On February 13, the first day of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi’s trial in Israeli military court (the trial was ultimately postponed), her cousin Nour Tamimi wrote a piece in The Washington Post, denouncing Israel’s imprisonment of Palestinian teens like Ahed.
Like her cousin, Nour was taken from her home, detained, and cruelly mistreated in prison by Israeli forces. Also like her cousin, she is facing charges in Israel’s military court, where the conviction rate is 99 percent. Unlike Ahed, who has been detained since December, Nour was released on bail. She is using this opportunity to speak truth to power about the Israeli occupation and its systemic abuses against Palestinian youth.
As she writes:
I had barely fallen asleep when I woke to find an armed Israeli soldier hovering over my bed. He told me to get up quickly and put on a jacket. Half asleep, I was handcuffed, thrown into an army jeep, and taken to be interrogated. They had already taken my 16-year-old cousin, Ahed, the night before, and now it was my turn.
A few days earlier, the Israeli army raided our town of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank to suppress our weekly demonstration against the illegal Jewish settlement built on our land and the theft of our fresh-water spring by settlers. During the demonstration, a soldier shot our 15-year-old cousin Mohammad in the face from close range, shattering his skull. He was rushed to the hospital and had to be medically induced into a coma. About half an hour later, still traumatized by what happened to our cousin, we found soldiers in the front yard of Ahed’s home where we were sitting and tried to get them to leave. For demanding they leave, my unarmed cousin is now facing charges for confronting an armed soldier.
I was released on bail after 16 days, but Ahed has now been languishing in prison for nearly two months, as has her mother. On Jan. 31, she spent her 17th birthday in a cell. The start of her trial in a military court has been delayed several times. . . . In a blatant attempt to avoid the scrutiny of the international media, the judge also ruled that journalists will be barred from attending. The charges that Ahed faces carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.
In prison, we were treated very badly. After being arrested, Ahed was taken into a basement cell and interrogated without a parent or lawyer present. She and I were repeatedly moved from one prison to another, held with regular Israeli criminals, and subjected to sexist and degrading verbal harassment. The army knows how to place psychological pressure to break you. They deprived us of sleep and food, and I was forced to remain seated in a chair unable to move for long hours at a time.
Nour’s account is important, not only for countering the heinous smear campaigns that have been conducted against her family, but also for placing Ahed’s case within the larger context of Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank, its “separate and unequal” two-tiered legal system for Jewish settlers and Palestinians, and the country’s well-documented abuse of imprisoned Palestinian children. Nour also brings attention to congressional efforts to end U.S. support for these violations and calls on the international community to stand for justice.
Read Nour’s entire article here.