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The court case of Ahed Tamimi, the teen who slapped two soldiers is gaining worldwide attention. However, she is merely the edge of a larger problem.
With the Israeli military court boasting a 99.7% conviction rate, the outcome of Ahed Tamimi’s trial looks bleak at best. The Palestinian teenager who turned 17 in detention, is facing twelve charges, including alleged assault and “incitement” against the Israeli Defence Force. She could face up to ten years imprisonment if found guilty.
The teen and her mother were arrested in December last year, following a viral video of Ahed hitting two Israeli officials outside her home in Nabi Saleh. These soldiers had regularly raided her village since the age of eight, shooting two of her relatives dead and fracturing the skull of her 15-year-old cousin just prior to her actions.
Ms Tamimi’s case has now captivated global media attention – she is seen as an icon for the 330 Palestinian children currently held in Israel’s prisons. This includes those held in administrative detention or ‘detention without charge’.
“As an unarmed girl, Ahed posed no threat during the altercation with the two Israeli soldiers who were heavily armed and wearing protective clothing,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director for Amnesty International’s Middle East and Africa programme.
Mughrabi fervently claimed that Ahed had not done anything that could justify her continued detention and “…the long, aggressive interrogation sessions she has been forced to endure”.
“Yet again, the Israeli authorities have responded to acts of defiance by a Palestinian child with measures that are entirely disproportionate to the incident in question,” she added.
Israeli soldiers have raided Ahed’s home a shocking two hundred times in the past 5 years. Accordingly, the youth of the village routinely throw stones at the soldiers who respond with tear gas, rubber bullets, and live rounds.
Ahed was taken from her home in the middle of the night, interrogated without a lawyer, family member or relative present and denied underwear and a coat by Israeli guards for almost a week.
Some hold to the line of argument that if this incident happened in Australia, they would face appropriate retribution. However, the fact that she’s been detained for over two months is a clear miscarriage of justice and infringement of human rights. Ahed was taken from her home in the middle of the night, interrogated without a lawyer, family member or relative present and denied underwear and a coat by Israeli guards for almost a week.
Court proceedings began on Tuesday at Israel’s Ofer detention centre, with only family members allowed into the hearing after the judge barred reporters despite a request for a public trial by Gaby Lasky, the lawyer of the Tamimi family.
“The court decided to close the doors because they think that it’s not good for Ahed. But what I think is that the court doesn’t think it’s good for the court,” Lasky told reporters. Inside a closed court, there can be no promise of procedural fairness and no real pledge against political bias.
Bill Van Esveld, a Human Rights Watch senior researcher, similarly says that Tamimi’s trial is “both a violation of international law and unnecessary”. It raises concerns that Israel’s military system is incapable of respecting children’s rights. Hundreds have walked the streets of the US and Europe calling for her release and, honestly, even if she is convicted today, her story and her constant fight for justice is inspiring.
If she won’t be silenced, neither should we.
The artist who made that famous Che Guevara illustration has just turned Ahed Tamimi into Wonder Woman. pic.twitter.com/NVTD0rqkvS
— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 19, 2018