On December 2017, at 3am, the Tamimi family was suddenly awakened: it was the noise of Israeli forces, the IDF, knocking at its door. Ahed’s father, Bassem, opened the door for the soldiers, who pushed him and invaded his house. There were at least 30 of them, who entered the residence to arrest Ahed, a young Palestinian of then 16 years, without giving any explanation: they confiscated the telephones and other electronic devices of the family. Six soldiers assaulted his 14-year-old brother and seized his phone violently after he refused to turn it in. They scoured the whole house, throwing clothes and belongings on the floor, leaving everything completely twisted.
Why was Ahed arrested?
On December 15, 2017, Ahed appeared in a shoot made by his mother, Nariman Tamimi. The incident was broadcast on Facebook and viralized. In the filming, Ahed kicks a soldier, striking his face then as well as threatens another, after they have invaded his house and shot his fifteen-year-old cousin Mohammed Tamimi who was badly injured by a rubber bullet that affected your brain. Mohammed was in critical condition of a medically induced coma, of which he awoke 72 hours later at the Arabian Istishari Hospital.
After the conflict, the West Bank village became indignant and began throwing stones at the Israeli army, which tried to stop the riot by staying in the vicinity of a house where the protesters were gathered. This aroused Ahed’s anger, which ran out of his house and confronted two Israeli soldiers, demanding that they leave the property of his family. Army officers refused. It was then that Ahed lunged at the soldiers, trying to strike them and kick them. The resignation of the soldiers and the refusal to act aroused anger among the Israelis, who saw “their boys” being smashed by a mere girl. It was humiliating for them. The ultra-Zionist government coalition then demanded a punishment. As a result, the Israeli army orchestrated an invasion of Tamimi’s residence the following morning. The soldiers took Ahed out of her bed, put handcuffs on her, and carried her to a bucket.
Who is Ahed Tamimi?
Ahed Tamimi, who turned 17 while in detention, became an icon of the Palestinian struggle. The Palestinians began to salute her as a heroine for firing a shot at a heavily armed soldier, who had struck her first, and who was illegally at her door, illegally occupying her country. It is an emblem of peaceful resistance, a veteran of many protests against the occupation of Israel – an occupation that gradually plundered the lands and water resources of its region, besieged near the Jewish settlement of Halamish.
According to Ahed’s father, at the time of his arrest, his mother, Nariman, wept copiously and tried to hug his daughter, but the soldiers threw her to the ground. Ahed was handcuffed and taken by the soldiers to an Israeli army jeep. The family was prevented from following her. She was held in a police station near the village of Jabaa in the West Bank. That morning, police dragged Ahed to court. His father came to court to support her, but he was also arrested and released later. In the afternoon, Nariman also visited Ahed, with the aim of being present at the interrogation of his daughter, who is a minor. It was then that Bassem received a phone call from his lawyer: Nariman had also been arrested on arrival at the police station, accused of incitement to riot, for having broadcast the incident live on Facebook.
Ahed remains in a dungeon. She has received 12 counts, including assaulting the security forces and inciting violence, and could face years in prison if convicted.
In 2012, a widely viewed photo of Ahed – then 12 – facing an Israeli soldier, was even noticed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Another image, from 2015, also became viral, after she was photographed kicking and biting an Israeli soldier who was suffocating her brother Mohammed. The Israelis, for their part, considered her to be nothing more than a violent agitator for publicity.
From his earliest years, his face appeared on numerous international posters in his home village, Nabi Saleh, in the West Bank, where peaceful Palestinian protests occurred against Jewish-Zionist colonialism in the region. Today the Palestinians celebrate Ahed as a Palestinian heroine through massively distributed posters. In one she appears raising a Palestinian flag, with her unmistakable curly blond hair and looking like a Joan of Arc – the saintly peasant who led the French army in victory over the English in Orléans. Another artist, the Irishman Jim Fitzpatrick, famous for creating the emblematic 1967 poster of Ernesto Che Guevara, laid his lens on Ahed Tamimi, creating an image entitled The Wonder Woman There Is of Truth.
Ahed Tamimi is an example of building a new generation among the successive generations of the Palestinian Intifada. This generation declares their rebellion against the reality of apartheid and the systematic intimidation they suffer from the occupying forces of the Zionist entity. Thousands of Palestinian children have a vivid recollection of having been woken up by Israeli soldiers inside their homes – some wearing masks – and Ahed is one of them. He has witnessed the arrest of several members of his family, including his father.
The Tamimi Rebellion:
The struggle against the Zionist military establishment is no stranger to the Tamimi family. They are at the forefront of the regular protests in Nabi Saleh, and are frequent presence in the demonstrations. They devoted their lives to the just cause and claim that a portion of the village land was confiscated and given to an Israeli colony nearby. The Israeli side claimed that the Tamimi family gave their consent to the Palestinians to throw stones on the Israeli soldiers from their home, and that the soldiers outside only to remove the attackers from the house. The Zionists detained the mother and father of Ahed, Bassem and Nariman, for a time. Her father has been a prominent Palestinian activist since 2009, having been successful in conveying Palestinian peaceful protests on social networks. He believes that the Zionist military occupation is unjust and inhuman: it abuses both children and the earth.
“We can not live normally under occupation. We have no choice but to resist, and because we resist, we have to pay the price, “says Bassem Tamimi. Bassem Tamimi adds that Palestinian parents are concerned about their children amid the violence, inequality and lack of freedom offered by the occupation. He illustrates their powerlessness to do anything: “[…] this is an occupation … They want the Palestinians to suffer.”
Despite the deafening silence and cruel sufferings, the Tamimi family’s struggle for justice is under way.
“Together, we carry the torch of freedom and equality, toward our dream of a better life for our children,” he says. He firmly believes that Ahed has had his rights violated and that his should not occur. “We do not have good expectations for this, the court is military because it is part of the Israeli military occupation,” he said. Ahed’s father said the Zionist entity has no respect for international law and acts with impunity because it “can.” He said: “There is nothing more terrifying than the occupation of Israel [Palestine] … then the normal reaction is to resist.”
Sondoss, Al Asaad. Save Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian Veteran. Geopolitica. 23 of February. 2018.
Hossam, Shaker. Ahed Tamimi: El símbolo de la nueva y desafiante generación palestina. Monitor de Oriente. 26 de dez. 2017.
Translated from Nova Resistencia.