THE brief video displays an act of courage: as heavily armed Israeli soldiers arrive at her home in an occupied West Bank village, a young unarmed Palestinian teenager confronts the intruders and proceeds to slap one of them. This act of bravery and defiance has landed Ahed Tamimi, the girl in question, in an Israeli detention facility awaiting trial in a military juvenile court. It has also exposed the brutality and inhuman nature of the Israeli occupation, as the Zionist state thinks nothing of hauling away children — Ahed was 16 when the incident occurred in December — who dare to confront it. As has been reported in various media outlets, some days earlier, Israeli troops had shot one of Ahed’s cousins — also a teenager — thus eliciting the furious reaction from the young activist. Unfortunately, humiliation, violence and suffering have been the fate of many such as Ahed and their families as illegal Jewish settlements continue to devour Arab land, while Tel Aviv’s shock troops beat into submission Palestinians who dare to raise a voice for their land or their rights.
While the excesses of the militarised Israeli state are well documented, what is particularly galling is the fact that Tel Aviv arrests and imprisons minors: according to Amnesty International, around 350 Palestinian children are currently in Israeli jails. Perhaps the regime continues with such impunity because it knows it has friends in high places, such as Washington D.C., who will shield it from global opprobrium. However, people of conscience around the world have condemned the Ahed Tamimi incident for what it is: violence against minors. While it may be too much to expect Israel to treat all Palestinians in a humane manner, the least the Zionist state can do is respect the globally recognised rights of children. The global community must pressure Tel Aviv to release Ahed and all Palestinian children currently in detention and heavily censure the Israeli state if it continues to imprison, torture or kill minors.
Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2018