Scales for Justice

Working towards peace and reconciliation

Arrest campaign against women from Nabi Saleh

Scales for Justice (S4J) has sent a joint urgent appeal to several UN Special Procedures, following an unacceptable wave of reprisals and the arrests of several members of the Tamimi family in the village of Nabi Saleh, Palestine. Among those arrested are 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, her mother Nariman Tamimi, her 21-year-old cousin Nour Tamimi as well as prominent activist Manal Tamimi. The father, Bassem Tamimi was called for interrogation. This is the first time , that several members of one family have been arrested at the same time.

Background: Since years the 600 villagers of Nabi Saleh are struggling against the illegal confiscation of their lands by settlers and particularly its water spring. Ever since the protests started, the village is raided almost every day by Israeli forces and many villagers, particularly youths, have been arrested and spent months in detention. The reprisals have become particulalry severe, following US President Donald trum's decision, to declare Jerusalem the capital of Palestine.  

16-year old Ahed Tamimi

On Tuesday 19 December 2017, 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi was arrested around 3:00 AM during a night raid. The arrest is related to a video spread across social media of her slapping an Israeli soldier on Friday 15 December 2017. In the video Ahed can be heard telling two soldiers blocking the entrance to her home to leave. When they do not move, she approaches them. The soldiers do not react, yet when one of them shoves Ahed, she blows a fuse and starts to slap and kick them. Another woman and a girl join the scene, the soldiers still don’t show a reaction.

Ahed’s reaction must be understood against two incidents occurring the same day: Shortly before, during a protest against US President Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, Ahed’s 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, had been shot at short range by Israeli soldiers with a rubber bullet into his face. The bullet entered his face below his nose and broke his jaw before getting lodged into his skull. The boy had to undergo a six-hour operation and was placed into a medically induced coma. This sparked protests all over the village, following which soldiers raided the village and broke among others into Ahed’s family home, confiscating laptops and mobile phones.

The Israeli public did not show any compassion for the girl. After the video went viral and caused a public controversy, embarrassing the pride of the army a public witch-hunt began. Obviously to accommodate the right-wing public, Israeli officials threatened to retaliate against her and her family. “Everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them, will not escape from what they deserve,” said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman shortly after her arrest. Education Minister Naftali Bennett said during a radio interview, Ahed Tamimi should be jailed for life. “In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”, journalist Ben Caspit wrote in an article on Tuesday.

A first hearing against Ahed was held on Wednesday, 21 December 2017. The detention was first extended until Monday, 25 December 2017, then again for another 4 days until Thursday 28 December 2017. On Thursday the prosecution was granted another 5 days to file an indictment, which was presented on Monday 1 January 2018. Ahed is now officially indicted with 12 different charges, including assaulting security forces and throwing stones. The next hearing regarding the prosecution's request to keep her in detention will take place on Monday 8 January 2018.

Ahed has been transferred to different detention centers in an obvious attempt to break her will. She had to spend her first night in the infamous Moscobiyeh detention center in West Jerusalem inside a cold isolation cell. Currently she is held in HaSharon prison in northern Israel, in a clear breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibiting an occupying power to transfer protected persons outside occupied territories. The number of imprisoned children has increased over the last few months, reaching over 300 children in Israeli prisons.

Nariman,Nour and Manal Tamimi

On Tuesday 19 December, several hours after Ahed’s arrest, her mother, Nariman Tamimi, travelled to the Binyamin detention center, where Ahed was being held. She wanted to check on her daughter’s condition and be present during the interrogation. She was arrested upon arrival and ever since is held in detention. Israeli authorities are accusing Nariman of "incitement". The judge stated her case might be connected to other offenses, and is suspected of other charges not yet presented to her, Haaretz  reported. She is still being held in HaSaron detention center inside Israel, seperated from her minor daughter, whom she wanted to protect. An indictment was filed on 1 January 2018. Nariman is indicted with 5 charges including incitement on social media and assault. The next hearing regarding the prosecution's request to keep her in detention will take place on Monday 8 January 2018.

Early Wednesday 20 December 2017, also Ahed’s 21-year old cousin and student of journalism, Nour Tamimi, was arrested during a raid on her home on suspicion of being involved in Friday’s incident. She is accused of assaulting a soldier. Nour's father said during an interview that the threats his family has received from Israelis have left him anxious and concerned about Nour's safety in prison. On Thursday 28 December 2017, the judge decided release Nour on probation and 5000 Shekel bail should during the coming 48 hours, unless the prosecution opposes the decision. The decision was however overthrown. On Sunday, 31 December 2017 an indictment was filed and the judge decided to keep Nour in investigative detention for additional 100 days.

On Thursday, 28 December 2017, Ahed’s aunt, prominent activist Manal Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, has also been arrested during a protest in front of Ofer military court. Manal’s arrest was filmed by her husband, Bilal Tamimi. Manal is charged with participation in an illegal demonstration, obstructing the army's work and assaulting a female soldier, yet it is rather clear that she is directly targeted for her prominent role. On Wednesday 3 January 2018 Manal was released on bail of 2000 NIS. After her release Manal Tamimi stated that the arrest had been one of the worst experiences  she had ever been through. Soldiers had clearly singled her out during the protest and he had never expected to be arrested during a women protest. She was captured only five minutes after the beginning of the protest and soldiers didn't follow any other girl except her. The interrogation later made clear that the arrest had been a set-up, everything had been prepared in advance, Manal Tamimi stated. Soldiers told her she would stay imprisoned for a very long time and one female soldier hit her so badly into her face that she needed medical treatment for the injury. The multiple transfers to different hearings and interrogations together with the long waiting times inside cold cells have further left her ill and with a weak health condition.

International law

The treatment of Ahed Tamimi and the public witch-hunt against her are in serious violation of article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is signatory, stating that “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”; that any arrest, detention or imprisonment “shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”, as well as that every child deprived of liberty shall be treated “with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”. Her case stands symbolic for over 300 children currently languishing in Israeli jails. Their number has increased over the past months.

The arrests of Nariman, Nour and Manal Tamimi must further be seen as collective punishment, as prohibited under international humanitarian law in all circumstances. It is further clear that the arrests are an attempt to deter the women from Nabi Saleh from exercising their legitimate right to demand justice and freedom for their family and protesting the illegal occupation of their lands. The transfer of all women to HaSharon prison inside Israel further violates article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Recalling that in its General Comment no. 32 on article 14 of the ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee noted that the trial of civilians in military or special courts may raise serious problems as far as the equitable, impartial and independent administration of justice is concerned and the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary establish that everyone is entitled to be tried by ordinary courts,

The UN must

  • Remind Israel of its obligations under international law to protect the right of the child, guarantee the right to freedom of expression and not deprive anybody arbitrarily of his/ her liberty 
  • Use all diplomatic means to demand freedom for Ahed, Nariman, Nour and Manal Tamimi, particularly with regards to the right of the child
  • Urge Israeli authorities to end the systematic harassment of the activists in Nabi Saleh
  • Follow the cases closely and send observers to the trials and hearing

Please sign the petitions by Code Pink and Avaaz demanding Ahed's release

The appeal is signed by

Scales for Justice (S4J), Switzerland  

Code Pink, women for peace, USA

Youth Against Settlements (YAS), Palestine

Albertville Jourdain Vallée Solidarité, France

Palestine American League, California USA

BDS Nederland, Netherlands

Collectif 69 (collective of 30 associations), France

Staat van beleg, Netherlands

Stichting Diensten en onderzoek centrum Palestina

Een Ander Joods Geluid, A Different Jewish Voice, Netherlands

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Vereniging Palestijnse Jongeren in Nederland

The Rights Forum, Netherlands

Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), UK