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Artists painting heroic mural of Ahed Tamimi on separation wall are arrested

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Israeli border police forces arrested a Palestinian man and two Italian artists next to the Israeli separation wall in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Saturday evening.

The artists, one of whom was identified as Italian citizen Jorit Agoch, have been painting a mural on the wall of imprisoned Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who is set to be released back to her home tomorrow after serving eight months in prison for slapping an Israeli soldier.

The Palestinian man arrested along with them is Mustafa al-Araj, 31, a resident of the nearby Aida refugee camp and the co-owner of a local volunteer organization. Al-Araj, recently engaged, is set to be married in 10 days.

Video of the incident, which took place around 7 pm [Noon EST] shows three armed Israeli soldiers pulling the men out of their car and searching them before putting them in handcuffs.

The soldiers then took the men into a permanent Israeli military base near the wall.

Sources told Mondoweiss that the three were transferred to an Israeli detention center for interrogation in Atarot, Jerusalem.

The Times of Israel reported:

A Border Police spokesman confirmed the arrests and said the suspects had attempted to flee in their vehicle. He added that any painting on the barrier is illegal.

As of midnight, the three were still being held in the detention center, according to sources, who added that the Italian embassy has allegedly intervened.

Israeli border police did not respond to a request for comment by Mondoweiss.

The two Italian artists have been working on the massive portrait of Tamimi for the past five days, in preparation for her widely anticipated release.

On Monday, the artists were confronted by Israeli soldiers when they began painting the mural on a portion of the wall close to the military tower.

First effort at Ahed Tamimi portrait, abandoned after soldiers told artists to move

The artists told Mondoweiss at the time that the soldiers threatened them and banned them from painting the mural in the initial location, forcing them to move several meters down the road, where the current mural sits.



Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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11 Responses

  1. annie on July 28, 2018, 6:17 pm

    “any painting on the barrier is illegal”

    what bs

    • Talkback on July 29, 2018, 2:46 am

      What do you expect, Annie? The International Court of Justice called for the dismantlement of this “barrier” and compensation of those whose property were illegaly seized for its illegal construction. But the Zionist Apartheid regime in Palestine doesn’t even allow painting over its proud symbols of institutionally cemented racism and violations against international law.

  2. chocopie on July 28, 2018, 7:40 pm

    The only democracy in the Middle East that arrests and imprisons poets and painters, playwrights and actors, cartoonists, sleeping children, teens who talk back, you name it. Medics and journalists they shoot to kill.

    • Kay24 on July 28, 2018, 10:30 pm

      Good point. They are such hypocrites. “Democracy” is only for God’s chosen.

  3. Marnie on July 29, 2018, 2:48 am

    I read the story about the artists and this beautiful painting of Ahed. She and her entire family are thorns in the sides of the occupation (may it continue) so a tribute to her is too much to bear. They yack about palestinian squares and streets named after their martyrs, but are completely disconnected from the streets, squares, schools, airport, etc., named after israeli terrorists. Scared to death of a teenager. Hoping and praying for the best for the al-Tamimi family and being reunited with Ahed today. Leave her the hell alone FFS.

  4. Marnie on July 29, 2018, 4:14 am

    Freedom of expression in ‘israel’ – oh hell no. Also, from the other side of the wall

    Israeli cartoonist fired over ‘Animal Farm’ Netanyahu caricature | World ……/israeli-cartoonist-fired-over-animal-farm-netanyahu-c…

    Cartoonist loses his job over caricature mocking Netanyahu – YouTube
    Video for cartoonist fired over netanyahu cartoon – youtube▶ 1:13

  5. Ossinev on July 29, 2018, 7:14 am

    Time for you to step up to the plate Banksy.

  6. msmoore on July 29, 2018, 12:54 pm

    Small matter, I suppose, but that’s an awfully westernized representation of her.

    • gamal on July 29, 2018, 2:45 pm

      “that’s an awfully westernized representation of her”

      “and two Italian artists”

      small matter, what are you saying?

  7. Tom Suarez on July 29, 2018, 2:10 pm

    …any painting on the barrier is illegal.
    Did the Border Police spokesman actually keep a straight face when he said this?

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