Bassem Tamimi - Nabi Saleh

Category: Campaign Farmers' Stories Created: 30 April 2015

Bassem Tamimi 2015In the green hills, twenty kilometeres north-west of Ramallah lies Nabi Saleh, a village with approximately five-hundred inhabitants. For decades resistance against the Israeli colonisation has been the driving force behind life in this village. Bassem is one of the community leaders, land owner and coordinator of the resistance group: the Nabi Saleh 'Popular Resistance Committee'. Besides all this Bassem is married to Nariman and together they have three children, the eldest is eighteen and the youngest is eight years old.

In 1977, the settlement Halamish was established in the southern part of the village. For the settlement 760 dunums of Palestinian land were taken. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that the confiscation was illegal and that the land had to be returned to its rightful Palestinian owners. This decision was never implemented and to this day the residents of Nabi Saleh stand by while their land is occupied. The villagers suffer from violence and vandalism by settlers. In the past couple of years hundreds of olive trees were destroyed and uprooted. In 2009 the settlers confiscated the land around the water source, making the inhabitants of Nabi Saleh unable to access their water supply. Since then the inhabitants hold a nonviolent demonstration every Friday. The Israeli army is trying to suppress the protests through repressive measures and violence. In November 2014, the army shot with live fire at the protesters. Bassem's wife Nariman was hit in her leg. She underwent an operation in which metal screws were placed, and she is still recovering.

In the last five years, one hundred and seventy of the five hundred village residents were arrested, of which seventy children under seventeen years, and nine children under the age of fifteen years. Three hundred and fifty people have been injured. Also, the army appointed thirteen homes that will be demolished, including that of Bassem and his family. Bassem and his family dedicate their lives to the resistance. 'To exist is to resist' is their motto. "We have a right to resist and we choose the means. Resistance means to demonstrate, to boycot Israel, to document our reality and share this with the world. And to cultivate our land."

Bassem has approached the Olive Tree Campaign for help. His land, which is alongside a bypass road, is under threat of confiscation. In order to support Bassem and avoid confiscation the Olive tree campaign sponsored 100 trees in the spring of 2015.