|Born||c. 1967 (age 52–53)|
|Children||4, including Ahed|
Bassem Tamimi (also Bassem al-Tamimi, Arabic: باسم التميمي, born c. 1967) is a Palestinian grassroots activist and an organizer of protests against Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. He was convicted by an Israeli military court in 2012 (after being arrested in 2011) for "sending people to throw stones, and holding a march without a permit".
In his West Bank village Nabi Salih, Tamimi organizes weekly demonstrations against Israeli settlement. He has been arrested by the Israeli authorities over a dozen times, at one point spending more than three years in administrative detention without trial. Tamimi has said that he advocates grassroots, nonviolent resistance, but has also said that stone-throwing is an important symbol of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. His 2011 arrest drew international attention, with the European Union describing him as a human rights defender, and Amnesty International designating him a prisoner of conscience. He was arrested again in October 2012 for a demonstration in a supermarket, but released in early 2013.
Tamimi was ten weeks old at the time of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in June 1967 and hid with his mother in a cave during the conflict. As a grassroots activist, he organized weekly demonstrations to protest the seizure of the village's well by the nearby Israeli settlement of Halamish, established in 1977. The protests regularly lead to violent clashes, with Palestinian youths throwing stones and Israeli forces firing on protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons. Since the end of 2009, 64 people (13% of the village's population) has been arrested.
Prior to his 2011 arrest, Tamimi had been arrested by Israeli authorities eleven times, at one point spending more than three years in administrative detention without trial. In 1993, he lost consciousness for eight days after being shaken during an interrogation, and required surgery for removal of a subdural haematoma. His home has also been designated for demolition by Israel's Civil Administration.
Tamimi is an admirer of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi and believes that armed conflict against a more powerful Israeli opponent will only bring disaster. Tamimi states that he advocates nonviolent resistance, telling a reporter in 2011, "Our strategic choice of a popular struggle—as a means to fight the occupation taking over our lands, lives and future—is a declaration that we do not harm human lives. The very essence of our activity opposes killing." However, he has stated he is not concerned as to whether stone-throwing is a form of violence, but views it instead as a symbol of Palestinian resistance: "We see our stones as our message."
March 2011 arrest and trial
On 24 March 2011 Tamimi was detained by Israeli forces following a demonstration. Following his arrest, he was charged with sending youths to throw stones, holding a march without a permit, incitement, and perverting the course of justice. He was subsequently held in a military prison for thirteen months. Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience, "detained solely for his role in organizing peaceful protests against the encroachment onto Palestinian lands by Israeli settlers," and called for his immediate and unconditional release.
On 27 April 2012 Tamimi was released on 12,000 shekels (US$3,193) bail due to a stroke suffered by his mother two weeks previous. An army prosecutor protested against his release, stating that Tamimi would "most definitely continue to use the status he received because of his arrest to influence young people to throw stones."
Tamimi, during his trial, repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the Israeli military court trying him as well as Israeli regulations regarding public gatherings. The military judge ultimately found him guilty of sending stone-throwers and illegal protesting but cleared him of the two more serious charges. She stated that testimony from a 14-year-old witness had been inconsistent and therefore unusable and that she had found misrepresentations by interrogators about the content of the confession of another witness. Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak described Tamimi's partial exoneration as a "miracle" given the 99.74 percent conviction rate of the military court. Before his sentencing Tamimi stated that "the laws come from an occupying regime whose legitimacy I do not recognise. I don't think even for a single minute that there is going to be justice done." His lawyer denied Tamimi's involvement in stone throwing, stating that Tamimi believed in passive resistance.
On 29 May, Tamimi was sentenced to time served of thirteen months' imprisonment, and an additional two suspended sentences. A military spokeswoman stated that the sentence had been suspended due to "irregularities in the trial" and Tamimi's "clean prison record". Under the terms of Tamimi's suspended sentences, he would be imprisoned for two months if he participated in an illegal demonstration within two years of the sentencing, and imprisoned for seven months if he participated in "activity against the security forces" within five years. Responding to the suspended sentences, Tamimi said, "I feel that my whole life is under the surveillance of the judge."
Catherine Ashton, the European Union High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, expressed the EU's concern over the conviction and called on Israel to allow peaceful protests. She also condemned the interrogation of a minor without a lawyer in the investigation as a "violation of his rights." Human Rights Watch stated that the conviction "violates [Tamimi's] right to freedom of assembly, while [the court's] conviction of him on a second charge of urging children to throw stones on the basis of a child’s coercively-obtained statement raises serious concerns about the fairness of his trial."
October 2012 arrest
On 24 October, Tamimi joined 80 other activists, both Palestinian and international, in a protest at a Rami Levy supermarket in the West Bank just north of Jerusalem. The activists carried banners reading "Boycott occupation and its products." Tamimi was arrested during the protest, which the Israeli police called "an illegal demonstration." Amnesty International again described him as a prisoner of conscience, stating "Once again, Bassem Tamimi is being held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly." He was released in early 2013.
In 2015, the Anti-Defamation League condemned a post (since deleted) by Tamimi on social media, where he allegedly spread the false myth of the Israel harvesting the organs of Palestinian children.
In December, 2017, Tamimi's 16 year old daughter, Ahed Tamimi was seen in a viral video  pushing, punching and kicking Israeli soldiers, following their cousin being shot in the face with a rubber bullet and being put into an induced coma. The next day, she was arrested for the first time by the Israeli army, in a pre-dawn raid on their home in Nabi Salih. Later in the day, Ahad's mother Nariman was allegedly arrested too when visiting her daughter at a police station. In the wake of the incident, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett declared that the young women involved "should finish their lives in prison".
Tamimi has a wife, Nariman, and four children. The Tamimis was a Christian family, who became Muslim before they came to Nabi Salih (from Hebron) 300-400 years ago. In 2012, a photograph of his daughter Ahed shaking her fist at an Israeli soldier became internationally famous, and she received the Handala Courage award in Istanbul meeting that Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In 1993, Tamimi's sister, Bassama Tamimi died while attending his remand hearing at the military court in Ramallah, allegedly after she was pushed down a flight of stairs by an Israeli army interpreter. Bassem's cousin Rushdi Muhammed Sa'id Tamimi was convicted of the October 1993 murder of Haim Mizrahi, a settler from Beit El, he was released in 2013. Bassem was arrested and reportedly tortured. In December 2011, Tamimi's cousin Mustafa Tamimi was killed by a direct hit from a gas grenade fired at close range. In November 2012, Tamimi's brother-in-law Rushdi Tamimi was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.
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