Spending Her 17th Birthday in Jail: Let Ahed Tamimi Go Home
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace calls on the Canadian government to uphold Canada’s commitment to international human rights, particularly those of children and youth in conflict areas. Recently, the story of Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, has become widely known. Judy Haiven in Rabble.ca draws our attention to the “16-year-old Palestinian girl from Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, who was recently dragged from her bed and her family in the dead of night, handcuffed and thrown in jail by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).” This arrest happened after a video of Ahed slapping a heavily armed Israeli soldier in her front yard became public. The incident happened after, as her father reports, “soldiers shot her little cousin in the face, shattering his skull.”
Under what kind of law would a child slapping a soldier in a helmet and body armour, carrying a gun, who was invading her property, result in this kind of arrest and charges? Under what kind of law would violence against civilians, including children be acceptable? The law which the Palestinians of West Bank, where Ahed lives, are subject to, is not the civil law which applies to the Israeli settlers living in the same area. In fact, this practice of subjecting children to detention and mistreatment occurs under Israeli military law. Palestinians have lived under Israeli military occupation for 50 years. Avaaz, which defines itself as “a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision making everywhere”, in a Fact Sheet about Ahed Tamimi, states “The expansion and the two-tiered legal system are in violation of international humanitarian law and multiple United Nations resolutions. (Source: UN)”
Even war, that most outdated, barbaric, ineffective, unfathomable of institutions, even war has been defined, in our modern world, by what is too brutal and unfair to be allowed. The Geneva Conventions specifically define the rights of a civilian population to humane treatment under a military occupation.
Additionally, according to Amnesty International “Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a state party, the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child must be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.” Also from Amnesty International “According to Defense for Children Palestine (DCI), approximately 500-700 Palestinian children from the occupied West Bank are prosecuted every year through Israeli juvenile military courts under Israeli military orders. These military orders are enforced through the military courts and many criminalize peaceful activities such as peaceful political expression or organizing and attending protests without prior permission from an Israeli military commander.”
We know Ahed Tamimi’s name. We know she is currently being held in detention and, when her father recently saw her in court, “she was pale and shivering, shackled and clearly in pain.” We don’t know the names of the hundreds of other children, seized from their homes or from off the street, put in cold, dark cells, interrogated without their parents present and subjected to ill treatment.
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace advocates for human security for all. We call on Israel to abide by international law in the treatment of both children and adults, We call on the Israeli government to release Ahed Tamimi and all other children in detention, with the exception of brief detentions as allowed under the “Convention on the Rights of the Child”. We also call on Israel to treat all children equally, under the same legal system.
It is Ahed Tamimi’s birthday today, January 31, 2018. She is turning 17. If you would like to draw international attention to the plight of Ahed Tamimi and the other Palestinian children in Israeli detention, please sign the Avaaz petition, started by Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/free_ahed_global_loc/?slideshow . Almost 1.5 million people have signed so far. You can also write to Justin Trudeau, email@example.com, and your Member of Parliament and ask them to stand up for the human rights of children.
For more information see:
Fact Sheet from Avaaz.: Child Prisoners held by Israel (2018): https://avaazpress.s3.amazonaws.com/Child+Detention+Fact+Sheet.pdf
Unicef Report: Children in Israeli Military Detention (2013): https://www.unicef.org/oPt/UNICEF_oPt_Children_in_Israeli_Military_Detention_Observations_and_Recommendations_-_6_March_2013.pdf
Amnesty International: Israel: Release teenage Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi (2018)