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Slap This! New Yorkers Rally in Support of Ahed Tamimi

The Palestinian teen was charged with assaulting an Israeli soldier during a pre-dawn raid on her family home. Her imprisonment has drawn international condemnation.

Jesse Rubin Jan 7, 2018

During rush hour Friday, more than 100 people gathered under the hallowed arches of Grand Central Terminal’s Main Concourse to protest the detention and likely conviction of 16-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi.

The teenage girl was detained by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Dec. 19 during a pre-dawn raid on her family’s home in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

Her crime: slapping an IDF soldier who was armed with an M-16 assault rifle. The incident was captured on video and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times online.

Only moments prior to the soldiers’ arrival, Tamimi had learned that her cousin, 15-years-old Mohammed Tamimi, was in life-threatening condition after another soldier shot the boy at close-range with a rubber bullet. Half of Mohammed Tamimi’s skull is caved in and he will likely be disabled for the rest of his life.

Ahed Tamimi. Credit: Alberto Hugo Rojas.

Ahed Tamimi was imprisoned without charge for 10 days. She was moved between multiple Israeli prisons, kept awake for long hours and transferred across the 1949 Armistice Line which separates Israel from the occupied West Bank, a direct violation of international law. Because Palestinians in the West Bank are under military occupation, arrestees are tried in military courts where the conviction rate is 99.7 percent.

When she finally appeared in front of a military judge, Tamimi was indicted on 12 different charges, most dating back years. For the recent incident, she has been charged with assault, disrupting the work of a soldier and incitement.

Less than a week after her indictment, an IDF soldier shot and killed a relative of Ahed Tamimi’s, 17-year-old Musaab Firas Tamimi, in the village of Deir Nitham, not far from Nabi Saleh.

Outrage

After the seizure of Nabi Saleh’s land and freshwater spring by a settlement a decade ago, the Tamimi family began to garner a reputation within the West Bank for organizing weekly, nonviolent protests against the Israeli occupation. Now, the detainment of Ahed Tamimi has sparked worldwide coverage and condemnation.

Friday’s demonstration in New York was the second in the city in just over a week. The NYPD maintained a heavy presence throughout the Grand Central rally. Heavily armed sharpshooters were positioned at vantage points surrounding the demonstration in all directions.

Addressing protest attendees, Ariel Gold of CODEPINK, the women-led anti-war network that co-organized the rally, expressed the frustration that so many in the Palestine solidarity movement have felt the past few weeks.

“Ahed is a leader, Israel is the criminal,” Gold yelled through a megaphone to cheers from protesters, followed by chants of “Free, free Palestine” and “Free, free Ahed Tamimi.”

Gold has visited Nabi Saleh a number of times and is close friends with Tamimi’s mother Nariman and her father Bassem, leaders of Nabi Saleh’s weekly demonstrations. Asked how the two were handling their daughter’s imprisonment, Gold told The Indypendent “Nariman and Bassem are strong.”

Speaking on behalf of Black for Palestine, an African-American-led Palestinian solidarity campaign, Kristian Bailey drew parallels between the mass incarceration of black and Latino Americans and the indiscriminate incarceration of Palestinians under occupation. The United States and Israel each have two legal systems, Baily said; one for the rich and the powerful and another for everybody else.

“Raise your hand if you can point to a cop who’s in prison for killing a civilian here,” said Bailey. “Raise your hand if anybody has served prison time for genocide, for land theft, for slavery, for any of the imperial wars this country has committed around the world” Bailey howled through the megaphone but was met with silence.

Heated exchanges with counter-protesters from Jewish Defense League (JDL) broke out during the demonstration but no arrests were made. Active again after years of dormancy, JDL has become a small but reliably hostile presence at many Palestinian support rallies recently. “The group has orchestrated countless terrorist attacks in the U.S. and abroad, and has engaged in intense harassment of foreign diplomats, Muslims, Jewish scholars and community leaders, and officials,” researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center note. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has described JDL as a “right-wing terrorist group.”

Despite a minority of counter-demonstrators, Friday’s rally received endorsements from a number of local groups, among them NYC Students for Justice in Palestine, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Jewish Voices for Peace’s New York City chapter and Al-Awda NY. The demonstration was live-streamed and, according to organizers, dozens of Palestinians under occupation watched the protest via social media.

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Photo: Demonstrators Rally at Grand Central Terminal in New York on Jan. 5, demanding the release of Ahed Tamimi and other Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Credit: Jesse Rubin.

11 Responses

  1. Kaur Sandeep says:

    Where else in the world does a person attack a soldier (with no response from the soldier) and not expect to be shot? She is lucky to be in jail.

    As for the story about her cousin being shot, would the soldier be allowed to retaliate aggressively had a member of his family been killed by another Palestinian?

    • Wesley Stubbs Sandel says:

      Israel has murdered over 2000 Palestinian children in the last fifteen years alone, mostly by Israeli soldiers with sniper rifles shooting Palestinian children. They claim that it’s “self-defense.”

      Just reverse the situation: if a Palestinian soldier with a sniper rifle (there is no such thing because the Palestinians have never had an army, navy or air force, but I digress) and the Palestinians claimed it was self-defense, would it be murder or self-defense?

      Zionism is racism and mass murder.

      • Kaur Sandeep says:

        Obviously you can’t refute my statement. The 2 soldiers in the video by Ahed don’t really fit the bill of murderous thugs u seem to portray the Israelis as. If the IDF were such animals murdering Palistinian children, you don’t think the 2 girls in the video would be dead by now. You seem to take this video as a sign of oppression by the Israelis, I c it as a sign of massive tolerance on the part of the soldiers.

        • Wesley Stubbs Sandel says:

          Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Israelis have murdered more than 2000 Palestinian children in the last fifteen years alone. Although fewer than 45 Israelis have been killed in the history of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in just a few weeks in 2014 the Israelis killed more than 2000 civilians in Gaza, 500 of them children.

          So, the question is, are you another one of those miserable racist a-hole Hindu nationalists or just a plain vanilla miserable racist a-hole Jewish nationalist hiding behind a foreign name?

          Inquiring minds want to know!

          • Kaur Sandeep says:

            You obviously are one who believes that the number of deaths represents who is right and wrong. FYI, Hitler and his troops suffered much greater casualties to the allies. Why not start a cause from him?

            If it makes you feel any better, many more Israelis would be dead if it were not for all the technology that Israel has developed, such as the iron dome.

          • Wesley Stubbs Sandel says:

            You shitforbrains racist, 25 million Soviets died in WWII.

            Most Palestinian children murdered by the Israelis are shot by an Israeli soldier with a sniper rifle. You call that self-defense.

            Now, imagine a Palestinian soldier with a sniper rifle shooting a Jewish child. It doesn’t happen because the Palestinians have never had an army, navy or air force – almost all the violence is the racist Jewish colonists murdering the defenseless, native Christian and Muslim population. But just imagine – still “self-defense?”

            No, I didn’t think so.

            Zionism is racism and mass murder.

          • Kaur Sandeep says:

            With all that name calling, u must have won the argument. Good for u.

          • Wesley Stubbs Sandel says:

            If you don’t want to be called a miserable racist a-hole don’t go around spouting our racist lies and expressing racist ideas.

            It works like a champ.

          • Kaur Sandeep says:

            I dont mind u calling all the names u can imagine. Keep on going . In my world, u dont win arguments that way ! Have a good evening

          • Wesley Stubbs Sandel says:

            I’m not having an argument with a miserable racist a-hole – racism is wrong. There’s nothing to debate. GFY.

  2. Wesley Stubbs Sandel says:

    The Israelis even jail poets and, I-shit-you-not, circus clowns because they’re so afraid of justice.

    Boycott ALL Israeli goods, services and institutions until Israeli racism, terrorism, colonialism, mass murder, ethnic cleansing and apartheid are ended and the human rights of the Palestinian refugees are honored.

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