24 March 2018

Free Ahed Tamimi; free Palestine

Ahed Tamimi is a heroine. Ahed Tamimi should not have to be.

Ahed Tamimi of Nabi Saleh, the sixteen-year-old Palestinian girl who became (in)famous for slapping an IDF soldier in the presence of a cellphone camera, committed a small and direct but justifiable act of violence in defence of her home and her loved ones. She is now subject to the larger, impersonal administrative and unjustifiable violence of political detention, having been sentenced to eight months in prison this past week. She is a prisoner of conscience in a society risibly called the Middle East’s only democracy by such mouthpieces of the CIA as Freedom House.

There ought to be no cause in any civilised society for a sixteen-year-old girl to be placed in the position of having to defend her home from the soldiers which occupy the land she lives on. But there she was. She did what she did; she did so with bravery and just cause.

There is no good reason, in any Abrahamic tradition of jurisprudence, to punish a child so disproportionately for an act of filial piety and self-defence against a lethally-armed soldier threatening her family and her home. And it is clear from other acts of a similar nature that this unjustifiable administrative violence is visited prejudicially upon Palestinians as a people. The treatment of Ahed Tamimi underscores the fact that the state of Israel has a two-tiered system of justice: one for those it ethnically considers its ‘own’, and the other for ‘those other people’.

A free, independent and sovereign Palestinian state must form. Such a position is justified by history and by moral reason. There is no inherent reason such a state must be inherently opposed to Jews generally, or even those who currently live in the state of Israel. Those fears are artificially stoked by a deliberate campaign of propaganda, and by the inhumane treatment meted out to Palestinian Muslims and Christians by Israelis themselves.

In the meanwhile, it is incumbent upon the state of Israel to enforce proportionate justice. The sentence upon young Miss Tamimi, being unjust and disproportionate, must be reversed and revisited; she herself must be released from detention.

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