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Case Closed: Israeli Supreme Court rejects prosecutor’s attempts to reopen case against Dareen Tatour

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Four years after she was arrested by Israeli police over a poem she had written and published on social media, Dareen Tatour’s legal battles are finally over.

The Israeli Supreme Court rejected last week a petition filed by the state prosecutors that was made in an attempt to reopen the case against her.

Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was convicted of three counts of incitement and supporting a terrorist organization in May 2018, over a series of poems she published on social media. She spent three years under house arrest and months in prison before being released.

On July 1, the state petitioned the Supreme Court to review an earlier ruling by a district court that had partially acquitted Tatour of an incitement conviction regarding one specific poem, “Resist, my people resist them,” and won her a reduced sentence.

At the time, the district court said of the poem: “This doesn’t involve unequivocal remarks that would provide the basis for a direct call to carry out acts.” It said that “freedom of expression is accorded added weight when it also involves freedom of artistic and creative [expression]… and therefore the limits must be stretched to protect the right of creative freedom.”

In its appeal this summer, the prosecution argued that “even if Tatour’s poem did not constitute clear incitement to terrorism, it indirectly encouraged violent acts,” 972 Magazine reported.

Tatour was arrested  in October 2015, a time when small-scale attacks, carried out by Palestinians against Israeli armed forces were on the rise in the occupied Palestinian territory. As a result, Israeli authorities embarked on a large scale, highly criticized, arrest campaign of Palestinians for social media posts deemed as “incitement.”

On September 26, the Supreme Court rejected the prosecutor’s petition, reportedly refusing to even hold discussions on the matter on the basis that the prosecution was not presenting any new arguments or evidence that could justify filing an appeal.

“Finally, after four years of a long battle with the Israeli occupation authorities for freedom of poetry, expression and art, it has ended,” Tatour told Mondoweiss.

“Everyone should know that my victory does not mean that Israel is a democracy, but an affirmation of the racism and dictatorship of this state against the Palestinians,” she continued, saying that she “suffered a lot” because of her poetry.

Tatour thanked her lawyer Gaby Lasky and everyone that stood in solidarity with her after her arrest, which catapulted her to international recognition.

“Thank you, everyone, for believing that the poetry I write against the occupation is not a crime but a human right as an artist and a poet,” she said.

“My message to every oppressed human being, Do not give up your right no matter how much you suffer and tire of the oppressor because the truth and the truth in your heart is always the strongest of all authority.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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6 Responses

  1. Kay24 on October 4, 2019, 6:00 pm

    Good for her. The apartheid police state of Israel, keeps pretending they are “the only democracy in the Middle East”, while behaving like some others in the neighborhood. Only Americans keep believing this fake claim, or at least they pretend to go along.
    Arresting her for writing a poem about the occupation, is what the nazis might have done.

  2. just on October 4, 2019, 6:39 pm

    ““Everyone should know that my victory does not mean that Israel is a democracy, but an affirmation of the racism and dictatorship of this state against the Palestinians,” she continued, saying that she “suffered a lot” because of her poetry.”

    Thanks for saying it so clearly. No congratulations from me, only grateful that you have regained the tiny freedoms that should have never been taken away in the first place. Instead you should have always been accorded the respect, freedoms, and justice in your own land that were brutally stolen so long ago. I am so sorry this continues …

    Israel shows it ugly face over and over and over again. To ‘free’ a poet after such treatment is testament to its cruel and deliberate blindness to the Occupation and colonization and the apartheid that is Zionist Israel.

    Be well. I believe that your next poems have already blossomed. I look forward to experiencing them~ thank you.

  3. Iris Keltz on October 5, 2019, 12:39 pm

    By some divine synchronicity I had just finished reading Dareen’s poem when I saw this wonderful article about her in Mondoweiss. Please share the so-called “dangerous” poem with readers:

    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;
    (This poem continues…)
    Is this the offensive line?
    “Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.
    Pay no mind to the to the agents among us
    who chain us with the peaceful illusion.”

    It’s true the pen is mightier than the sword!

    • echinococcus on October 6, 2019, 12:26 am

      Exactly.

      Thank you, Ms Keltz, for reminding us of the words of this poem.

      Often people who praise Dareen Tatour don’t sound as if they were paying attention to these words!

      What is unclear here?

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

  4. Mayhem on October 11, 2019, 11:15 pm

    Very convenient to twist this into an issue of free artistic expression and spread the falsity that Tatour was imprisoned just for her seditious poem.

    During her trial, prosecutors had claimed the prevailing atmosphere in the country at the time of Tatour’s postings on Facebook and YouTube after the outbreak of the so-called knife intifada in 2015 was one of incitement. During this period social media emerged as a platform for Palestinian calls for violence.

    Her original indictment cited Facebook posts, including one that referred to an attempted stabbing attack in the Afula bus station. In that post, Tartour affirmed, “I am the next martyr.”

    • Talkback on October 12, 2019, 2:55 pm

      Only an state terrorist would claim that the call for resisting oppression is “incitement”. And it is rich to condemn violence by the oppressor and its supporters if this oppression can only be violently enforced. Israel’s oppression and occupation targets every single Palestinian. It targets the Palestinians as a whole. The occupation cannot be maintained without violence, terrorism and brutality against the innocent. Compared to Israel’s state terrorism Palestinian resistance and counter violence is next to nothing.

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