For me, Ahed Tamimi has become an international symbol of hope for Palestine and is more determined to raise awareness and stand up against the injustices posed against innocent civilians from the Israeli military occupation.
Heartbreakingly, there are still over 350 Palestinian children who remain in Israeli prison and detention centres, according to local human rights organisations. When they will be released is a question we need to ask.
Tamimi was released from jail on the 29 July after serving eight months in prison for slapping an Israeli soldier on the same day that one of her 15-year-old cousin had been shot, leaving him with permanent injuries to the face. Although many people describe her as being free she still remains resilient to gain true freedom for the Palestinian community and said in an interview that, “I will present the violations against the Palestinians in criminal courts. And to try Israel for it and to be a big lawyer, and to return rights to my country.”
According to a report by Amnesty International, hundreds of Palestinian children are prosecuted by the Israeli army and sent to juvenile military courts. Many of these children are reportedly arrested during night raids and subjected to severe interrogations without the presence of their families or even a lawyer. In addition, children are allegedly subjected to ill-treatment during interrogations including intimidating them by blindfolding them, threatening them and in some cases physically harming them. If this is all true, where is the justice for such inhumane acts that goes against basic human rights?
It is unfair to criminalise peaceful activities such as peaceful political protests. Palestinians are targeted and arrested by the military for protesting their human rights. It is through the resistance and messages from brave and dignified Palestinians such as Ahed Tamimi and all those other unsung heroes who live and breathe just to stand against oppression.
Saleh Higazi, head of Amnesty International’s Jerusalem office, stated that, “Ahed Tamimi’s release must not obscure the familiar and continuing story of the Israeli military using discriminatory policies to lock up Palestinian children. Her unjust imprisonment is a reminder of how the Israeli occupation uses the arbitrary military courts to punish those who challenge the occupation and illegal settlements expansion policies, without any regard to age.”
There are many children in Palestine who are suffering injustices even when they have not done any recognisable crime, yet day in and day out they hope that one day they will be free from brutal repression by occupying forces.
As a mother myself, it pains me that children even as young as 12 years old have to be subjected to the ordeal of being prosecuted. The international community has been made aware of the atrocities and injustices that are happening in Palestine and it is up to us to stand up for what is right and take action in peacefully protesting against injustice in order for rehabilitation and change to prevail.