Teenager Ahed Tamimi Could Face Years In Israeli Prison

Protesters holding posters of Khalida Jarrar and Ahed Tamimi to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails on 1 January in Gaza City. Ashraf Amra APA images
Protesters holding posters of Khalida Jarrar and Ahed Tamimi to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails on 1 January in Gaza City. Ashraf Amra APA images

The Israeli military filed 12 charges on Monday against Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi.

The 16-year-old, who was filmed in an encounter with soldiers in her home village of Nabi Saleh last month, could remain in Israeli prisons for years if convicted on charges including throwing stones, incitement and assaulting and threatening a soldier.

Israel’s military tribunals are notorious for their near-100 percent conviction rate against Palestinians.

In an interview with The Real News last week, Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi described his daughter’s 19 December arrest in a night raid on the family’s occupied West Bank home.

He also repeated his contention that one of the soldiers Ahed is accused of “assaulting” had earlier shot in the face and severely injured Ahed’s 15-year-old cousin Muhammad Fadel Tamimi.

Ahed and her cousin Nour attempted to remove two Israeli soldiers from the family’s property.

Ahed was seen in a video lightly slapping and shoving one of the armed men.

Ahed, Nour and Ahed’s mother Nariman, were all detained by the army following the circulation of the video amid calls by Israeli leaders for revenge against the family.

Ahed is one of more than 300 Palestinian children currently in Israeli military custody.

Nariman is also facing charges of “incitement” for live-streaming the incident.

Nour, 20, was due to be released on Monday, but was also charged on Sunday with aggravated assault and interfering with a soldier’s duties.

According to her father Naji Tamimi, she remained in custody following an appeal against her release by the Israeli military prosecutor.

In a post on Facebook Tuesday, Naji Tamimi said he expects another hearing in her case in coming days.

The Tamimi family has become well-known for its role in Nabi Saleh’s civil resistance against Israeli occupation and colonization, a campaign that has cost many villagers their lives and freedom due to Israel’s violent response.

Ahed’s aunt Manal Tamimi was arrested on 28 December while protesting near an Israeli military prison:

According to family member Bilal Tamimi she was set to be released Tuesday if Israeli military prosecutors did not object.

No solidarity from western feminists

Ahed has become an international focus of solidarity, and for many an icon of resistance, since Israeli occupation forces seized her from her home.

From a young age, Ahed has participated in defending her village and home from Israeli soldiers.

Yet the solidarity has been selective. “There has been a curious lack of support for Ahed from Western feminist groups, human rights advocates and state officials who otherwise present themselves as the purveyors of human rights and champions of girls’ empowerment,” gender researcher Shenila Khoja-Moolji observes in a commentary for Al Jazeera.

The silence is all the more noticeable since Ben Caspit, a prominent Israeli journalist, demanded that the army should “exact a price” from the Tamimi women “in the dark, without witnesses or cameras.”

Caspit’s comment was widely interpreted as a suggestion that the women should be sexually assaulted, though he adamantly denied this.

Ahed, like the Nobel Prize-winning education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, has a long history of standing up to injustice, Khoja-Moolji notes, but unlike Malala, Ahed has yet to receive invitations to meet world leaders including Barack Obama or to address the United Nations.

On the contrary, last year Ahed was blocked from traveling to the US to speak about the injustices faced by Palestinians.

Her father Bassem, previously declared by Amnesty International to be a prisoner of conscience, was also denied a visa to speak in Australia.

Collective punishment

The detentions of the Tamimis came amid a wave of almost 600 arrests of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on 6 December.

More than 450 Palestinians are currently held without charge or trial – so-called administrative detention which can be renewed indefinitely.

Last week, Israeli military courts confirmed or renewed administrative detention orders against 41 Palestinian detainees.

Among those whose orders were renewed is promiment leftist leader and Palestinian Legislative Councilmember Khalida Jarrar, who was most recently arrested in July.

Israeli occupation forces detained Nasser Abdel-Jawad, another Palestinian lawmaker, in a pre-dawn raid on his home in the West Bank village of Deir Ballut on Monday, according to prisoners solidarity group Samidoun.

His arrest brought to 12 the number of Palestinian lawmakers jailed by Israel, nine of them without charge or trial.

Palestinians continue to resist their detention by Israel. Rizk Rajoub, 61, began an open hunger strike on 23 December when the Israeli military court made him choose between administrative detention and exile in Sudan, according to Samidoun.

Rajoub has spent approximately 20 years in Israeli prisons, 10 of them in administrative detention. His most recent arrest from his home village of Dura was in November.

Samidoun also reported on Palestinian Israa Jaabis, 32, who was sentenced to 11 years on 7 November by an Israeli court in Jerusalem.

Jaabis, from occupied East Jerusalem, sustained severe burns and lost most of her fingers after a gas canister caused a fire in her car in October 2015. She was then accused of attempting to detonate the car when she was hundreds of meters from an Israeli checkpoint.

Her family vehemently denied the claim, stating that Jaabis was moving to a new apartment and had been transferring furniture for days, including the gas canister when it exploded.

Twitter users have been using the hashtag #FreeIsraa to show support for Jaabis, who according to Samidoun is not receiving adequate medical treatment in prison.

Child detainee Marah al-Jaidi, 16, was released by Israel on Monday

She spent a year in prison accused of possessing a knife and intending to use it against occupation soldiers.

Palestinian media circulated photos of Marah’s family greeting her on her release:

Following her release, Marah told local media about the harsh conditions imposed on women and girls in Israeli prisons and urged support for them.

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.

Originally published in The Electronic Intifada

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