Bassem Tamimi

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Bassem Tamimi
20180406 Bassem Tamimi Nabi Salih West Bank Palestine.jpg
Bornc. 1967 (age 55–56)
Known for
SpouseNariman Tamimi
Children4, including Ahed

Bassem Tamimi (also Bassem al-Tamimi, Arabic: باسم التميمي, born c. 1967)[1] 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".[1][2]

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.[4] His 2011 arrest drew international attention, with the European Union describing him as a human rights defender,[1] and Amnesty International designating him a prisoner of conscience.[1][3] He was arrested again in October 2012 for a demonstration in a supermarket, but released in early 2013.

He is the father of Ahed Tamimi, who was sentenced to eight months in prison under a plea bargain in 2018.[5][6]


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.[3] As a grassroots activist, he organized weekly demonstrations to protest the seizure of the village's well by the nearby Israeli settlement of Halamish,[1][7][8] 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.[1][9] Since the end of 2009, 64 people (13% of the village's population) has been arrested.[7]

Prior to his 2011 arrest, Tamimi had been arrested by Israeli authorities eleven times,[9] at one point spending more than three years in administrative detention without trial.[7] In 1993, he lost consciousness for eight days after being shaken during an interrogation,[7] and required surgery for removal of a subdural haematoma.[10] His home has also been designated for demolition by Israel's Civil Administration.[8]

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.[3] 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."[7] 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."[3]

March 2011 arrest and trial

On 24 March 2011 Tamimi was detained by Israeli forces following a demonstration.[9] 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.[2] He was subsequently held in a military prison for thirteen months.[1] 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.[11]

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.[8] 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."[12]

Tamimi, during his trial, repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the Israeli military court trying him as well as Israeli regulations regarding public gatherings.[8] The military judge ultimately found him guilty of sending stone-throwers and illegal protesting but cleared him of the two more serious charges.[2] 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.[1] Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak described Tamimi's partial exoneration as a "miracle" given the 99.74 percent conviction rate of the military court.[2] 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."[2] His lawyer denied Tamimi's involvement in stone throwing, stating that Tamimi believed in passive resistance.[2]

On 29 May, Tamimi was sentenced to time served of thirteen months' imprisonment, and an additional two suspended sentences.[13][14] A military spokeswoman stated that the sentence had been suspended due to "irregularities in the trial" and Tamimi's "clean prison record".[15] 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.[14][16] Responding to the suspended sentences, Tamimi said, "I feel that my whole life is under the surveillance of the judge."[16]

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."[17] 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."[18]

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."[3][19][20] 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."[20] He was released in early 2013.[3]

On 2 November, his sixteen-year-old son Wa'ed Tamimi was also arrested during one of the weekly demonstrations in Nabi Salih.[21] The charges against him were dismissed by a judge two weeks later.[3]

Activism 2013-present

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.[22]

In December, 2017, Tamimi's 16 year old daughter, Ahed Tamimi was seen in a viral video [23] 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.[24] In the wake of the incident, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett declared that the young women involved "should finish their lives in prison".[25]

Personal life

Tamimi has a wife, Nariman,[2] and four children.[11] The Tamimis say they were a Christian family, who became Muslim before they came to Nabi Salih (from Hebron) 300-400 years ago.[26] 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[27] in Istanbul meeting that Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.[3]

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.[28] Bassem's cousin Rushdi Muhammed Sa'id Tamimi was convicted of the October 1993 murder of Haim Mizrahi,[29] a settler from Beit El, he was released in 2013.[30] Bassem was arrested and reportedly tortured.[31] In December 2011, Tamimi's cousin Mustafa Tamimi was killed by a direct hit from a gas grenade fired at close range.[28][32] In November 2012, Tamimi's brother-in-law Rushdi Tamimi was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.[3][33][34]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Israel convicts Palestinian protest leader". Fox News. Associated Press. 20 May 2013. Archived from the original on 3 July 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Steve Weizman (20 May 2012). "West Bank activist Tamimi convicted of stoning charge". Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 15 February 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ben Ehrenreich (March 15, 2013). "Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 5, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  4. ^ Palestinian activist aims to ‘start an intifada against Israel in the US’, Times of Israel, 6 October 2015
  5. ^ Bassem Tamimi (2017-12-24). "Ahed Tamimi's Father: We Will Continue To Resist Israel's Occupation As A Family". Newsweek. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  6. ^ Ahed Tamimi sentenced to 8 months in prison in plea deal, YNET, 21 March 2018
  7. ^ a b c d e Amira Hass (28 March 2011). "Mighty Israel and its quest to quash Palestinian popular protest". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d "'Prisoner of conscience' released on bail". Ma'an News Agency. 25 April 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  9. ^ a b c Harriet Sherwood (20 May 2012). "Palestinian protester cleared of incitement charge". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Under constant medical supervision: Torture, ill-treatment and the health professions in Israel and the Occupied Territories". Amnesty International. August 1996. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories: Israel must release Palestinian detained for organising peaceful protests against expanding Israeli settlement". Amnesty International. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  12. ^ Amira Hass (27 April 2012). "West Bank protest leader Bassem Tamimi released from prison". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 20 May 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  13. ^ Tovah Lazaroff (29 May 2012). "Palestinian activist Tamimi sentenced to 13 months". Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  14. ^ a b Amira Haas (29 May 2012). "Israel's military court sentences Palestinian protest leader to 13 months in jail". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  15. ^ Rawhi Razim (29 May 2012). "Israeli Court Sentences Palestinian Protest Leader". ABC News. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Israel frees Palestinian activist, sentence suspended". Al Arabiya. Agence France-Presse. 29 May 2012. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  17. ^ Diaa Hadid (22 May 2012). "EU 'concerned' over conviction of Palestinian". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Israel: Palestinian's Conviction Violates Freedom of Assembly". Human Rights Watch. 30 May 2012. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Palestinians stage flashmob demonstration at settler supermarket". The National. Agence France-Presse. 24 October 2012. Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Israeli Authorities Must Release Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience in West Bank". Amnesty International. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  21. ^ "Israeli soldiers arrest son of detained Palestinian activist at West Bank protest". Amnesty International. 2 November 2012. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  22. ^ Anti-Defamation League Archived 2017-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, Oct 16, 2015
  23. ^ Haaretz Archived 2017-12-20 at the Wayback Machine Dec 20, 2017
  24. ^ "Palestinian Ahed Tamimi arrested by Israeli forces". Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  25. ^ Khoury, Jack; Kubovich, Yaniv (2017-12-20). "Israeli Army Arrests Palestinian Teenage Girl Who Slapped Soldiers; 'She Should Finish Her Life in Prison'". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 2017-12-29. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  26. ^ Berger, Yotam (28 January 2018). "'How Was Such a Fool Your U.S. Ambassador?' Tamimi Family Mocks Michael Oren's Secret Probe Into Whether They're Real Palestinians". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Israel arrests teenage Palestinian activist and mother". Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
  28. ^ a b Palestinian West Bank Protest Leader: 'Israel Killed the Two-state Solution' Archived 2015-09-11 at the Wayback Machine, Haaretz, Feb 17, 2013
  29. ^ Prominent West Bank Palestinian Is Murdered as Violence Escalates Archived 2015-09-25 at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Times, October 31, 1993
  30. ^ List of Palestinian terrorists set to be freed by Israel Archived 2015-09-07 at the Wayback Machine, Jerusalem Post, Dec 29, 2013
  31. ^ Israel's Interrogation of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories Archived 2016-06-10 at the Wayback Machine, Human Rights Watch, 1994
  32. ^ Israeli Military Closes Probe Into Death of Palestinian Protester Mustafa Tamimi Archived 2015-09-26 at the Wayback Machine, Haaretz, Dec 5, 2013
  33. ^ IDF Probe: 80 Bullets Fired Without Justification in Death of West Bank Palestinian Archived 2015-09-06 at the Wayback Machine, Haaretz, Jan 13, 2013
  34. ^ Palestinian dies after being shot during protest Archived 2013-12-14 at the Wayback Machine, Jerusalem Post, Nov 19, 2012

See also