Monday, December 10, 2018

Birthday celebrations for Ahed al-Tamimi show solidarity for Palestinian youth prisoners


By Martin Leeper - February 05, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Occupation] [Al-Nabi Saleh] [arrests] [BDS] [Hebron] [Life behind bars] [Nabi Saleh] [Palestinian women] [prisoners] [Shuhada Street] [youth]

Ahed al-Tamimi turned 17 on January 31st. The night before, in an act of solidarity, the Youth Against Settlements (YAS) organization threw a birthday party for Ahed and Palestinian children of Hebron also born in the month of January.
 
The event was held in Gheith, a Palestinian neighborhood, though illegally occupied by Israeli settlers, in the old city of Hebron. Equal parts birthday celebration and political demonstration, nearly 200 children and international activists attended the function.
 
Nearby, between 20 and 40 Israeli Defense Soldiers stood guard. “They don’t know what to do,” Founder of YAS, Issa Amro said. “They are confused by a birthday party.”
 
Gheith was once an open cluster of homes and shops with a small square in the middle leading to al-Shuhada street. Once a bustling market street in the heart of the city, Shuhada street was shut down in 1994 after violent clashes between Palestinians and illegal settlers. The street was closed in order to buffer the city’s inhabitants from the settlers, now roughly 700 in a city of over 200,000.
 
“Today the soldiers declared the area a closed military zone and they closed the gate (to the fenced off neighborhood)—a violation of their rights…their childhood. The kids, they don’t have any rights, they suffer from settlers and soldiers violence. Ahed [al-Tamimi] is in a little cage, but these children, they are [also in a cage]. A slightly bigger cage,” Amro said.
 
 
Al-Tamimi was detained on December 19, 2017 after a video was posted online of her slapping an Israeli soldier. She is currently being held at HaSharon prison, with her trial currently set to begin on February 6th.
 
Amro believes Israeli child detention oppresses Palestinian children’s childhood and “destroys them from an early age.” “They don’t respect their childhood, they don’t let them study, they don’t let them visit their families,” Amro said.
 
Co-founder of Code Pink, Medea Benjamin was in attendance at the birthday celebrations. Code Pink was among the groups banned from entry into Israel in early January due to their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Benjamin and her co-worker, Tighe Barry, arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv expecting to be rejected at customs but instead were granted entrance without trouble.
 
After the unexpected access, they contacted YAS and "heard that there was a birthday party for Ahed. “We thought, what a perfect time to combine two things we really care about, the imprisonment of children and the difficulty of living surrounded by settlers,” Benjamin told Palestine Monitor.
 
A long time peace activist, telling stories from Washington D.C. to Gaza, Benjamin said, “The birthday party was a brilliant example of how you can protest the system in a creative, festive, non-violent way, that accomplishes several things at the same time: highlighting the imprisonment of a young woman who has become an icon in the region, giving the children in the neighborhood a time to celebrate their lives and bringing in outsiders to witness how the military is intimidated by even a birthday party for children.”
 
For YAS, and why they decided to hold the event, Amro said, “We came, to show them [the kids] solidarity, we came to give them support, and to show them that they are not alone.”
 

Back to Top

Related Articles

Second edition of Boombox Hip-hop festival in Ramallah
December 04, 2018

UN Secretary General urges revival of two-state solution possibility
December 04, 2018

Kafr Qaddum weekly protest: ‘‘We will fight peacefully until we reach our rights.‘‘
December 03, 2018

Most Popular Articles

Israelís puppet war unmasks apartheid regime
The El-Hakawati theatre was colorfully adorned to host its annual International

Israel Avoids Hard-Right Shift: No Benefit for Palestinians
With many commentators predicting big wins for the settler movement in

Rushdi Tamimi becomes second victim of Israeli army in Nabi Saleh
On Tuesday November 21st, the body of 31 year old Rushdi Tamimi was

Designed & Developed by: Pixel Co