Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi has been jailed for eight months for kicking and slapping a heavily armed IDF soldier in the front yard of her family home in the occupied West Bank.
Her trial, in which she faced charges of incitement and assault, began last month in a military court. Her lawyer told media that she had agreed to a lesser sentence under a plea-bargaining arrangement. Inflated charges, which rarely amount to anything more than legitimate resistance to occupation, are a common feature of Israel’s policy of military deterrence.
Ahed’ s widely publicised face slap of a soldier on her family’s property came as she learned of her seriously injured (and likely permanently disfigured) fifteen-year-old cousin who was shot in the head at close range with a rubber bullet for protesting nearby settlement expansion.
The Delegation wishes to once again spotlight the illegal detention of Palestinian children by the Israeli occupation forces, including their reprehensible trials by military courts. Article 40 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child states: ‘Children who are accused of breaking the law should receive legal help. Prison sentences for children should only be used for the most serious offences’. The arrest and trial of Ahed Tamimi remind us of not only the 315 Palestinian minors currently languishing in Israeli prisons and detention centers, but also of the reasons for their sentencing. Imprisoning children for ‘crimes’ that amount to nothing more than resisting or humiliating the occupation forces (such as stone throwing or Ahed’ s kicking and slapping of a trespassing IDF soldier) is in direct violation of this convention to which Israel is a signatory.
We call on the Australian government to take a clear legal and moral stand by unequivocally condemning Ahed’ s imprisonment as an unacceptable violation of international law.