‘They would charge us with the crime of being born Palestinian’: a report from the latest Tamimi court hearing

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On the evening of Thursday, December 28th, family members and friends of Nariman, Ahed and Nour Tamimi gathered in the courtroom at Ofer military camp waiting to hear the latest verdict in regards to the three Tamimi women.

Ahed and Nour, were arrested by Israeli forces after a video of them slapping and pushing armed soldiers out of their yard was spread. Nariman Tamimi, Ahed’s mother, was arrested when she went to Binyamin police station to inquire about the well-being of her 16-year-old daughter, and to be present as her guardian since Ahed is a minor.

During Thursday’s court hearing Nour, 20, was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs, her small body surrounded by four prison guards. She wore a bright pink jacket, her face pale and her hair parted to the side. She blew kisses to her mother and father in the back of the courtroom and asked in whispers about her siblings. As her family tried to send her love and support, the prosecution laid out its demand to extend her detention for five more days. The prosecution later asked that the Nariman’s detention be extended for six more days, and Ahed’s for seven.

Nariman Tamimi (l), Nour Tamimi (r) in Ofer military court, December 28, 2017. (Photo: Mariam Barghouti)

As of yet, no official charges have been brought for the Tamimi women. Nariman is suspected of “aggravated assault of a soldier, incitement and obstructing a soldier” as well as partaking in “public disturbance.” Similarily, Ahed Tamimi is also being held under the pretext of “assault” and “insulting” soldiers. Nawal Tamimi, who is Ahed’s aunt, told Mondoweiss, “in the end, this is an occupation. If they could they would officially charge us with the crime of being born Palestinian.”

Nour’s mother, Boshra Tamimi, tried to hold herself together as her daughter sat just a few meters away. Her palms held tightly in her lap, and her face clearly pained despite the smiles that kept erupting every time she caught Nour looking in her direction. After Nour and Nariman were escorted out of the room, Boshra lit a cigarette outside and tried to focus past the frustration. “This is a kangaroo trial” she said. When Ahed’s hearing was about to take place, Boshra made way back into the courtroom and sighed, “back to the madness.”

Ahed’s hearing was chaotic, and the proceedings were held in Hebrew as a translator echoed a poor interpretation of what was being discussed. At one point, the translator for the Tamimi’s seemed as though he was falling asleep in his chair, and in another moment he casually walked out mid-translation for a phone call.

When Ahed was brought into the court her father, Bassem, spoke to her of her siblings. He smiled and told her they were okay while her aunt kept telling her she loves her.

The prosecution began to build its case against Ahed as she tried to make sense of what was being said. She had enacted her right to remain silent throughout the interrogation. “[Israeli interrogators] had put her through a rough process, long hours of no food and in rooms with terrible conditions, but she expressed her right to silence” Bassem told Mondoweiss.

In the court, Ahed sat in a brown prison jacket that was twice her size. She smiled at her friends and family and mouthed “I’m okay” to them and checked in on her cousins, sending kisses and love to them through her aunt. “If a stranger were to hear about the way the prosecution is speaking about my daughter they’d think they were talking about some large being that’s some sort of frightening boogyman,” said Bassem after the first part of Ahed’s hearing.

Gaby Lasky, the Tamimi’s lawyer, reminded the court of “the right to resist the invasion of one’s home” and “right to object to occupation.” While the charges the prosecution is pushing against the Tamimis are assault, incitement, and violence, there is no mention of the soldier’s violence during the trial, nor the fact that they were on a land that is deemed occupied in international law. After the end of the hearing Bassem walked out with pessimism. “I think they [Nariman and Ahed] will be sentenced to their prisons,” he said.

While it seemed that Ahed and Nariman would be facing a harsh conviction at end of the court hearing, the judge agreed to the possibility of releasing Nour Tamimi on bail early next week, if the prosecution did not appeal. However, he affirmed that Ahed and Nariman must remain detained until the indictment process begins. Their next hearing will be on January 1st, 2018.

As the final part of Ahed’s hearing ended, the young girl was escorted out and her father was left with the fear that his teenage daughter may be facing jail time. Nawal fell into tears after loudly proclaiming to Ahed as she was being hauled out, “we love you, we are with you, stay strong my dear!”

Outside, the family gathered their belongings and made their way out of Ofer. In the car, Nawal and Boshra begin to ask about Nariman’s cousin, Manal Tamimi. Just hours before the trial Manal was also arrested by Israeli forces as she stood in support of prisoners outside Ofer’s gates.

“I think [Israel] is planning to open a special section for us Tamimi women,” Nawal joked. After updating others on the outcome of the hearing, the Tamimi family begins another set of phone calls to inquire about Manal. “She is going to Hasharon.”

“Our people, continue to be taken by the occupation in the name of justice,” Nawal sighs. They begin their journey back to their village of Nabi Saleh, and the homes that are missing the voices of their mothers and daughters.

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Kangaroo court is an understatement!

Mariam, thanks so much for the update.

Thank you Mariam, please assure the Tamimi family that they’re not alone in this, to keep strong and courageous all the way.
All our prayers are with them!

This is such a farce. They’ve not been charged yet because the state of israel needs to get their lies straight and turn their right to protest the occupation, their right to protest soldiers trying to enter their home, slapping the soldier after he had slapped her and being born palestinian and looking like a ‘blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful’ shiksa – forbidden fruit.

Round and around the vortex, like so many floaters.