Last month, a military judge approved the prosecution’s request to remand ‘Ahed and Nariman Tamimi in custody.
The key measures that Israel is using against ‘Ahed and Nariman Tamimi are familiar – to varying degrees – from thousands of other legal cases Israel has pursued against Palestinian defendants: Violent arrest in the middle of the night, slapdash indictments and prolonged detention leading to remand in custody for the duration of the proceedings. A detainee in remand is not serving a prison sentence and must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The fact that these measures are being used against a minor magnifies the violation of human rights that is already par for the course in Israel’s treatment of hundreds of Palestinian minors: According to Israel Prison Service statistics, as of 30 November 2017, 181 Palestinian minors were being held in custody for the duration of legal proceedings in their cases.
This is standard practice in the military apparatus euphemistically known as Israel’s courts in the West Bank: On one side are the Palestinian defendants, in this case, Ahed, Noor and Nariman Tamimi, subjects of Israel’s military occupation. On the other are the prosecution and the judges, who are always military officials, i.e. part of the very system that runs the lives of all Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories. The military orders – which establish what a Palestinian can and cannot do – are all written by Israeli officers and reflect what they believe to be protection of Israeli interests, to the total exclusion of the Palestinians themselves, who are denied the ability to influence the content of the orders that dictate all aspects of their lives. This reality is what Israel’s military courts refer to as “the rule of law”.
When an entire system mobilizes to humiliate and punish a 17-year-old girl because she “has no fear”, we - the citizens in whose name this system operates - are presented with an excellent opportunity to, once again, state the obvious: If Ahed Tamimi were Jewish, the chances of her being arrested would have been negligible; only Palestinians are tried in Israel’s military courts in the West Bank; the conviction rate in these courts is almost 100 percent. Behind this carefully staged charade, cloaked in well-reasoned legal verbiage, lies one of the occupation’s most injurious apparatuses. Its goal is not to seek justice or truth, but to maintain Israeli control over the Palestinian people.