Better to Self-Publish

Until now I’d been pretty happy with the lack of constraints on my writing at Palestine Monitor. The article I linked to yesterday, however, has been converted to a photo story and stripped of its anthropological interest. Back to the follow-the-drama news bullshit. I’m going to post the original piece here instead.

Fighting Guns with Humor

Stones are not the only strength Palestinians of the popular resistance use against the Israeli army. In places like Nabi Saleh where soldiers respond to weekly demonstrations with tear gas, physical assaults, and rubber-coated steel bullets, villagers face the repression with a sense of humor to balance their unrelenting demands for justice.

On Friday about 15 women young and old rushed after soldiers taking 28-year-old Khaled Tamimi from his home near the entrance to Nabi Saleh. “I will work with Ahmadinejad if you don’t give him back!” Khaled’s mother, Kheetam, shouted amidst the horde of family members demanding his release.

A Nabi Saleh woman demands that Israeli soldiers return Khaled Tamimi to his wife and daughter

Khaled, a security officer for the Palestinian Authority, had been watching Germany play Serbia in a World Cup match on television when nine soldiers entered his house to use the balcony as a launch pad for tear gas at villagers demonstrating against impending home demolitions.

“They said to me “come here,” and they took my identity card, and then said to go with them,” Khaled reported. The soldiers took him inside one of their jeeps and fended off the shouting women by shoving them and detonating sound grenades.

Israeli soldiers force villagers away from the jeep where they took Khaled

Zeinab Tamimi (middle) cries after soldiers took her husband

Soldiers drove down the road to their guard tower, and according to Khaled, “The captain said to me that I must stop the guys who throw the stones.” Cheers erupted from the village women only ten minutes later when the soldiers released Khaled without arrest.

Khaled’s cousin, Waala, celebrates after soldiers release him from their custody

Three weeks earlier, Israeli soldiers entered the Tamimi house and removed Khaled’s 21-year-old brother, Mohammed. That time Kheetam shouted at the soldiers that she would join Hezbollah if they did not release him. They took Mohammed to a station at a nearby settlement before releasing him without charge after four hours.

While Kheetam defends her sons and worries for their safety, her husband, Attallah, is officially banned from his home village on Fridays, after being arrested three months ago.  He visits relatives in other parts of the West Bank while demonstrators and soldiers engage in a back-and-forth game of taunts and tear gas around Nabi Saleh.

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas into the village

Using humor to combat Israel’s guns, Kheetam declared that next time the soldiers try to take her family members, she will pledge allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

Kheetam Tamimi

“Bin Laden!” Kheetam cried with laughter. Her daughter-in-law, Zeinab, joined the joke, saying, “She’s a dangerous woman.”

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