LThey call her “the blonde” because of her thick mane of very curly hair. Ahed Tamimi was arrested today in the West Bank by the Israeli army. E his arrest is significant for its notoriety of young icon of the Palestinian struggle also at an international level. In 2018, at just 17 years old, he served 8 months in prison imposed by the military court for slapping two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village Prophet Saleh. A gesture that transformed her into Joan of Arc of Palestine. But her story of activism begins with her.
Who is Ahed Tamimi, a 22-year-old Palestinian activist who Israel arrested
Ahed Tamimi, reports Haaretz, she was arrested for a message published on social media in Hebrew and Arabic. «Our message to the herds of settlers is that we await you in every city, from Hebron to Jenin. We will massacre you and you will say that what Hitler did to you was a joke. We will drink your blood and eat your skulls. Let’s go, we’ll be waiting for you.”
“No tolerance towards terrorists and those who support terrorists,” wrote Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir in a tweet, posting the photo of the moment of the arrest, below, and praising the Israeli soldiers.
Ahed’s mother, Nariman denied that his daughter wrote the post. “There are dozens of pages (online) in Ahed’s name with her photo, to which she has no connection.”
Ahed’s parents have nothing to do with Hamas but are well-known activists from Nabi Saleh: the West Bank village that is the symbol of a particular type of resistance to the Israeli occupation, non-violent and very media-focused. Both Bassem, her father, arrested by Israeli forces during a raid in the city last week, and her mother Nariman.
The non-violent protests in the village of Prophet Saleh
The West Bank village It has been experiencing a situation of great instability since 1977, when a group of Israeli fundamentalists founded the colony of Halamish on the opposite side of the valley where it is located. But it is especially since, in 2008, some Israeli settlers decided to build some tanks near one water source historically used by Palestinian inhabitants, that the Tamimi protest (almost everyone in the village is called that) began to grow. And so was the response of the Israeli soldiers, who monitored the area, preventing demonstrators from approaching Halamish with weapons, rubber bullets and tear gas.
Every Friday the inhabitants of Nabi Saleh gather in the center of the village. They chant slogans, carry Palestinian and Popular Committee flags, children with helmets and gas masks. Accompanying them were international activists and Israeli pacifists. Their goal, for years now, has always been to reach the water source, which has also become a symbol.
Furthermore, shortly after the protests began, with the support of the Israeli human rights association B’Tselemthe residents of Nabi Saleh also started making videos to film their actions and document the mistreatment carried out by Israeli soldiers. Videos that often go viral.
Among these, also the video of Ahed Tamimi, then a child: He shouted and shook his fists at an Israeli soldier.
Then, at 16, the gesture of slapping the Israeli soldiers. Among the accounts that are spreading those videos today, that of another very young girl, Janna Jihad: she calls herself Ahed Tamimi’s cousin and began publishing his denunciation videos at 13 years old.
The role of viral videos
According to some observers, the adults of Nabi Saleh they encourage children to participate in demonstrations: they put them in danger in order to exploit their innocent image and through them talk about Israeli abuses in a more effective media way. In short, it is a form of exploitation of minors.
For others, the Tamimi protests are a legitimate expedient to protest against a brutal regime. She wrote it Tikkun, a left-wing Israeli magazine. «It is the ground zero of the Palestinian strategy of confrontational but non-violent “civil resistance” against the occupation».
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