Ahed Tamimi: Symbol of courage and leadership
Nothing has been more inspiring than to watch 16 year old Ahed Tamimi, a young girl standing in front of her home in Nabi Saleh, confronting heavily armed Israeli soldiers mocking them with slaps and telling them to eave her family alone. Tamimi has become the face of a new Palestinian, one fearless in standing up to the brutality of the Israeli Apartheid machine
By Ray Hanania
Nothing has been more inspiring than to watch 16 year old Ahed Tamimi, a young girl standing in front of her home in Nabi Saleh, confronting heavily armed Israeli soldiers mocking them with slaps and telling them to eave her family alone.
Tamimi has become the face of a new Palestinian, one fearless in standing up to the brutality of the Israeli Apartheid machine.
A video of Ahed pushing and mocking the two heavily armed Israeli soldiers as they stood in front of their home has gone viral. More importantly it is inspiring a new movement, one that can overcome Israeli hatred, Israeli racism and Israeli atrocities against Christians and Muslims in occupied Palestine.
Tamimi was later arrested after the video embarrassed the Israeli government and enraged Israeli racists like Avigdore Lieberman, Naftali Bennet and virulently anti-Arab racist Ayelet Shaked have all screamed about Ahed’s courage.
Israel claims to be a “democracy” but in fact it discriminates against non-Jews denying basic civil and human rights to Christians and Muslims, except those who surrender and embrace Israel’s government’s racist ideology and policies.
Here is a letter from Ahed’a father, civil rights activist Bassem Tamimi followed by a letter from Jewish Voice for Peace Deputy Director Ari Wohlfeiler that you should read and share with others:
Tuesday morning at 3am, Israeli forces invaded my home and arrested my daughter. They dragged Ahed out of bed, handcuffed her and put her in the back of their military jeep. She is 16-years-old.
The next morning, my wife went to the police station to be with our daughter as she was interrogated. But Israel took her into custody as well. The following day, they arrested my 21-year-old niece Nour.
All of this started with last Friday when soldiers in my village shot 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi directly in the face with a rubber coated steel bullet. Following surgery, Mohammad had to be placed in a medically-induced coma. Then the soldiers came to our home. Ahed and Nour slapped the soldiers in the face and pushed them back, yelling that they could not enter our home.
The Israeli military is threatened by our regular protests, by our refusal to live with occupation.
Ahed appeared in court yesterday. Her detention was extended because she is refusing to talk. No cooperation with the occupation! Nour and my wife, Nariman, appeared in military court today. Their detention was also extended until at least Monday. Ahed, Nariman and Nour are being held Hasharon prison. Ahed is being held with Israeli prisoners and Nariman and Nour are being held with Palestinian prisoners. Even though Ahed is not in the same section of the prison as her mother and cousin, she is remaining strong and determined.
It is our responsibility to resist the soldiers who enter our village and settlers who occupy our land and resources. For our family’s work, I have been recognized by the European Union as a Human Rights Defender. At the age of 13, my daughter won the Handala award for Courage in Turkey. Amnesty International, during one of my imprisonments, declared me a prisoner of conscience. Each week, my wife helps lead our anti-occupation demonstration. Now her resistance takes place from the inside of an Israeli jail.
People and organizations around the world from Youth Against Settlements in Palestine to Jewish Voice for Peace, CODEPINK and others in the US are supporting us. They are writing press releases, making phone calls and standing by our side.
Tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, at 12pm EST, (7pm Palestine time) there will be a twitter storm with the hashtag #FreeAhedTamimi. I thank everyone for their support and hope my family will be free soon.
Jewish Voice for Peace statement
It’s getting so I’m afraid to check my news feed. I don’t want to see Israeli forces dragging away another young child to military detention— the casual frequency of these arrests is sickening, every time.
But this is the reality of Israeli occupation.
Many of us saw the images of young Ahed Tamimi being taken away by Israeli occupation forces Tuesday morning. Ahed is a high school student who has grown up under occupation in the small town of Nabi Saleh, known for its weekly nonviolent marches against occupation and settler encroachment.
What would I do if I was Ahed? I hope the same thing she and her family do each week: stand up for my loved ones, my community, and my rights.
The news didn’t show that Ahed’s cousin was in a coma after being shot in the head by a rubber-tipped steel bullet. Or that there’s a new bullet hole in my family’s window. Or that Ahed’s father, mother, and cousin are all under arrest.
Instead, the Israeli press is trying to make her out as the villain for kicking at and pushing full-grown soldiers with guns and helmets.
What can we do? What can regular, caring people in the U.S. do?
Because what Ahed and her family are going through isn’t unique— it’s systemic. The Israeli government seems to be targeting children with a special intensity. Our allies at Defense for Children International – Palestine document that around 700 Palestinian children are arrested and held each year, and many charged without a parent or guardian present.
Just recently, 16-year-old Fawzi Al-Junaidi was beaten and arrested during a protest in Hebron over Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and 17-year-old Abdul-Khalik Burnat of Bil’in was beaten and arrested (for the third time this year) while getting pizza with friends.
This is all illegal under international law, but the Israeli government is getting away with it.
And what are these children’s crimes? Being Palestinian. Under occupation, that’s more than enough.
And you can be one of the people who said no, this is wrong, this can’t go on.
Ari Wohlfeiler, Deputy Director of Jewish Voice for Peace
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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