The West Bank has been occupied by Israel for over two generations. The Western World watches on as Palestinian children are labelled as violet terrorist – hateful savages who are fighting innocent Israelis. Palestinian children are seen as tools of propaganda, used by their families to incite international sympathy.
What is conveniently forgotten is that children like Ahed Tamimi have only known a life under occupation – one in which access to basic freedoms is never guaranteed, where even the local spring was occupied.
It’s a life which none of us would accept for ourselves and our children, and yet we expect the Palestinians to do exactly that. The Palestinians aren’t “acting out” to create propaganda – they’re fighting for their basic human rights.
Ahed, and the children who have grown up in the occupied territories their whole lives, have had to be incredibly strong and resilient their whole lives. They are second class citizens who have watched as their people and their homes are assaulted by Israeli soldiers.
Ahed first came to my attention when she was about 14 years old. I was struck by her wild blonde and piercing blue eyes that tore into your soul. She spoke with the passion of a seasoned activist but had the wishes of any other child.
But Ahed wasn’t just a child speaking for cameras. She was a well known activist in her village from a well known activist family.
In mid December 2017, Ahed was arrested for slapping a full-armed Israeli soldier in the face. Israeli authorities are now seeking 12 charges against this child. It’s likely that she will face a long amount of time in prison.
Of course, the viral video of Ahed slapping the soldier doesn’t show that earlier, Israeli forces had shot her cousin in the face with a rubber bullet, leaving him in a critical condition and a medically induced coma. This child was forced to tell armed soldiers to get away from her home – she now faces a lengthy prison sentence.
Prisoners’ rights group, Addameer has said that the authorities routinely targets “the youngest and most vulnerable” members of politically active Palestinian families to “exert pressure on their family and the entire community to put an end to all social mobilisation.”
But that’s not all. Israel’s Education Minister, Naftali Bennet has suggested that Ahed and the other women in the video should “finish their lives in prison”. There are suggests that her mother posted the video of the incident on social media as a propaganda tool and yet it seems perfectly acceptable that the Israeli army posted a video of the arrest on Twitter.
An Israeli journalist has suggested that Israeli’s should “exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras…The Tamimi family has to learn, the hard way, that such systematic provocations” come at great cost, leading to suggestions that he was inciting sexual assault. Of course, the journalist himself says that he meant that Israeli authorities should manage the issue quietly and without media intervention.
But who knows? There have been serious concerns raised by the UN about the treatment of Palestinian children that are detained by Israeli authorities, with threats of physical and sexual violence made against them.
Although Ahed is facing serious prison time, her actions, there are hopes that her actions will inspire other young activists. There are questions about why her slap is receiving a greater punishment than that of state-sanction violence that has suffocated the Palestinians for decades.
This is not okay. If you’re willing to think that the disgusting hypocrite, Gal Gadot (a former Israeli soldier who is unashamedly pro the occupation) is a feminist icon and that Ahed Tamimi deserves to be locked up – well shame on you.
If you want to do something to support this child, I have shared some information on my Facebook page:
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