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Israeli forces shoot boy in face, arrest cousin for protesting, her mother for looking into it

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Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to Mohammed Tamimi as Ahed Tamimi’s brother. Ahed has a brother with the same name as the Mohammed Tamimi shot on Friday, however the Mohammed shot and injured on Friday is her cousin from the village, not her brother. We apologize for the oversight.

Israeli soldiers forced their way into the Nariman and Bassem Tamimi’s home before dawn on Tuesday, the way they have done dozens of times before — only this time instead of leaving with Nariman or Bassem, they arrested the couple’s 16-year-old daughter, Ahed Tamimi.

It is alleged that Ahed was arrested for slapping a soldier during a demonstration the day before. The demonstration was organized to protest Israel’s use of force during a protest on Friday, when Ahed’s 14-year-old cousin Mohammed was shot in the face by an Israeli soldier, leaving him in critical condition. After a six-hour surgery the boy was put into a medically induced coma for at least 72 hours.

With a population of just 600, the community in Nabi Saleh is a tight-knit group, with one of her family’s children in the hospital, expected to be brought out of his coma that day, and her daughter being held in some unknown location by the Israeli government, Nariman was overloaded with tragedy.

For Nariman, a Palestinian mother, activist and medic from Nabi Saleh, one of the occupied West Bank’s most politically contentious villages, there was no time to grieve for her family’s situation.

She headed to Israel’s Binyamin Detention Center to figure out where her daughter had been taken. By 1:30 p.m. she too was detained.

On Tuesday evening an Israeli court told Bassem that both his wife and daughter would be held in detention until at least Thursday, Bilal Tamimi, Nariman’s cousin, told Mondoweiss.

By Wednesday a military court extended Ahed’s detention by ten more days. During the hearing, Ahed’s father Bassem was also detained.

Nariman and Bassem have both been detained more times than either can count, but this is the first time their daughter will spend nights in Israeli prison. Her arrest is not so surprising to anyone familiar with the Tamimis. In fact, most would say Ahed’s arrest was only a matter of time.

A quick Google of the Ahed’s name brings up pages of images of her growing up over the years — a red-faced girl with wild blonde curls fearlessly screaming and chanting with rage directly in front of Israeli soldiers. One set of viral photos even shows her, just 13 years old at the time, biting the hand of a soldier who had tackled her little brother, as the then-11-year-old screamed atop his broken arm, his head smashed between the soldiers knee and a large rock.  


The Tamimi family rushes an Israeli soldier pinning a Mohammed Tamimi, then 12, during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, August 28, 2015. (Photo: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

A Palestinian does not have the right to be so bold in the face of Israeli forces and not expect to be detained one day, so while Ahed’s family is surely wracked with grief over her arrest, it is doubtful they are able to feel at all shocked.

Nabi Saleh

Nabi Saleh could have been an inconsequential village with a population of about 600 in the middle of Ramallah’s rolling hills if not for a small fresh water spring called Ein al-Qaws and a determined community unwilling to back down.

Free Ahed (Image: Carlos Latuff)

Ein al-Qaws had been the village’s sole water source for generations. In 2008, the neighboring illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish began to take over the spring. Soon a road was built, with the spring on the side of the settlement, and Nabi Saleh on the other. Villagers were denied access to the spring that provided for their community for as long as anyone could remember.

By 2009, villagers, particularly the Tamimi clan, decided to organize. Since then a protest has been held in the village every Friday without fail. Rain, holidays and curfews do not stop the people of Nabi Saleh from taking to the side of the hill facing the spring and demanding their land back.

In response, every Friday Israeli soldiers are deployed to suppress the protests, leading to clashes, tear gas, night raids and numerous dead and injured villagers.

Ahed was eight years old when it all started.

While the Tamimi clan has garnered various criticisms for allowing the children of Nabi Saleh, from the bold Ahed to the vocal “child journalist,” Janna Jihad, the Tamimis have explained countless times during radio, print and television interviews why they allow their children to participate. First, they say violence is simply a reality for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, and second, they believe keeping their children indoors during the protests fosters fear inside them.

The Tamimis say they choose to cultivate strength, not fear within their children — even if that means teenagers get pulled out of bed and taken away to unknown locations in the middle of the night by fully armed soldiers.

Sheren Khalel

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She focuses on human rights, women's issues and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Khalel formerly worked for Ma'an News Agency in Bethlehem, and is currently based in Ramallah and Jerusalem. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk.

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13 Responses

  1. Citizen on December 19, 2017, 5:07 pm

    Sheesh. This would make a great, informative story on US cable tv news shows. But they don’t view their job as fostering informed consent of US public.

    • CigarGod on December 20, 2017, 4:39 pm

      Not only that, but it’s hard to tell who the editors and publishers…with dual citizenship are…because they dress like Americans.

    • Kathleen on December 20, 2017, 10:01 pm

      We can be sure Rachel Maddow will not be covering this story or any other fact based story about Israeli oppression and human rights crimes.

      What a strong family, Remarkable.

  2. GodWPalestine on December 19, 2017, 5:17 pm

    What a brave and courageous beautiful girl.
    She is much stronger than them, you have to be mentally strong to face these cowards and she’s got that in her.
    All our prayers and thoughts with her and her family.
    The fact that Trump is recognising Jerusalem as the Jews capital is the beginning of more hate and anger to Israel which grows our support to Palestine.

  3. Boomer on December 20, 2017, 4:57 pm

    re: “Israeli forces shoot boy in face, arrest cousin for protesting, her mother for looking into it”

    Thanks for a good article about this, but really, the headline says it all.

  4. Emet on December 21, 2017, 7:39 am

    Sheren, with the amount of times stories have turned out to be complete distortions of the truth and often out and out lies, you may want to be a little more restrained in your reporting. I suggest you try something like “It was reported that”. Otherwise you land up with mud in your face. But of course, when it comes to issues that are anti-Jewish, anything goes.

    • Talkback on December 21, 2017, 8:28 am

      Emet: ” But of course, when it comes to issues that are anti-Jewish, anything goes.”

      Wait. Is the behaviour of the Zionist Apartheid Junta’s terrorist wing anti-Jewish? Or is it Jewish and its criticism anti-Jewish?

    • Maghlawatan on December 21, 2017, 8:47 am


      Please name 10 stories that were fabricated.
      Otherwise STFU

    • eljay on December 21, 2017, 8:47 am

      || Emet: … when it comes to issues that are anti-Jewish, anything goes. ||

      No kidding. Zionists, for example, can’t seem to get enough of anti-Semitically conflating Zionism and the “Jewish State” project with all Jews and all Jews with Zionism and the “Jewish State” project.

      • Maghlawatan on December 21, 2017, 9:42 am

        Zionists don’t understand what agency means.

    • JosephA on December 21, 2017, 8:52 am

      Sounds like a zionist (racist) opinion. There’s nothing anti-Jewish in what the author reported. Israel does not represent all Jews; zionism (racism, settler-colonialist supremacy) only harms Judaism.

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