Ahed Tamimi, a teenager from Nabi Saleh village in Palestine, rang in the New Year under Israeli detention. She joined over 300 Palestinian child prisoners who are under Israeli government’s detention.
Israel’s targeting of the young and the outspoken is nothing new. After all who can forget the image of Muhammed Al-Durrah who was shot multiple times during the second Intifada, as he lay on the side of a pavement in his father’s arms.
Specifically targeting young and vulnerable Palestinians is a way to send out digital tear gas canisters to other young Palestinians who may dare to resist the occupation.
The treatment of Ahed in detention, the photographs of her in handcuffs, with Israeli officers holding her handcuffs, and the statement made by Israeli Minister of Education, Naftali Mennet’s on live radio that Ahed “should finish her life in prison” are meant to send a warning to other young Palestinians who dare to dream of freedom.
Ahed is being used as a prop by the Israeli forces to symbolize their power.
What if Ahed was your daughter who had spent her entire childhood watching settlements, illegal under international law, expanding into her own land? What if your own daughter had to miss school because of a hold up at a military crossing? Would you not want your daughter to resist - almost certainly? Would you still encourage her to do so if you witnessed children spending years in prison for resisting the occupation? Maybe not – and this is exactly the reaction that the Israeli government is plotting.
Ahed Tamimi has the qualities of Afeni Shakur, Rosa Parks, and Malala Yousafzai – all of those women who rose against injusticeYara al-Wazir
Time to wake up
According to Defense for Children International, after sentencing, nearly 60 percent of Palestinian child detainees are transferred to prisons inside Israel, a violation of the fourth Geneva Convention. Israel’s systematic targeting of children in the occupied Palestinian territories is a testament to what it has to fear from young, passionate, and expressive women?
It is difficult, near impossible to watch the video of Ahed slapping the Israeli soldier without questioning her motives. Her motives are simple: The Israeli soldiers had been tactical about instigating the attack by tress-passing onto Tamimi’s private property, allegedly throwing tear bombs from her yard.
All of this followed after the Israeli army shot her cousin, Mohamed, with rubber bullets in the eye, after which he had been put into a medically induced coma. The ultimate form of convenient humanitarianism has been highlighted by Ahed Tamimi’s case, whereby the world’s reaction is dependent on who is involved.
Others of her ilk
Ahed Tamimi has the qualities of Afeni Shakur, Rosa Parks, and Malala Yousafzai – all of these are women who rose against injustice that they saw in their lifetime. All, but Malala, were vilified at the time.
Today, all of the women aforementioned are hailed as heroes. Being a humanitarian, fighting injustice, and fighting for what is right is not something that can be selective, depending on the day and depending on the scenario. We must raise our children to continue to stand up for what they believe in, no matter what the situation is.
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The case of Ahed Tamimi will undoubtedly go on for months, if not years to come. Palestinians are hailing her as a hero; the Israelis are using her as a prop to send a warning message.
Children should not, under any circumstances, be used as a political tool. The public manipulation of this issue has been carefully orchestrated. It is time for the world to wake up and call on the Israeli government to stop this political agenda.
Yara al Wazir is a humanitarian activist. She is the founder of The Green Initiative ME and a developing partner of Sharek Stories. She can be followed and contacted on twitter @YaraWazir.