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Global Justice in the 21st Century: Why the Experience of Ahed Tamimi Matters

World  (tags: palestine, israel, occupation, oppression, humiliation, child prisoners, Ahed Tamimi, disproportionate punishment, discrimination, control, emblematic, Nakba, mass displacements, courage )

- 367 days ago -
When Palestinians are noticed, as in this incident, it tends to be with derision, expressions of a domineering Israeli political will that considers it entirely fitting to impose punishments on Palestinian children of a severity totally disproportionate


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Evelyn B (63)
Thursday February 15, 2018, 9:59 am
Why the Experience of Ahed Tamimi Matters
13 Feb

It is now known by virtually everyone who follows the Palestinian struggle that a 16 year old girl, now 17, named Ahed Tamimi, confronted Israeli soldiers on her family’s land shortly after her cousin, Mohammed, was shot in the face with a rubber bullet, causing a coma. The video of her actions has gone viral, showing the world a courageous young woman engaging in nonviolent acts of resistance, and then a day later in the middle of the night being arrested in her home and then charged with a series of crimes; as is standard Israeli practice in the arrest of children, Aden was hauled off to an Israeli prison facility out of reach of her family and then denied bail.

As has been widely noted, Ahed Tamimi is a heroic victim for those in Palestine and elsewhere who approve of the Palestinian national struggle, and commend such symbolic acts of nonviolent resistance. Ahed has also been often called ‘iconic’ because her story, now and before, is so emblematic of the extraordinary perseverance of the Palestinian people who having endured fifty years of occupation, and seventy years since the mass dispossession of 1948 known to Palestinians as the Nakba. This prolonged ordeal continues to unfold without a decent ending in sight. The fact that Ahed is a child and a girl reinforces the double image of courage, stubborn resistance, and victimization. It is also notable that as early as 2013 Ahed gained prominence when given The Handala Courage Award by a Turkish municipality in Istanbul, an occurrence given great attention due to a breakfast in her honor arranged by then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While only 13, Ahed opened an art exhibit in Istanbul aptly titled “Being a Child in Palestine.”

The Israeli reaction, as might be expected, was as negative and denigrating as the Palestinian response was affirmative, maybe more so. Israel’s Minister of Culture, no less, Mira Regev referred to Ahed this way: “She is not a little girl, she is a terrorist. It about time they will understand that people like her have to be in jail and not allowed to incite racism and subversion against the state of Israel.” The internationally known Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, was more precise in describing the punishment that fit Ahed’s supposed crime: “Ahed Tamimi should serve a life sentence for her crime.” More luridly, Ben Caspit, a prominent journalist, made a rather shocking assertion of how Ahed’s type of defiant behavior shockingly deserves to be addressed outside the framework of law: “In the case of girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark without witnesses or cameras.” Some critics have read this statement as advocacy of sexual abuse, even rape, but whatever its intention, the fact that such language can be used openly at the higher levels of Israeli discourse, without arousing an Israeli backlash is suggestive of a terroristic style of governance relied upon to break the will of Palestinian resistance.

Mira Regev’s reaction to the Tamimi video clip situates the Israeli reaction to Ahed Tamimi’s in ways that seem to reflect the dominant mood in the country that perversely reverses the realities of oppressor and oppressed, victimizers and victims: “When I watched that I felt humiliated. I felt crushed,” finding the incident “damaging to the honor of the military and the state of Israel.” It is this strange sense that it is Israelis, not Palestinians, that experience humiliation in the current situation, despite Israel being in total control of every aspect of the Palestinian life experience, which for Palestinians involves a daily encounter with oppressive policies designed to frighten, humiliate, and subjugate. In contrast, Israelis enjoy the benefit of urban freedom and prosperity in an atmosphere of normalcy with relatively high levels of security in recent years that has greatly diminished the security threat, and in the process, effectively erased Palestinian grievances and aspirations from public consciousness. When Palestinians are noticed, as in this incident, it tends to be with derision, and expressions of a domineering Israeli political will that considers it entirely fitting to impose punishments on Palestinian children of a severity totally disproportionate to the gravity of the supposed crime. It is this disparity between the reality of Palestinian resistance and the rhetoric of Israeli oppressive options that gives Ahed Tamimi’s story such symbolic poignancy.

Of course, there are more sophisticated Israeli responses to Ahed’s challenge. Some commentators claim that what is disproportionate is the global attention devoted to the incident, even suggesting that it was a cynical ploy meant to distract world public opinion due to the failure of Hamas to deliver on its call for a third intifada in response to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and so move the U.S. Embassy.

Other critics insist that the incident was staged by the Palestinians, with cameras at the ready, and not as spontaneous as the video wants us to believe. Such a contention seems irrelevant, even if correct, as Ahed’s defiance was prompted by the shooting and wounding of her cousin a short time before, which was certainly not staged, but rather a reflection of oppressive and violent Israeli responses to Palestinian demonstrations of resistance. To belittle her acts as instruments of ‘infowar’ is also to ignore the uncertainty she faced when so strongly confronting Israeli soldiers and challenging their authority. She could not have known that these soldiers would not violently retaliate, as indeed some Israelis wished had happened to avoid ‘humiliation’ on the Israeli side. Ahed’s bravery and dignified reaction seem to be authentic given the wider context, as does the resistance of the Tamimi family in the town of Nabi Saleh that undoubtedly socialized Ahed into a culture of nonviolent practice.

I think these polarized responses to the incident offer a defining metaphor for the current phase of Israel/Palestine relations. The metaphor is given a special vividness because Ahed Tamimi as a child epitomizes the mentality and tactics of an oppressive state. The prospect of Ahed’s case being heard by a military court that finds that more than 99% of defendants are guilty of the crimes of which they are accused. This is reminiscent of South African administration of criminal justice at the height of apartheid racism.

Beyond the legal fate of Ahed’s case is the unspeakable inhumanity of holding a civilian population captive generation after generation. Ahed Tamimi’s act and fate should matter greatly to all of us, and inspire increased commitment to solidarity with the Palestinian national struggle.

Freya H (345)
Thursday February 15, 2018, 10:44 am
The time is way overdue for the world to accept that Israel is, currently, a rogue nation. Too bad, since Israelis are themselves wonderful people - and not all of them support their nation's policy of apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

Kathleen M (211)
Thursday February 15, 2018, 11:34 am
Grimly noted. A purple pox on the jack-booted, sadistic, sociopathic thugs! May the oppressive bastards reap what they sow. Thx for posting Evelyn. Grrrrrr...

Evelyn B (63)
Thursday February 15, 2018, 11:58 am
************************************************************************* Freya & Kathleen!
The jack-booted government-supported thugs, & the extremist political right wing Zionists may well do more to destroy Israel than Palestinian resistance can ... and that's a point of view expressed (with sorrow) by numbers of Holocaust survivors as well as former Zionist leaders such as Henry Siegman

Colleen L (3)
Thursday February 15, 2018, 1:33 pm
Agree with Freya. Thanks Evelyn

Animae C (507)
Thursday February 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

TY Evelyn

Darren Woolsey (218)
Thursday February 15, 2018, 11:10 pm
Shared article over social media to raise and spread awareness.

fly b (26)
Friday February 16, 2018, 1:03 am
Thanks for sharing this arTicle, Evelyn.

I agree with the thoughts and sentiments, and agree, with Kathleen and Freya.
Israel is a rogue state.. how that is defined, I am not sure, but the crimes it has committed against Palestinians are crimes against humanity.

It's apartheid policies, and ethnic cleansing of Palestine, for over seventy years, and ongoing oppression, oppression and land theft/colonization of Palestinian territories, and it's continuous thefts and destruction of Palestinian resources, homes and properties, schools and matrix of control, all prove to the world the Israeli regime's racist and violent stance toward those it wants to eliminate, and force out, using force, intimidation and harassment to try to subjugate a people, while playing victim.

One day the eyes of the world will be opened - what is 'hidden', will be revealed.

No propaganda, no silencing, and no media bias - nor control of media - will snuff out the truth, the facts, nor the abuse of Palestinian human rights.


Solidarite, fraternite, egalite!

Peggy B (43)
Friday February 16, 2018, 6:35 am

John B (185)
Friday February 16, 2018, 6:37 pm
Thanks Evelyn for sharing the link to the article by Richard Falk. I certainly agree with his perspective and assessment of the situation.

fly b (26)
Friday February 16, 2018, 10:01 pm
"While many people know of the imprisonment of Nariman and Ahed Tamimi, they are not the only mother-daughter pair held in Israeli jails. Rusaila, 48, and her daughter are being held isolated from one another under interrogation. Reports have indicated that Rusaila has launched a hunger strike against her forced separation from her daughter and is now on her 10th day of open hunger strike. Both mother and daughter are held in HaSharon prison."

READ: Imprisoned Palestinian mother Rusaila Shamasneh launches hunger strike against isolation of 14-year-old daughter Sarah.
14 February 2018

Mother and daughter Rusaila Shamasneh and 14-year-old Sarah Shamasneh were brought before the Ofer Israeli occupation military court on Tuesday, 13 February. The two were seized from their home in Qatana, northwest of Jerusalem, on 31 January. The Shamasnehs are the mother and sister of Mohammed Shamasneh, who was killed by Israeli occupation forces in 2016 after he participated in a stabbing operation against an armed occupation soldier in Jerusalem and attempted to grab the soldier’s weapon.

Rusaila Shamasneh is being accused in the military courts of firing a gun into the air during the funeral of her son in 2016 and “assaulting” a soldier during her arrest after her daughter, Sarah, was reportedly pushed and hit by the invading forces attacking the family home. The Shamasneh’s lawyer, Ismail al-Tawil, emphasized that the so-called charges are two years old; at the time, Sarah was only 12. al-Tawil also noted that Sarah was hospitalized due to her injuries from the soldiers’ attack, and that Rusaila is bruised and injured as well.

Meanwhile, Sara Hamida, from Bethlehem, was sentenced by an Israeli military court on 13 February to four months in prison and a 4,000 NIS ($1,000 USD) fine. She is a student at the Polytechnic University in al-Khalil and was seized on 28 December as she traveled home from university past a military checkpoint.

Fellow student at the Polytechnic University, Bayan Taha Khamaisa, 21, from the town of Tafouh in al-Khalil, was sentenced by an Israeli military court on 6 February to three and a half months in Israeli prison and a 4,000 NIS ($1000 USD) fine. She was seized by occupation forces who stormed her family home on 16 November 2017. The students were charged with “incitement” for publicly posting their political views and for organizing with the Islamic bloc at the university. Palestinian students are regularly subject to raids, arrests and imprisonment for participating in student activities, events and organizing on campus.

Israeli military courts further continued the case of Fadwa Hamadeh, 30, from the village of Sur Baher, on 7 February. She has been imprisoned since 12 August 2017, and her trial has been continued more than 10 times since her arrest; occupation forces have accused her of possessing a knife and attempting to stab occupation forces near Bab al-Amoud in Jerusalem. She has been kept from her young children for the past seven months.

On 6 February, occupation forces invaded the home of Palestinian prisoner Yasmine Abu Srour, 20, from Aida refugee camp north of Bethlehem. They ransacked Yasmine’s room and confiscated her computer; she has been imprisoned by occupation forces since 17 January, when they invaded her family’s home, ransacking and destroying its contents. She is currently held in HaSharon prison. She was previously jailed for three months in 2015 after being accused of having a knife in her bag when going to visit her brother Ashraf in Eshel prison.

Palestinian child prisoner Rama Abdellatif, 16, began an eight-month prison sentence on 5 February 2018 in HaSharon prison with the other minor girl prisoners; she was originally arrested by occupation forces on 15 Febrary 2016 and was jailed for two months until she was released on conditions. Her military court hearings have continued since that time, during which she was banished from her home city of Jerusalem and confined to the village of Beit Naquba in occupied Palestine ’48.

fly b (26)
Friday February 16, 2018, 10:31 pm
Call to action: February 18 - Global call to Free the Tamimi family

Evelyn B (63)
Saturday February 17, 2018, 1:48 am
Just a note for consideration in the light of information in these articles posted by Jess (thanks, Jess)

Palestinians from East Jerusalem can lose their 'right of residence' in East Jerusalem if they stay more than a short time away from their homes.
The prisons are NOT in East Jerusalem.
So - does the Israeli government then refuse to recognise their right of residence in their East Jerusalem homes afterwards???
I don't know the answer - but I suspect they lose their right

Maria Papastamatiou (4)
Saturday February 17, 2018, 11:12 am
Noted. Thanks for posting.

Janis K (129)
Saturday February 17, 2018, 9:47 pm
Thanks for sharing.

Sheryl G (359)
Sunday February 18, 2018, 12:31 pm
The State of Israel is very wong in this. If they were being honest with themselves they would say I'd do the very same thing as she did. However, so many of the citizens of Israel are conditioned not to think of her as human being, and that their rights are superior and above hers and her families.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison in his stand against apartheid and came out to become the President - may her life be the catalyst that the world needs to finally address this issue. USA needs first to stop supplying any more funds to Israel - we need to stop making it easier for Israel to so what it does.

Evelyn B (63)
Sunday February 18, 2018, 9:55 pm
***************************************************************************** Sheryl

fly b (26)
Monday February 19, 2018, 8:14 pm
Sheryl, so right!!
This is Zionism, in action - democracy??


India: 10m women back BDS, call for Ahed’s release.

fly b (26)
Monday February 19, 2018, 8:20 pm
Thanks for your comment, above, Evelyn. February 17, 2018, 1:48 am

Reprehensible!!! Marauding, plundering, gangsters, as I see it... illegal settlements, human rights crimes, facilitated, armed and funded, thanks to U.S. 'aid'... The US. BILLIONS, 70 year gravy train, that Israeli state demands year after year...... and gets, because the lobby works congress.

American taxpayers, should be crying foul!!

fly b (26)
Tuesday February 20, 2018, 10:14 am
American Comedian Sarah Silverman Tweets in Support of Ahed Tamimi (VIDEO)
February 19, 2018

US comedian Sarah Silverman has come out to publicly show support for imprisoned Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi.

The Jewish comedian and actress took it to Twitter to show solidarity with Tamimi against the injustice committed by the Israeli government, saying that Jews must stand up for the iconic activist and prisoner.

“Jews have to stand up EVEN when — ESPECIALLY when — the wrongdoing is BY Jews/the Israeli government,” said Silverman in a tweet, where she also attached a link from Amnesty International’s website in protest of Tamimi’s imprisonment.

Silverman faced a wave of criticism from Twitter users after her tweet.

Ahed Tamimi was detained for confronting Israeli soldiers who had forced their way into her family’s yard soon after soldiers shot and critically injured her 15-year-old cousin who was hit in the face. Her trial is still ongoing.

Tamimi’s story has garnered global attention, and both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for her release.

Silverman becomes the latest high-profile celebrity to join a long list of entertains who have called for the release of Tamimi.

Last week, a number of high-profile entertainers, scholars, and civil rights icons signed a letter in support of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi and other Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel.

Last week, a number of high-profile entertainers, scholars, and civil rights icons signed a letter in support of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi and other Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel.

The signatories include prominent actors Danny Glover, Rosario Dawson, Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams, and The Practice’s LisaGay Hamilton; musicians Vic Mensa, Talib Kweli and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello; civil rights leaders Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza (co-founders of Black Lives Matter), Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander, and Alice Walker; political commentators Marc Lamont-Hill and Angela Rye; and Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman and super bowl champion Michael Bennett.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

fly b (26)
Tuesday February 20, 2018, 10:22 am
"Ahed is representative of a multitude of Palestinian women and children whose stories are insufficiently reported. "

"We must do our part to denounce how Israel treats an indigenous woman defending her land and natural resources from an illegal occupying army."

fly b (26)
Tuesday February 20, 2018, 10:40 am
Ahed Tamimi’s Trial Violation of Int’l Law: Ex-Brookings Expert.

An international Conflict Resolution Professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies described the detention and trial of Ahed Tamimi, a teenage Palestinian protester filmed slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers, as a systematic violation of international legal standards.
February, 17, 2018

“Israel detains hundreds of underage children who are much younger than Ahed Tamimi. So this Israeli violation of child rights is rather systematic, not just a single case like Ahed,” Dr. Ibrahim Fraihat told the Tasnim News Agency.

He added, “Ahed should not be tried or imprisoned in the first place and to do so by itself does not reflect international legal standards.”

Ibrahim Fraihat was a senior fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, and an affiliate scholar at Georgetown University. He previously taught international conflict resolution at George Washington University and George Mason University. Fraihat has published extensively on Middle East politics, with articles appearing in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times, and the Christian Science Monitor, on the CNN and Al Jazeera websites, and elsewhere.

Following is the full text of the interview.

Tasnim: Do you believe that Israel is violating the international Convention on the Rights of the Child by detaining a Palestinian teenager for slapping an Israeli soldier?

Fraihat: Israel detains hundreds of underage children who are much younger than Ahed Tamimi. So this Israeli violation of child rights is rather systematic, not just a single case like Ahed.

Tasnim: Ahed Tamimi’s trial is being held behind closed doors. What is your take on this based on international legal standards?

Fraihat: Ahed should not be tried or imprisoned in the first place and to do so by itself does not reflect international legal standards.

Tasnim: According to experts, figures from Palestine show that Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 to 700 Palestinian children in military courts annually. What’s your take on this?

Fraihat: This reflects the systematic violation of international legal standards.

Tasnim: Do you believe that Palestinian children are commonly mistreated while in Israel’s detention and subjected to both physical and psychological abuse?

Fraihat: The fact that the Israeli authorities are not transparent about the conditions of the imprisoned children leaves the door open for violations whether psychological or physical against them.

fly b (26)
Saturday March 10, 2018, 12:15 am
Zionist Subversion, Mainstream Media Censorship & Disproportionate Jewish Board Membership Of US Media Companies.
March 9, 2018

Since the 1960s America became more and more subject to Zionist subversion to the extent that in 2001 Ariel Sharon (then Israeli Prime Minister) declared at a cabinet meeting: “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it” [39, 40].
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