Nabi Saleh is a tiny Palestinian village of approximately 550 people, between Ramallah and Tel Aviv in the West Bank. The Tamimi family, like many other Palestinian families, has been resisting the occupation for generations — from the crusaders, to the Ottomans to the British, to Israel.

IMG_8705A part of a much larger family from Hebron, the Tamimi family left Hebron and established themselves among these hills before anyone can remember. The earliest demographic recording, conducted by the British Mandate of Palestine, dates back to 1922 and states that over 100 people were living in Nabi Saleh. During Ottoman rule, they erected their landmark figure, the shrine of the prophet Saleh, which still stands today. The shrine is situated on the remains of a crusader structure, which was built atop the ruins of a Byzantine era church.

In 1945, when the UN passed Resolution 181 Future Government of Palestine, Nabi Saleh was a part of the proposed Arab territories. However, following the Arab-Israeli War the area was captured by Jordan and examined under Jordanian rule until 1967, when Israel captured the land and the occupation of the Palesatinian territories was expanded.

In 1976 an illegal Israeli settlement and military base were established on their land. The residents lodged a court case against the settlement in Israel’s high court, but were unable to stop it’s construction. Even though the court ruled that the settlement was illegal and should be removed, it never has been. Additionally, in 2008 when the settlement began constructing a fence on more of their land — guarded by their armed private security forces — the Israeli court ruled that the fence was illegal, but yet again, it was never dismantled and the Israeli Army continued to protect the settlers.

In protest of continued failed attempts to reclaim their land, in December 2009, when settlers seized a number of their fresh water springs, the village began weekly non-violent demonstrations. Over the course of the next several years this small demonstrations would grow and grow to include international and Israeli solidarity activists, local and international journalists, politicians, diplomats and other notable figures. From a village almost no one in Palestine knew of, to local and international fame, the sun in Nabi Saleh was just starting to rise.