Army arrests Palestinian teen for hurting soldiers’ masculinity

by Yael Marom

The IDF Spokesperson was clearly excited to publish the details of a complicated military operation that took place Tuesday morning: under the cover of darkness, Israeli Border Police broke into the Tamimi family’s home and arrested 17-year-old Ahed, taking her in for interrogation. The Israeli forces arrived at the family’s home fully armed; however, their most important weapon was their camera. The goal: to win back some of the army’s masculinity, wounded a few days after a video surfaced of the rebellious girl attempting push soldiers out of her house — cursing and shoving them, even kicking and slapping.

The Israeli public is accustomed to submissive Palestinians — and if not, it is accustomed to seeing them beaten and arrested, regardless of whether they present an actual danger or are engaged in an act of protest. That is precisely what didn’thappen this week, and it is what disrupted all of the rules of the game, so much so that Channel 2 commentator Roni Daniel said Monday that he is unperturbed by the possibility that soldiers might be caught on camera beating the girls who disrespected them. We are used to criticism from the international community about the violence of the occupation, but we are not so accustomed to criticism over two soldiers who thought before raising their hands to strike.

Here’s the story: a young woman was arrested in the middle in the night, on camera, because Israeli soldiers did not appear manly enough. To carry out the arrest, they sent a female Border Police officer. So this is what equality looks like.

Minister of Education Naftali Bennett has already determined Ahed’s sentence: “She should spend her life in prison.” Yinon Magal, a former Knesset member, expressed his longing for Elor Azaria — the Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant in the head and killing him. Magal made clear the moral bar according to which future incidents will be judged. Every soldier knows exactly what is expected of him. And besides, even without Magal’s tweet, the commanding ethos is clear as day. Meanwhile, Netanyahu and Liberman are already preparing a law that will sentence to death any Palestinian who dares to resist.

The headlines debate whether the soldiers demonstrated weakness or restraint. This morning, those headlines also generated feelings of vengeance among the online comments sections, as well as on Twitter. A few hours after Ahed was detained, her mother, Nariman, who had accompanied her to the police station, was also taken in for investigation. But amid the media circus and the debate around the morality of the brave soldiers, the broader context, of course, is absent. What leads a girl, who in any other place in the world would be busy with schoolwork, hobbies, and dreams of the future (a year ago Ahed said that if it were not for the occupation, she would be a soccer player) to endanger herself by standing up to armed soldiers?

Ahed Tamimi was born into the occupation. As the daughter of parents who are leading activists in the popular struggle against the occupation in the village of Nabi Saleh, she has been part of the struggle her entire life. She grew up in a reality in which her parents and brother were arrested repeatedly, in which her father served a long prison sentence for being a political leader: a reality of routine night raids, armed soldiers, settler attacks, and checkpoints. In this reality, every protest by the residents of Nabi Saleh is considered illegal by the military, and is suppressed with violence — whether tear gas, rubber bullets, live fire, and other means. It is a reality in which you or your loved ones could be gravely wounded or killed at any time.

Ahed was nine when weekly demonstrations began in Nabi Saleh to protest the seizure of the village’s spring by settlers. The army quickly moved to defend the settlers’ theft of the spring, and began to deploy soldiers to prevent Palestinian demonstrators from reaching the spring or the adjacent road also used by settlers. Israeli forces used every possible means to suppress the protests, often by stopping the demonstrators while they were still within their village.

When Ahed was 12, her mother’s cousin, Mustafa Tamimi, was killed before her eyes during a protest, shot in the head by gas canister. One year later, she witnessed the army shoot and kill her uncle Rashadi. Last week, her cousin Mohammed, nearly her age, was shot in the face by a rubber-coated bullet that penetrated his skull. He remains unconscious.

Ahed and her family continue their struggle. They continue to march and demonstrate. And they continue to pay the price for their refusal to accept the status quo, for their steadfast challenge to mechanisms of the occupation.

Over the past years, pictures of Ahed Tamimi have appeared again and again, each time standing barehanded and straight-backed facing down heavily armed and armored soldiers: the female version of David facing Goliath. These pictures have driven the Right crazy, and right-wingers have been demanding the arrest of the “provocateur” for some time. This morning, the army finally gave them what they’ve been demanding. But it also gave the Palestinians a new heroine, one more in a long history of women who for decades have struggled unceasingly for their freedom.

Free Ahed Tamimi.

Photo: Ahed Tamimi (Facebook)

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew. Republished, with permission, from +972 Magazine.

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  1. Free Ahed Tammimi! And at the same time make the Israelis pay the full price for not protecting her at the risk of life and limb. She is Palestine´s Joan of Arc and the Zionists will eventually kill her even if inadvertently, probably at the age of seventeen.

    There is one man who can certainty protect her even if most of us think ill of him. His name is Trump.

  2. Shame on the Civilized West with its International Court of Justice and Founding Fathers and Judo-Christian values, Church leaders and prestigious law universities and media that heartlessly look on the most ruthless racist occupier of history and not only refuse to condemn its criminal army or boycott their products, but shamelessly arm their war criminals to the teeth and support them at ‘every’ level at the cost of the civilian suffering in Palestine:

    Israeli army murders with total impunity while western tourists enjoy historical tourist destinations in Israel; aggressive Israelis torture young children from the age of nine inside prisons while western visitors mystified take memorable photos of themselves and their exotic trips to the birthplace of Jesus – now an arsenal of nuclear weapons – spend money to make the apartheid regime richer while unprotected Palestinian prisoners collapse under physical and psychological torture and many young Palestinian boys and girls succumb with post-traumatic-stress-disorder and flash backs in Israeli jails; savagely broken into their homes at the dead of night and brutally handcuffed, beaten and abused in front of their helpless parents – boys and girls as young as 9 – then taken to unknown prisons for interrogation and torture! – Yes, certainly the Muslim world must be ‘jealous’ of such Western protected ‘values’.

    How can so many Westerners morally justify visiting a country that is renowned for its crimes against humanity and not be troubled by the murder of so many Palestinian women and children by the Israelis? The suffering of millions of poor Palestinians never stir feelings of guilt or even pity in Western politicians, or Christian friends of Israel or their main stream Western media – except some lip-service at the most. Imagine you were on vacation in Nazi Germany but not wanting to know what crimes were being committed there. After decades of financial, political and moral support and silent historical ‘complicity’, millions of the Western supporters of the best replica of Nazism in the Middle East, while waiting for the Israeli war criminals to fulfill their ‘destiny’, parrot the Zionist media in order to avoid acknowledging the mass murder and appropriation of the Palestinian lands: “Israel”, they claim, “is the only democracy in the Middle East!”! With these, their ‘irrefutable’ Western ‘complicity’ in Israel’s daily ‘crimes against humanity’ evaporates. What Frantz Fanon said about the Europeans and colonialism, that “the European peoples must first decide to wake up….and stop playing the stupid game of the Sleeping Beauty” applies to the Western citizens, church leaders and the International Criminal Court: they must ‘stop’ pretending they are not ‘complicit’ in the naked crimes perpetrated by the Jewish army in the Occupied Palestine for over 60 years! Their polite silence or lip-service, or fear of being accused of ‘antisemitism’, hence, ‘undeniable’ support for Western ‘hypocrisy’ should widely be reminded of, and unreservedly condemned.

  3. Apparently under Israeli law it’s OK for Israel soldiers with sniper rifles to murder Palestinian children but a criminal offense to hurt the widdle feewings of an Israeli soldier.

  4. Many years ago I asked Margaret McMillan, the Canadian historian, whether she thought the Palestinians would fare any better if their resistance were totally nonviolent. She said no.

    In fact, we all see – but we don’t all stress enough – that Israel is, if possible, harsher against nonviolent resistance than against violence. Perfectly understandable, of course. Nonviolence shows them up for what they are.

  5. A Two Citizenships Solution vs. a Jewish-Arab State >>

    The number of Arabs and Jews living west of the Jordan River is approximately the same.
    Arab autonomy in Palestine exists for more than 20 years, on the territory of the Gaza Strip and in zones A and B.
    All Jews were expelled from there long ago.
    A two states solution is meaningless without changing citizenship of Israeli Arabs.
    Israeli Arabs obtained Israeli citizenship illegally and against international law.
    In 1952, Jews rashly presented the Arabs with Israeli citizenship.
    Unfortunately, Israel long ago became a bi-national , it’s an incubator for Arab people.
    Arabs hate Jewish state. This can lead to events such as those that occur in Syria.
    Jews will not survive in a bi-national state.
    Israel must stop to impose Israeli citizenship to the hostile nation.

    Immediately after the establishment of a new Arab state west of the Jordan River ( or return Jordanian rule ), the Arabs of Haifa, Nazareth, Lod, Galilee, Negev, Jerusalem etc. must become citizens of their new (old) state.
    If the Jews do not want to continue to live in a bi-national state, and within a generation become a minority in Israel, they must prepare for a referendum (as in Scotland) based on the UN resolution to divide Palestine for Jews and Arabs.

    Fatah-Hamas government requires land free of Jews.
    Therefore, Israeli demands are legitimate and forced:
    1. To divide National Insurance for Jews and Arabs, by forming the funds from taxes collected separately from Jews and Arabs.
    2. To employ only the Arabs, who will replace Israeli citizenship to the status of Israel’s residents.
    3. Deductions from wages ( income tax and health tax) of Arab residents to transfer to the Palestinian Authority , of course along with responsibility for health, education , jobs and pensions to all Arabs who wish to remain in Israel.

    It’s possible to separate from the Arabs according to law, as the Irish and the British, as the Czechs and the Slovaks or as the Greeks and the Turks in Cyprus . First to separate economically and then geographically.
    Palestinian-Jordanian citizenship to the Arabs, Israeli citizenship to the Jews.
    Two Nations – Two States – Two Citizenships !
    The only sustainable long term solution is:
    The Arabs should be ruled by the Arab administration and the Jews should be governed by the Jewish government.

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