Palestine Advocacy Project’s latest billboard ad campaign intends to raise awareness about Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist who now faces up to 10 years in Israel’s military prison over an altercation with Israeli soldiers. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for Ahed’s immediate release.
On December 19 at 3AM, the Israeli military raided and ransacked Ahed’s home, arresting her along with her mother and cousin, and charged Ahed with 12 criminal counts, including assault and incitement.
During a protest, Ahed’s 14-year-old cousin was shot in the head at close range by an Israeli soldier. Israeli soldiers then invaded the Tamimi family’s home and threatened the entire family.
Ahed demanded the soldiers leave . After they refused, the unarmed Ahed slapped one of the heavily armed soldiers. It is clear from a video that later went viral, Ahed posed no actual threat to these soldiers.
The first billboard compares the apartheid regime in Israel with the former apartheid regime in South Africa. The text strikes through the name of Nelson Mandela and instead proposes Ahed Tamimi just below. Both Nelson Mandela (imprisoned for 27 years by South Africa’s apartheid government) and Ahed symbolize courageous resistance to a repressive government and apartheid systems. Ahed, who spent her 17th birthday in military prison, was arrested without charge and can be held up to 6 month with no due process rights, like so many other Palestinians. When she does go to trial, she will be in a court that has a 99.74% percent conviction rate for Palestinians. Israel’s settlers operate with virtual impunity in the Occupied West Bank.
Mona Abdo an activist with the Palestine Advocacy Project said, “Like Nelson Mandela for South Africa during apartheid, Ahed Tamimi has become a symbol of Palestine’s 50 years of resistance to Israeli’s brutal occupation and apartheid system. The world called for the release of Nelson Mandela then, and now we must call for the release of Ahed Tamimi and the 350 other child prisoners held in Israel’s military prisons.”
The second billboard picks up the focus on freeing the child prisoners in Israeli military prisons. According to Defense for Children International-Palestine, “Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 children each year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights”. Additionally, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that ill treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process.”