Bassem Abu Rahmeh and the Killing in Bil’in

21 04 2009


Basem Abu Rahme - Palestine Monitor

Bassem Abu Rahmeh - Palestine Monitor

A moment of silence needs to be given to all those protesters who fight for peace and freedom and die doing so.

Bassem Abu Rahmeh deserves more than just a moment. He’s been in the news lately because he was killed by a tear-gas canister thrown by Israeli soldiers that left a hole in his chest (I’m not exaggerating). He died in the car, halfway to Ramallah Hospital.

What was Bassem doing, you may ask? He was protesting in Bil’in against the separation wall that Israel has built years ago, effectively cutting villages from a large portion of farmland. He is actually a resident of Bil’in.

These are weekly demonstrations organized by a brave group of young men and women, Israelis and Palestinians, called Anarchists Against The Wall (AATW). No one can deny their courage and persistence. I have met one of the organizers and protesters during his fundraising trip to the U.S.; a nervous and quiet young man called Nir Harel. Although he did not seem like a natural speaker, his silence said more than his words; and his beliefs do more than his speeches.

In the YouTube video (you need to be more than 18 years old to view it) you see Bassem yelling at Israeli soldiers on the other side of the fence who had already started throwing the canisters. AATW reported that he was saying, in Hebrew, “we are in a nonviolent protest, there are kids and internationals…” I cannot verify that of course because I don’t speak Hebrew.

You see some of the protestors later going to talk to those Israeli soldiers. They have an argument. The Israeli soldiers walk away and then throw some more tear-gas canisters; so nonchalantly, so casually.


My view is perhaps already apparent through these paragraphs. This is cold-blooded murder; another murder that will go unpunished in Israel.

However, if my view is considered biased because I’m an Arab and a Muslim, I suggest reading Alex Stein’s comments. I have mentioned Stein in a previous post. He is a libertarian Israeli, with much to say. From his personal experience, soldiers are clearly warned that this is a lethal weapon that could kill.

LB, a blogger on Occidental Israeli, argued under this same post that stones are also a lethal weapon that could kill. Point taken, if they are 20-30kg hailed from high points. I have heard this from my Israeli professor in Modern Israel class. Like many other Israeli and pro-Israel bloggers, however, he seems to have completely brushed off the incident. More details needed, he said.

Bassem deserves the acknowledgement that he was killed by Israeli soldiers; that he was murdered, with or without details. The inhumanity of some of these comments is beyond disturbing. I doubt that LB would need more details for the death of a settler in the West Bank.


One note:

I have included a picture of Bassem because people often forget that it’s a human who has died in these situations, and mind you, not a violent human in this case.

We can become immune to these killings, and a human face to death and suffering might wake those of us who are asleep.

To those who want to deny Bassem his right for mourning, regardez-le.


A libertarian’s note on Umm al-Fahm

24 03 2009

Alex Stein -

Alex Stein -

Alex Stein is one of those modern-day bloggers who would make you nostalgic for old Shakespearean English, or at least really articulate, witty and sometimes sarcastic English.

He is a British Jewish scholar who lives in a place he likes to call “Zion.” On his website, False Dichotomies, he explores different aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and many other issues, writing in this particular post an account of his day at Umm al-Fahm, the Palestinian-Israeli town that saw recent protests against a right-wing march. 

Stein had joined a counter-demonstration against the right-wingers, arriving at Umm al-Fahm on a bus with the Israeli organization Peace Now. In this light-hearted post, with the usual Stein wittiness, he tells the story of that particular day, with an anecdote here and there that would keep you awake and reading.

To those of you who are still curious about Umm al-Fahm, this should give you a unique and brief account from a witness who is neither a right-winger, nor a Palestinian-Israeli. I like Stein for this simple initiative that many Israelis show when all things collapse and become an “our side or their side” situation.