“I am very worried about my daughter. Her fate is now in the hands of people who don’t even see Palestinians as full human beings.”
Those are the words of Bassem Tamimi, father of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi, who at a hearing today was formally indicted on 12 counts by an Israeli military court.
According to a report by Aljazeera, the charges against Ahed include assaulting an Israeli soldier, interfering with a soldier’s duties, and two past instances of stone-throwing.
Ahed’s mother, Nariman, and her cousin, Nour, have now also been formally indicted. Nariman stands accused of “incitement” for uploading the video of the slap to social media, while Nour–at a hearing held in the same court yesterday–was indicted on charges of aggravated assault of a soldier and “disturbing soldiers conducting their duties,” according to a Press TV report here. All three remain in Israeli custody.
Ahed was arrested on December 19 after slapping an Israeli soldier. She has been held in detention ever since.
The girl’s lawyer is Gaby Lasky, an Israeli human rights attorney, who can be seen briefly in a video accompanying the Press TV report linked above and who is also quoted in an RT report.
“I am sure they want to keep her as long as possible because they don’t want the voice of resistance outside prison,” Lasky said.
Bassem, according to yet another report, here, “called Monday’s indictment a ‘political trial’ saying Israel dug up old incidents as well as the one filmed in order to justify her arrest.'”
But by far the most stirring and profound words from the worried father are contained in a commentary he wrote and which was published yesterday at Haaretz. The piece is entitled, “My Daughter, These are Tears of Struggle.” Here is a brief excerpt:
My daughter is just 16 years old. In another world, in your world, her life would look completely different. In our world, Ahed is a representative of a new generation of our people, of young freedom fighters. This generation has to wage its struggle on two fronts. On the one hand, they have the duty, of course, to keep on challenging and fighting the Israeli colonialism into which they were born, until the day it collapses. On the other hand, they have to boldly face the political stagnation and degeneration that has spread among us. They have to become the living artery that will revive our revolution and bring it back from the death entailed in a growing culture of passivity that has arisen from decades of political inactivity.
Ahed is one of many young women who in the coming years will lead the resistance to Israeli rule. She is not interested in the spotlight currently being aimed at her due to her arrest, but in genuine change. She is not the product of one of the old parties or movements, and in her actions she is sending a message: In order to survive, we must candidly face our weaknesses and vanquish our fears.
A bit later in the same article, Bassem goes on to address his remarks to Ahed directly:
Ahed, no parent in the world yearns to see his daughter spending her days in a detention cell. However, Ahed, no one could be prouder than I am of you. You and your generation are courageous enough, at last, to win. Your actions and courage fill me with awe and bring tears to my eyes. But in accordance with your request, these are not tears of sadness or regret, but rather tears of struggle.
In 2015, the Israeli Knessett adopted a law prescribing a prison sentence of up to 20 years for throwing stones. The fact that Ahed has been charged with two counts of stone throwing would suggest that Israeli prosecutors are planning to seek a lengthy prison sentence for the young girl.