Israeli Arab Dareen Tatour convicted of incitement in her poetry

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An Israeli court on Thursday convicted Israeli Arab Dareen Tatour of incitement to violence and “support for a terror organization” in poems she published on social media, court documents showed.

The charge sheet said that in October 2015, as a wave of violence was gathering force in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Tatour posted a video clip of herself reading her poem “Resist, my people, resist them,” accompanied by pictures of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

A translation into English of the poem, posted on the Arabic literature and translation site ArabLit, contains the following lines. They were quoted in Hebrew in the charge sheet.

“For an Arab Palestine, I will not succumb to the ‘peaceful solution,’ Never lower my flags, Until I evict them from my land, Resist the settler’s robbery, And follow the caravan of martyrs.”

The prosecution added that on October 4, she quoted a statement by Islamic Jihad calling for “continuation of the intifada in every part of the West Bank” and it said that showed her support for the outlawed militant group.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled to start on May 31. Tatour, from the Arab village of Reineh near Nazareth, was arrested on October 11 and charged on November 2, 2015.

The unrest that erupted in October 2015 subsequently claimed the lives of at least 303 Palestinians or Israeli Arabs, 51 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, one Eritrean, one Sudanese and one Briton, according to an AFP count.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities. Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

International writers group Pen defended Tatour in a statement on Thursday.

“Dareen Tatour has been convicted for doing what writers do every day -- we use our words to peacefully challenge injustice,” it said.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said the treatment of the poet was very different to that meted out to Jewish Israelis in similar circumstances.

She cited the case of lawmaker Betzalel Smotrich who last month wrote on Twitter that it was a pity that Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi had not been shot in the knee rather than sent to prison.

Tamimi was jailed in March for eight months for slapping and kicking Israeli soldiers outside her home near Ramallah in the West Bank in December, when she was aged 16.

Smotrich implied that a gunshot to the knee would have left the young girl permanently disabled. “She would have been under house arrest for the rest of her life,” the lawmaker tweeted.

In a statement, Ashrawi said: “Smotrich was not held accountable for inciting to violence or supporting acts of terror against Palestinians.”

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