Ahed Al-Tamimi: Chile concerned over Israeli incarceration of teen Palestinian activist

SANTIAGO – Chile has expressed “great concern” over the case of Palestinian iconic teen Ahed Tamimi, who is being tried by an Israeli military court in secret proceedings in a case that has garnered massive international attention.

The 17-year-old girl was detained in December for slapping an Israeli soldier who intruded into her family home in the village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah.

“The government of Chile has expressed to the Embassy of Israel in Chile its enormous concern over the case of the Palestinian citizen, Ahed al-Tamimi, a minor of 17 years of age, who is being detained and tried by an Israeli military court on the charge of incitement to violence,” a statement released by Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

The Chilean government’s comments followed a solidarity campaign by the large Palestinian community in the South American country campaign for the teen activist.

Palestinian community in Chile amounts to more than 200,000 people and is the biggest in the world outside of the Arab world.

“In view of this unfortunate situation affecting a minor, the Chilean government reiterated to the Diplomatic Representation of Israel the need for the rights of the Palestinian minor to be fully observed, with the guarantees of a due process and to be adequately weighed by the judicial authority the circumstances and area of tension in which the events that gave rise to this investigation took place,” it added.

The statement concluded by saying that the Chilean government “awaits the prompt release of Ahed Tamimi.”

Ahed was indicted on 12 charges including assaulting an Israeli soldier and throwing stones after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier in her home’s yard went viral.

Known as “the icon of Palestinian resistance” against Israeli occupation in West Bank, the girl had punched two Israeli soldiers upon discovering the troops shot her cousin a day earlier.

Musab Firas Al-Tamimi, 17, was killed by a shot to the neck during a skirmish that occurred in Deir Nitham, Ahed’s village on January 2018. Al-Tamimi was referred to as “the first to be killed by Israel in 2018” by Al Jazeera.

Shortly after Ahed’s arrest, her mother Nariman and her 20-year-old cousin Nour who also appeared in the video were held in custody.

Nariman was charged for posting videos of her daughter’s protests against Israel on Facebook, and was accused of “incit[ing] others to commit terrorist attacks”, according to Guardian.

Her cousin Nour was also detained for taking part in the incident, but was set free on bail worth USD 1.400, said the Amnesty International.

The judge denied bail for Ahed, saying: “The gravity of the offences of which she is accused does not allow an alternative to custody,” as reported by The Guardian.

Ahed’s father Basseem Al-Tamimi is also an activist against Israeli settlement in Palestine. He was sentenced for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers in 2012, but has since been released.

Tamimi’s case is one of those of more than 300 Palestinian children who are currently imprisoned in Israeli jails, deprived of their childhood and future, according to Palestine Federation of Chile president Nadia Garib.

“As Chileans of Palestinian origin, we ask that the government of Chile to join the international campaign calling for the liberation of Tamimi and demand an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, which has now been in full swing for more than 50 years with total impunity,” she told local media.

A day earlier Chilean Senator Francisco Chahuán, who is also of Palestinian origin took to Twitter to demand action from the government.

“We demand the release of young Palestinian Ahed Tamimi! We ask the Foreign Ministry to join this world petition in favor of her human rights and public liberties,” he said from his Twitter account.

“She represents the heart of the Palestinian cause and the right to self-determination of the people,” he said in another tweet Friday thanking the ministry for its statement.

The teen, who turned 17 behind bars last month, has received large international attention and solidarity since her arrest as many prominent actors, artists and academics in the United States and other countries signed letters and petitions calling for her release.

An Israeli poet named Yehonatan Geffen dedicated a poem to Ahed, in which he compared her to Anne Frank, famous diarist and Jewish victim of the Holocaust as well as to Joan of Arc, a historical heroine of French revolution against British rule.

His first comparison met with considerable criticism from Israelis.

One of them said, according to Israel National News: “The State of Israel will not grant a platform to a man who compares a girl who perished in the Holocaust and a heroic warrior who fought the Nazi regime with the brat Ahed Tamimi, who attacked a soldier.”

The Israeli poet later apologized to his nation for “the comparison”, as confirmed by Israel National News.