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Israel sentences Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour to 5 months in prison over poem

Israel/Palestine
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An Israeli district court sentenced Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, 36, to five months in prison and a six-month suspended sentence on Tuesday for posting a poem she wrote to social media in 2015. 

Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the Galilee, was convicted of three counts of incitement and supporting a terrorist organization last May after a lengthy trial. Prior to sentencing, Tatour had spent nearly three years under house arrest, during which she was banned from publishing and accessing the internet.

During the hearing prosecutors focused on a video posted to social media of Tatour reciting an original poem titled “Resist, my people resist them,” against backdrop images of violent confrontations between Palestinian and Israeli armed forces.  

The indictment against Tatour included a full Hebrew translation of Tatour’s poem, which her attorney argued mistranslated the original Arabic word for a “victim” to a “terrorist” from a stanza that was raised repeatedly during the hearing:

“Cast them aside for a coming time./Resist, my people, resist them./Resist the settler’s robbery/And follow the caravan of martyrs.”

Tatour was arrested by Israeli police in October 2015, a time when small-scale attacks, particularly stabbings, carried out by Palestinians against Israeli armed forces were on the rise in the occupied Palestinian territory.

At the time Israel launched a crackdown on alleged “online incitement” by Palestinians.

While Israeli leadership has boasted that the severe security measures and “Facebook arrests” have succeeded in reducing the trend of small-scale attacks against Israelis, a 2016 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that the decline in  support for such attacks were “due, it seems, to a rising perception in its inefficacy.”

Yoav Haifawi writing for Mondoweiss last week pointed out that even in its indictment against Tatour, the prosecution made a point to stress that during the period of Tatour’s post “many attacks were carried out against Israeli Jewish citizens”.

Tatour, her defense team, and supporters have argued that Israeli authorities grossly and intentionally misinterpreted her poem as a call for violence against the state, something Tatour has vehemently denied.

In an interview with Kim Jensen, Tatour said that her trial has led her to become “even more committed to liberating my people and my homeland from injustice and occupation.”

“The goal is to arrive at a state that includes everyone, based on the principles of justice and equality, without any concessions of our rights as Palestinian people living in the homeland in which we were born,” she said.

Following Tatour’s conviction, her lawyer Gaby Lasky, who also represents 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, said she planned on filing an appeal.

How weak is Israeli democracy that today the court in Nazareth decided to convict the young poet Dareen Tatour for a poem she wrote. We will appeal to a decision after a sentence has been handed down,” Lasky posted on Twitter last May

Haaretz reported in April 2017 that Israeli forces detained at least 400 Palestinians in less than a year over social media activity, and that 400 others were detained for the same reason by the Palestinian Authority through its policy of security coordination with Israel.

In contrast, the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh documented in 2017 that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users — without a single case being opened against an Israeli.

In a statement on Tuesday, 7amleh condemned Tatour’s sentencing, saying that her conviction “comes in the context of systematic attacks on Palestinian freedom of expression online by the Israeli government.”

“The Israeli government has arrested hundreds of Palestinians in the past years, with the aim of intimidation and allegedly prevent any act of resistance to the policies of the illegal occupation and to prevent freedom of speech regarding the occupation, both in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel,” the group said.

About Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is a multimedia freelance journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. You can find her on twitter @yumna_patel.

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15 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    July 31, 2018, 1:28 pm

    a Palestinian citizen of Israel

    no such thing now

    Zionism is insane

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      August 1, 2018, 10:41 am

      @Maghlawatan

      “Zionism is insane.” Precisely!!

      To further state the obvious, It is and always has been fascistic.

      To wit:
      The entity known as “Israel” has always differentiated between citizenship and nationality, i.e., “Israeli” nationality does not exist, only Jews and non-Jews, and each citizen carries an appropriate identity card. While the implications of this absurdity for discrimination and racism against non-Jews are obvious, it has been upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court.

      The effect of Israel’s blatantly racist “Citizenship Law” and more than fifty other restrictions Arab citizens have to endure is well expressed by writer and Knesset member, Ahmed Tibi: “…dutifully defining the state [of Israel] as ‘Jewish and democratic,’ ignores the fact that in practice ‘democratic’ refers to Jews, and the Arabs are nothing more than citizens without citizenship.’” (Ma’ariv, 1.6.2005)

      Adi Ophir, professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University: “…the adoption of the political forms of an ethnocentric and racist nation-state in general, are turning Israel into the most dangerous place in the world for the humanity and morality of the Jewish community, for the continuity of Jewish cultures and perhaps for Jewish existence itself.” (1998 issue of “Theory and Criticism,” published in Israel)

      Ilan Pappe, then professor of political science at Haifa University: “[Israel’s] political system [is] exclusionary, a pro forma democracy – going through the motions of democratic rule but essentially being akin to apartheid or Herenvolk (‘master race’) democracy.” (“Jerusalem Report,” Feb. 14/2000)

  2. eljay
    eljay
    July 31, 2018, 1:30 pm

    The “Jewish State” of Israel – praised as a “moral beacon”, a “light unto the nations”, a “Western-style democracy” and a “progressive paradise” – is determined never to stop proving to the world that it isn’t quite as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hellholes”, 19th-century America, China, et cetera.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      August 1, 2018, 4:46 am

      Tunisia has a better democracy than Israel.
      Imagine. Arabs know how to do it.

      The deeper Israel goes into psychosis the more incoherent the hasbara becomes

      Chaos or coherence….

  3. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 31, 2018, 3:04 pm

    No coverage in US cable tv news. What do organization representing poets, literature, arts have to say, anything at all?

    I found this: On August 25, 2017, PEN America organized an event in New York, Distant Lives, Forbidden Voices, which highlighted the work of Dareen Tatour, among other writers at risk for their expression. Additionally, there was a solidarity event for Tatour held in Jaffa, Israel, on August 30. Israel’s Ministry of Culture called for a hearing to reduce funding for the Jaffa Theatre, site of the event.

  4. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 31, 2018, 3:10 pm

    Here, the poet Tariq al Haydar translates Tatour’s words into English:

    Resist, My People, Resist Them
    Resist, my people, resist them.

    In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows

    And carried the soul in my palm

    For an Arab Palestine.

    I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”

    Never lower my flags

    Until I evict them from my land.

    I cast them aside for a coming time.

    Resist, my people, resist them.

    Resist the settler’s robbery

    And follow the caravan of martyrs.

    Shred the disgraceful constitution

    Which imposed degradation and humiliation

    And deterred us from restoring justice.

    They burned blameless children;

    As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,

    Killed her in broad daylight.

    Resist, my people, resist them.

    Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.

    Pay no mind to his agents among us

    Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.

    Do not fear doubtful tongues;

    The truth in your heart is stronger,

    As long as you resist in a land

    That has lived through raids and victory.

    So Ali called from his grave:

    Resist, my rebellious people.

    Write me as prose on the agarwood;

    My remains have you as a response.

    Resist, my people, resist them.

    Resist, my people, resist them.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      July 31, 2018, 5:05 pm

      Thank you so much, Citizen.

      Obviously she got persecuted, not for “incitement” but for expressing in writing the widespread, deep reaction of what is probably the majority of her people, the request that gets continually obscured by the liberals’ “binational” or “two state” stuff, both agreeable to the realistic Zionists:

      For an Arab Palestine.
      I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”
      Never lower my flags
      Until I evict them from my land.

      • Joshua Laskin
        Joshua Laskin
        August 1, 2018, 9:32 am

        “Them”, clearly and specifically refers to settlers and colonialists; while those (few) Jews who want a binational state, are, by definition, neither of those. In the long run, binationalism is indeed the ‘realistic’ path, to a sustainable homeland for Israeli Jews, as an equal community, sharing, with that of the Palestinians, the whole of Palestine. There’s nothing in the poem, indicating that the enemy are all/any Jews, per se. She calls for an Arab Palestine; but not, necessarily, exclusively so. Though, naturally, Jews who want an exclusively Jewish land, will read their own terrorism into her resistance.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 1, 2018, 12:36 pm

        Laskin,

        “Them”, clearly and specifically refers to settlers and colonialists; while those (few) Jews who want a binational state, are, by definition, neither of those

        A colonial settler is an invader squatting the land without formal authorization from its collective of legitimate inhabitants. The criterion is not subjective wishes, by any stretch. “Invader” in no dictionary is defined by “wanting a binational state” or not. By definition, a colonial settler can be a colonial settler who wants Apartheid or also a colonial settler “who wants a binational state”.

        Those (few) Ottoman Jews who lived in Palestine before the Zionists announced their hostile intent to invade and subvert the sovereignty, in 1897, were either Arabs or among the traditional local minorities and they would be naturally considered local.

        Justice means restitution. Not giving equal or “equal” rights to invaders. Again, that has nothing to do with subjective feelings.

        Very theoretically, either 1-state or 2-state may have to be an acceptable compromise in the face of overwhelming USZionist power. This, however, has nothing to do with justice, see above. But then, anyone who imagines that the Zionists will make any compromise as long as the Zionist entity is alive hasn’t been paying attention. This is because the minority of realistic Zionists is small. By “realistic Zionists” I mean the invaders who understand that the only way to continue squatting longterm on conquered land is either a “2-state” separation, or a South Africa-like equal rights state (very laudable and beautiful idea, but where the invaders still are invaders.)

        We’re talking about the deep feelings of an invaded people here, about justice. It would be quite surprising if they were so different from past cases in history –and everything suggests it isn’t. It’s so futile to try to make that disappear by sophistry.

    • gamal
      gamal
      July 31, 2018, 5:40 pm

      “Tariq al Haydar”

      the guy who took Jamaica Kincaids “Girl” and wrote “Citizen” for Saudi Arabia

      “When they announce the beginning of Ramadan, drive your mother or wife to the market to buy sambosa dough, barley and raspberry syrup

      Express Pledge fealty to your superiors

      Offer dates to guests

      Acquire the required signatures in order to complete your transaction; follow the steps described on the ministry’s website, because, as you have been told, there can be no argument in the presence of the text

      Refrain from saying the wrong thing so people don’t assume that you are the criminal you are intent on becoming

      Identify your female relatives when called upon

      This is how you address someone who matters; this is how you speak to a regular Saudi; this is how you speak to a South Asian; this is how you speak to a strange woman; this is how you speak to your own women in the presence of strange men, so as not to incur injury to your manhood; this is how you address someone whose importance you are unable to discern

      Refrain from visiting suspicious websites”

      https://fourwayreview.com/citizen-by-tariq-al-haydar/

      i appreciate his use of redaction, keeping it real.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      August 1, 2018, 12:34 am

      I’ve seen some poems for which five years would be a light punishment, but that one doesn’t seem at all bad. (Might be even better in the Arabic original.)

      But the aim of the Israeli authorities is to silence dissent, not to improve the standards of Arabic poetry.

  5. chocopie
    chocopie
    August 1, 2018, 12:55 am

    Jailing someone for a poem! That’s Israel.

  6. Marnie
    Marnie
    August 1, 2018, 2:29 am

    The 24/7 shit show that is otherwise known as the ‘state of israel’ once again demonstrates there is no peaceful way for palestinians to protest. So be it.

  7. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    August 1, 2018, 4:37 am

    Zionism is like the GOP. Nowhere near the centre. An outlier.
    Which means that from inside people have to start questioning why no flags, why no poems, why no rights are permissible. The cognitive dissonance is too great to paper over with smoch alai/trust me.

  8. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    August 1, 2018, 2:18 pm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordechai_Gebirtig

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_is_Burning

    If she had been in Gaza and sighted in one of the peaceful protests then she might have been allocated to a most moral sniper as his daily kill ration.

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