The Institute for Middle East Understanding put out subtitled footage today of Israeli soldiers raiding a home in Nabi Saleh in the West Bank at 2:00 AM on the night of March 20, 2012. The footage captures soldiers entering the home of Bassem Tamimi, an imprisoned Palestinian nonviolent leader, and confiscating items without warrant.
A few things must be pointed out:
1. Up until the very end, the soldiers appear to be calmly engaged in their duties. An absence of violence, however, does not imply an absence of injustice. The soldiers were being filmed by at least two cameras; their every move was documented. I can’t be sure why the video cameras themselves weren’t confiscated (possibly because at least one camera was registered to B’Tselem’s camera project) but it is obvious that their presence kept the soldiers from doing any more damage.
2. While the footage appears calm in nature, and even though one soldier (at 8:40) returns a bag of items to its original place on a closet shelf, the soldiers are still in violation of human rights and civil law protocol. For one thing, the raid was entirely unwarranted and, thus, illegal. Tamimi is a nonviolent, anti-Wall protester who was arrested last year for charges as inflated as “incitement to throwing objects” and “organizing and participating in unauthorized processions”. Amnesty International has called on Israel to release Tamimi immediately, but Israel’s response included yet another raid on his family’s home. Again, their was no warrant for the search. The Israeli soldiers shouldn’t have been ransacking the house in the first place.
3. From what the footage shows, the confiscated items include a laptop, a computer unit, a gas mask, and what appear to be tapes of some sort. Aside from the fact that these items were essentially stolen from Tamimi’s home, they also say a lot about Tamimi’s detention. These items will be screened for incriminating evidence. Since Tamimi is a nonviolent protestor who, according to Amnesty International, is imprisoned over his political conscience, Israel will be searching for any evidence that links Tamimi to some form of violence. The fact that Israel is still looking for evidence to substantiate Tamimi’s imprisonment two and a half weeks after detaining him indicates that he is unlawfully being held on bogus charges.
4. The overnight raid is used as a strategy to inconvenience and threaten a targeted family. By forcefully entering the house at 2:00 AM, sleep is interrupted and children are forced to witness foreign soldiers rummage through what is supposed to be their safe haven, their home.
The footage was originally posted by Bilal Tamimi here and brought to attention by Electronic Intifada blogger Jalal Abukhater. Special thanks to the Institute for Middle East Understanding for adding English subtitles.