by Ghada Nablusi (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 46, No. 12, Jumada' al-Ula', 1439)
The act of defiance by a 16-year-old Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi who confronted Israeli soldiers when they attacked her village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, has become the new face of resistance. She has become an icon of the resistance struggle despite facing overwhelming odds. Many Palestinians have applauded her courage and adopted her style of resistance as their own.
Home to about 600 members of the Tamimi clan, the Nabi Saleh village, in the news since 2009, has again been catapulted into the limelight. On December 15, the villagers, according to the Zionist colonizing army account, were protesting and throwing stones at the heavily armed soldiers. The raiding Zionist colonizers fired stun grenades at the Palestinian protesters in their own village. Ahed’s mother, Nariman, captured the events live on Facebook.
Two events had added spark to the latest round of protests: President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jeru-salem as the Zionist thieves’ capital (December 6), and Israeli soldiers shooting and critically wounding Ahed’s cousin, 15-year-old Muhammad. young boy was shot in the head using a rubber-coated steel bullet.
While Trump’s decision evoked global outrage, it also triggered Palestinian protests, including in the village of Nabi Saleh. During one of those protests, the attack on and serious injury to the young boy’s head is what enraged Ahed to take on the occupation army that day.
As Israeli soldiers — a captain and a sergeant — came to the family’s walled front yard, Ahed and her 20-year-old cousin, Nour Tamimi, approached them. Ahed yelled at them to leave, a natural reaction of people fed up with the mindboggling brutality of the occupiers.
When the Zionist soldiers refused to leave, Ahed and her cousin, already angered by their cousin’s grievous injury, started to push and kick them. As the melee intensified, Ahed hit both soldiers in the face, according to charges laid against her.
It was at this point that Zionist racism came to the fore. How dare a Palestinian slap an Israeli soldier; gun-toting Zionist soldiers can beat up Palestinians, they can shoot and kill unarmed Palestinians but the latter do not have the right to even protect themselves or resist the occupiers.
The video caused an uproar in Israel, amid complaints the soldiers had been humiliated. Ahed was arrested on December 19; soon thereafter, her mother Nariman and cousin Nour were also arrested.
While her cousin Nour has since been freed on bail, Ahed and her mother remain in prison. Ahed faces lengthy prison time — potentially up to 14 years — after being charged with 12 counts of attacking and threatening soldiers in five incidents going back to April 2016. She is being held in HaSharon Prison in Ben Yahuda, in clear violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The Zionists are guilty of multiple crimes but two stand out in Ahed Tamimi’s case. First, she is a minor and cannot be charged or tried in a military court. Second, she has been moved from her village to a different territory and jurisdiction. Under international law relating to foreign occupation, the occupying power cannot relocate a person and hold him/her in prison in another jurisdiction. The Zionists, however, are not constrained by any rules and they do not care for any law.
Ahed was not involved in any illegal activity. She was resisting the Zionist occupiers, a right recognized by the United Nations for people under occupation. They can resist their occupiers by any means necessary, a UN resolution of 1993 states. The Zionists are illegal occupiers of the land of Palestine; unlike the Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of Zionists have no link to Palestine. They are alien invaders in the land.
The residents of Nabi Saleh have a long history of resistance. In 2009, their land and spring were illegally seized for a nearby Zionist squatter colony. They have continued to hold almost weekly protests against this outrage. Their demonstrations against the theft of their land often end in clashes with gun-toting Israeli soldiers. While the Palestinians throw stones — the only weapon they have — the Zionist occupiers fire tear gas, rubber bullets, and even live rounds of ammunition.
All too often, Palestinian children as well as women are arrested after being beaten up with clubs or rifle butts or otherwise roughed up. As long as the Palestinians suffer Zionist brutality, this is considered normal. But when the Palestinians resist and fight back with their bare hands, then it becomes a crime and evokes an even more violent response from the Zionists.
Resistance to foreign occupation is an inherent right of all people. This is recognized in international law as well as in several United Nations resolutions. This is at the theoretical level but when it comes to practice, the victims of occupation are often ignored. They are doubly victimized: first by the occupiers, and then by their accomplices in the media and Western regimes as they vilify acts of resistance by the oppressed.
If the Zionists think they can crush the spirit of resistance by imprisoning youths like Ahed, they are deluding themselves. Several generations of Palestinians have experienced nothing but the heavy boots of Zionist occupation. Palestinian youth no longer fear death. Surrendering to occupation itself is death but this is the death of cowards.
Remaining silent or surrendering to the status quo is not an option for most Palestinians. This is a policy adopted by the puppets in the so-called Palestinian Authority dominated by corrupt politicians. The vast majority of Palestinians view them with contempt. For ordinary Palestinians, especially the youth, death while resisting is an honorable objective; it is called martyrdom. Seeing no other solution or option, this is what increasing numbers of Palestinians have adopted.
The Zionists’ Nazi-like tactics are merely strengthening the spirit of resistance. Neither their dungeons nor their bullets can silence the voices calling for freedom nor crush their spirit. Their bare hands have become powerful weapons that now reach the throats of the occupiers telling them to get off our land!