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Video shows Israeli interrogators attempting to coerce confession from Ahed Tamimi

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RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank — The family of Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist who was imprisoned in December for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier, released footage of the teenager’s interrogation during a press conference in Ramallah today.

The released footage dates back to December 26, seven days after the teen was arrested by armed Israeli forces in the middle of the night from her home in Nabi Saleh.

Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father, told journalists that the family was able to obtain only two hours of the interrogation footage, adding that during the first 10 days of her detainment, Ahed was continuously interrogated, sometimes for 12 hours at a time.

“In the first 10 days of her interrogation, Ahed was subject to various tactics and strategies that violate international and humanitarian laws,” Bassem said.

Bassem Tamimi presents footage of his daughter’s interrogation. (Photo: Akram al Wara)

According to Bassem, Ahed, like the majority of Palestinian minors detained by Israel, was interrogated without the presence of a lawyer or guardian.

“The rounds of interrogation came after various physical and physiological tactics placed on Ahed,” he said, “including isolation, continuous transfer in the prisoner bus, and the intimidation by soldiers.”

“She was deprived of sleep for long periods of time,” Bassem said, noting that in the final round of interrogation, Ahed was running on more than 34 hours of sleep deprivation when she was interrogated.

“All of these tactics were used to try to break the symbol, the embodiment that Ahed has created through resisting the occupation,” Bassem said.

‘I hold the right to remain silent’

A full transcript of this video is available here.

Despite a number of tactics used by the Israeli interrogators to coerce Ahed into confessing to a number of charges, including stone-throwing, the teenager remained remarkably silent throughout the interrogation, which her family and legal team say was key to getting the majority of the initial 12 charges brought against her dropped.

“Ahed, who understands what it means to confront this occupation, refused through silence to even mention her name to the interrogators,” Bassem told journalists.

Throughout the two hours of interrogation footage obtained by Mondoweiss, Ahed, who is still wearing the pajamas and jacket that she was detained in, can be seen engaging with the two interrogators — a police interrogator sitting across from her behind a desk, and a military intelligence officer sitting next to her left side, his body turned directly towards her — on only a few occasions.

The intelligence officer begins by asking her how old she is, to which she simply shrugs her shoulders and pulls her face.

When asked where she lives, Ahed defiantly responds to the interrogator, saying “you know where I live.”

From then on, the extent of her minimal verbal interactions with the interrogators were limited to the teenager saying “I hold the right to remain silent.”

Throughout her interrogation, Ahed rarely acknowledges the interrogators, even non verbally.

At one point in the video, both interrogators can be seen yelling at the teenager (at the 7:21 mark in the video), threatening to arrest her friends and family, which they list out by name, if she did not speak.

Despite their threats, Ahed refuses to respond. For a few seconds, the teenager shifts in her chair and stretches her neck, seemingly indicating a sense of unease, or likely discomfort from the hours spent being berated by the interrogators, after spending two days alone in a cold cell.

Sexual harassment

Last week, Ahed’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, filed a complaint with the Israeli police alleging the teenager was exposed to “inappropriate conduct” which amounted to sexual harassment during her detention.

In an article published on April 1, the Daily Beast details the sexually charged questions and comments made by the military intelligence officer, who comments on Ahed’s appearance and attractiveness, reportedly telling her “you have eyes like an angel.”

In the footage seen by Mondoweiss, the same officer attempts to establish a rapport with Ahed, while his police colleague maintains the “bad cop” attitude, repeatedly raising his voice at Ahed and interrupting the seemingly casual intelligence officer.

As the police officer sitting behind the desk attempts to shame Ahed for her actions, the intelligence officer maintains a feigned friendly demeanor, and silences his colleague.

“Ahed, when i think of my little sister, I see her here [in front of me],” he says, gesturing to Ahed.

“My sister is blonde and her eyes are like yours not like me. Her kind…white! Like you,” the officer says, to no reaction from Ahed.

Bassem Tamimi presents footage of his daughter’s interrogation. (Photo: Akram al Wara)

Breaking out into a laugh, the officer says “really, when she goes to the beach, she’s like a hamburger,” asking Ahed if the same happens to her.

With no reaction from Ahed, the officer, still chuckling, asks “how are you in the sun?” and if she too, like his sister, turns “red, red, red.”

While his exact body stance cannot be determined due to the angle of the camera, the military officer repeatedly scoots his chair closer to Ahed, his legs seemingly spread open in front of her.

“I’m like your brother, you are like my sister, that is why I am sitting like this, not like that behind a desk,” he says, pointing to his colleague.

At several points in the video, the intelligence officer moves his hand in direction of Ahed’s legs, though because of the position of the camera, it remains unclear if he was physically touching her.

“Sexual harassment in [Israeli] interrogation and in prison is a very common tactic, the irony being this specific case of it is relatively mild,” Dawoud Yousef, Advocacy and Lobbying Coordinator at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, told Mondoweiss.

“The most common forms we see are comments on a woman’s honor, comments on a woman’s sexual relations, comments on sort of promiscuity, and unwanted advances,” Yousef said, adding that unnecessary strip searches are also used to “purely to humiliate someone and reduce their ability to resist any sort of questioning.”

“The sexual harassment we saw in Ahed’s interrogation was used as a way to make her feel completely unsafe and to get her to bend to the will of the interrogator. While Ahed was strong enough to not be bent, most children do not have this kind of resilience in these situations,” he said.

Exposing the routine violations of minors rights

Yousef, along with Ahed’s family, legal team, and other activists say that while Ahed’s case is important, it is also a reminder of the countless rights violations that Palestinian minors are subjected to in the Israeli military system.

“What we saw in Ahed Tamimi’s interrogation video was essentially textbook interrogation tactics that we see used against children,” Yousef said, adding that while Ahed was not physically abused by the interrogators, “petty beatings” are rife in Israeli interrogations of minors.

“What we saw was the attempt to strip the child of any notion of themselves, any notion of safety, any notion of integrity, and to be completely at the will of the interrogator.”

According to Yousef, close to 99% of Palestinian children that are arrested by Israeli forces, will sign confessions during coercive interrogations, without the presence of lawyers or guardians.

“We have not seen a case, at least in the military court, where that signed  confession has been excluded as evidence.”

Speaking to journalists, Bassem Tamimi expressed his pride in Ahed’s resilience, and said that her ability to remain silent during the interrogation was just another form of the teenager’s resistance against the occupation.

“Ahed’s message and the message of her generation, is that we [Palestinians] are not victims, we are fighters for our cause and for freedom,” he said.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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Akram Al-Wa'ra

Akram Al-Wa'ra is a freelance Palestinian filmmaker based in Bethlehem, Palestine.

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19 Responses

  1. Citizen on April 9, 2018, 11:11 am

    Those two guys think they are battling Goliath, but they are Goliath, the Zionist version. Ahed is David, without a slingshot, with only her girly hands.

    • silamcuz on April 11, 2018, 4:05 am

      No. Please stop using the blatantly misguided comparison between Israel/Palestine and David and Goliath.

      Goliath, to start with, was recorded to be a legitimately powerful warrior who openly used his strength and monstrous physique to win battles/wars. His strength, fighting prowess, and superhuman body was acknowledged by both allies and enemies.

      Israel is far from being legitimately powerful in any way. The illusion of power comes from the open line of support it has with the US/ US military…itself a paper tiger who only fights weak or weakened foes, and struggles to pull out wins even then. (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan).

      Secondly, Goliath challenged his foes openly and directly, and fought them in a straightforward manner like a true warrior. Israel has historically always avoided direct battles rather choosing to play dirty games like assassinations, threatening civilians, bribing their foes, and manipulating political actors into serving their (short term) interests.

      Palestine is both Goliath and David. Its has in its struggle both people of immense individual strength and might, and those who rely on their courage and mental prowess. Israel has no historical analogues because history rarely record cowards and petty criminals as anything other than nameless pests they are.

  2. on April 9, 2018, 11:23 am

    1. The link of the full transcript of the interrogation video says “page not found”.
    2. The “world’s most moral army” is nothing but a bunch of cowardly Ziofascist rats who are too scared to take a real opponent, preferring instead to take on a defenceless people, 16-year old girls, 3-year old boys, women, the elderly, and the frail. Wow, such a bunch of heroes, very impressive indeed.

    And the international community? Nothing, zilch, nada.

    • adamhorowitz on April 9, 2018, 11:29 am

      Thanks, I fixed the link. You can find the transcript here –

      • Sisyphus on April 11, 2018, 5:48 am

        Adam, Thanks for the update on Ahed Tamimi.
        A question : Was there not an Israeli leader (or, some highly placed authority) who said something along the lines of … ‘we’ll make their (Palestinians) so miserable that the’ll want to leave’. ? Do you know who (or if) someone said such a thing? Do you know what he / she actually said if such were indeed said? I vaguely recall reading something along those lines, but forget context. Thanks

    • Eva Smagacz on April 15, 2018, 7:54 am

      écrasez l’infâme,

      There are more records than can be listed, here is one of them:

      See Haaretz:

      Israeli Prime Minister After Six-Day War: ‘We’ll Deprive Gaza of Water, and the Arabs Will Leave’

      Declassified minutes of security cabinet sessions in the months after the Six-Day War show government ministers who were at a loss to deal with its implications. (….)

      The material being posted on the state archives website includes hundreds of pages of minutes from meetings of the security cabinet between August and December 1967 (…..)

      He [ Prime Minister Levi Eshkol ] said: I cannot imagine it – how we will organize life in this country when we have 1.4 million Arabs and we are 2.4 million, with 400,000 Arabs already in the country?

      One of the solutions to the new situation, according to Eshkol, was to encourage Arabs to emigrate. In this context, Eshkol told ministers he was working on the establishment of a unit or office that will engage in encouraging Arab emigration.

      He added, We should deal with this issue quietly, calmly and covertly, and we should work on finding a way for them to emigrate to other countries and not just over the Jordan [River].

      Eshkol expressed the hope that, precisely because of the suffocation and imprisonment there, maybe the Arabs will move from the Gaza Strip, adding there were ways to remove those who remained. Perhaps if we dont give them enough water they wont have a choice, because the orchards will yellow and wither, he said in this context. Another solution, he said, could be another war. Perhaps we can expect another war and then this problem will be solved.


      • Maghlawatan on April 15, 2018, 8:57 am

        Israel never had a coherent policy towards the Palestinians. Pauperisation and ever increasing doses of violence were supposed to encourage them to leave but the treatment of Palestinian refugees elsewhere made that impossible.

        Israel declared Jerusalem to be its US sanctioned capital and it was supposed to be the end of the conflict but a month or 2 later and Gaza has erupted and the idea that the Palestinians have been defeated is obviously for the birds.

  3. Maghlawatan on April 9, 2018, 11:46 am

    Bassem Tamimi is also very impressive. Resilient parents have resilient kids. Poor Israeli Jewish kids are brainwashed

  4. amigo on April 9, 2018, 1:01 pm

    Zionism and the most moral on display for all to see.

    What was that about “Light unto the nations”.It runs on a 1 watt bulb.

    I am surprised the zionist entity gave a copy of the video to her parents or was it leaked out , somehow.

  5. Maghlawatan on April 9, 2018, 1:26 pm

    Israeli interrogation is designed to intimidate Palestinians but I bet Ms Tamimi thought the 2 Jews were losers.

    • Ellen on April 15, 2018, 4:21 pm

      Not only losers but anyone who understands even rudimentary questioning of a witness would see that they are massively incompetent. This is NOT how information is gleaned. But it seems that was not the intention, but instead to harass and intimidate and punish a young woman. But to what end?

  6. chocopie on April 9, 2018, 1:55 pm

    The two goons are no match for her. She is incredible, heroic, strong. She shouldn’t have to be, but she is. Watching this, I just think Israel is doomed. I wish the whole world could see this and know her name.

  7. ritzl on April 9, 2018, 3:14 pm

    Yes Ahed, when you go to the beach do you get sunburned? (Has she ever been to the Med?)

    Occupation reinforced. End of conversation, if in fact there was a conversation to end.

    And why do I get the feeling that this vid was released to show the world how WELL Ahed al-Tamimi was being treated?

  8. CigarGod on April 9, 2018, 7:20 pm

    I think the first paragraph could be written better:

    “Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist who was imprisoned in December for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier…”…after a soldier had just shot her brother in the face permanently disabling him.

  9. Sisyphus on April 11, 2018, 6:28 am

    A question : Was there not an Israeli leader (or, some highly placed authority) who said something along the lines of … ‘we’ll make their (Palestinians) lives so miserable that they’ll want to leave’. ? Do you know who (or if) someone said such a thing? Do you know what he / she actually said if such were indeed said? I vaguely recall reading something along those lines, but forget context. Thanks

    • Keith on April 11, 2018, 10:48 am

      ECRASEZ L’INFAME- “A question : Was there not an Israeli leader (or, some highly placed authority) who said something along the lines of … ‘we’ll make their (Palestinians) lives so miserable that they’ll want to leave’. ?

      Perhaps you are thinking of Moshe Dyan’s quote: “We don’t have a solution, and you will continue living like dogs, and whoever wants will go, and will see how this procedure will work out.”

      • Sisyphus on April 11, 2018, 2:42 pm

        Thank you Keith.

      • Ellen on April 15, 2018, 4:25 pm

        So Zionists hate dogs also?

  10. Maghlawatan on April 11, 2018, 8:45 am

    This bullshit is hurting Jews all over the world.

    Zionism is out of control. Its refusal to engage fairly with the Palestinians is now  poisoning the Diaspora.

    The report says: “The rise of leftist antisemitism that supports radical Muslim anti-Israeli attitudes expressed in antisemitic terms such as in the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] and Antifa [militant anti-fascist] movements, and certainly in the UK Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn.” Many Jews in the UK were “losing their traditional political home” as a result of feeling betrayed by Labour, it adds.

    Here is more bullshit

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