On The Electronic Intifada Podcast: Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi denied bail in an Israeli military court; Activists celebrate the closure of a New York City diamond store owned by Israeli billionaire and settlement profiteer Lev Leviev.
“Ahed is strong, and she is keeping her spirits high,” says Gaby Lasky, attorney for Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old Palestinian activist who has been in Israeli military detention for a month.
An Israeli military court denied Ahed’s bail on 17 January.
She was arrested by Israeli forces during a night raid in mid-December days after she and her cousin were filmed attempting to remove Israeli soldiers who were on her family’s property in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank.
Ahed and her cousin confronted the army days after a soldier shot another cousin, 15-year-old Muhammad Fadel Tamimi, in the head causing him serious injuries.
Ahed was seen in a video filmed by her mother, Nariman, slapping and shoving one of the heavily armed men.
Following Ahed’s arrest, Nariman was arrested as well and is also in military detention, facing charges of incitement due to her recording the incident. She was also denied bail.
“We have to remember that this is a military court, and it’s a court of occupation,” Lasky tells The Electronic Intifada Podcast.
“The real task of this court is not to enact justice, but to perpetuate occupation.”
Israel wants to use Ahed’s case “as a deterrent to other Palestinians” who see what Ahed did “and resist occupation the way she has done,” Lasky says.
After the video of Ahed slapping a heavily-armed soldier went viral, many Israelis saw it as a humiliation “for the soldiers, for the whole nation, and they couldn’t bear it,” Lasky notes.
Lasky explains that in Ahed’s case, as well as every other case involving the arrest and detention of Palestinian children, Israel is engaged in numerous violations of international law, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In order to try and get her to incriminate herself, Lasky says Israeli interrogators threatened Ahed, telling her that if she didn’t speak, they would arrest members of her family and bring them to the police station.
Last week, Israeli soldiers indeed arrested another one of Ahed’s cousins, 19-year-old Muhammad Bilal Tamimi, in a night raid. His detention was extended until 25 January.
He is reportedly being held in solitary confinement in Petah Tikva detention center near Tel Aviv, and his parents were prevented by Israeli orders from attending his court hearing.
Ahed is being detained in Hasharon prison, which is also inside of Israel – a clear violation, Lasky explains, of the Fourth Geneva Convention which clearly states that occupied persons cannot be transferred inside the occupier’s territory.
“There are two sets of rules in the occupied territories, depending on your nationality or ethnicity,” Lasky remarks.
“While settlers will be brought to an Israeli civil court, Palestinians – for the same offense – will be brought to military court, where the rules are different, where it is much harder, where the punishments are harsher and where children are kept in detention for the end of the trial,” she adds.
Such threats and clear violations of international law and legal protections for children were systematically ignored by the court in Ahed’s bail hearing this week, Lasky says.
For the first time in a long time, Lasky says that Ahed’s case is forcing Israelis to relate to their responsibility toward Palestinians as their occupiers.
“A 16-year-old Palestinian young woman was able to open the door to the Israeli public, to see again [what] occupation [is] – what occupation is doing to Israelis, what occupation is doing to Palestinians,” she remarks.
Creative protests key to New York campaign
Meanwhile, in New York City, activists celebrated the closure of a Madison Avenue diamond store owned by Israeli billionaire and settlement profiteer Lev Leviev.
Activists had held creative, holiday-themed protests against Leviev’s companies for years.
One of Leviev’s companies, Africa Israel, has been a focus of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns because it has built Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank through its subsidiary Danya Cebus.
The campaigns against Leviev’s companies began at the request of Palestinian and Israeli activists working to resist land confiscation in the villages where Leviev’s companies were building settlements, according to Patrick Connors of Adalah-NY.
“There was a snowball effect as different actors around the world either publicly or privately distanced themselves from Leviev,” Connors explains to The Electronic Intifada Podcast.
Connors said that the key to sustaining a decade of protests was creativity.
The street protests, which often parodied Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs, “were fun and exciting and created interest, catching the attention of media sometimes as well,” Connors says.
Listen to the interviews with Gaby Lasky and Patrick Connors via the media player above.
Production assistance and theme music by Sharif Zakout
Photo: Ahed Tamimi, 16, is taken out of a military court at the Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank, 20 December. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)
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