Tamimi will likely never be seen.

Source and more at the PNN – Palestine News Network

Related: Israel killed Mustafa Tamimi Overview | The Funeral – in pictures

How many more dead corpses of Palestinians does the international community need to see in order to act? How many more cruelties and violations of Human Rights, Regulations and International Law will be needed to intervene so this ongoing warcrime is being stopped once and for all.

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