Activists bring London commuters face-to-face with Ahed Tamimi

Just over a week after the arrest of Ahed Tamimi, posters appear at bus stops around London in solidarity with the teenager and all Palestinian prisoners.

Poster in solidarity with Ahed Tamimi, London, December 28, 2017. (@protestencil)
Poster in solidarity with Ahed Tamimi, London, December 28, 2017. (@protestencil)

Commuters across London came face-to-face with the occupation on Thursday, after local activist groups put up posters at bus stops around the city calling for the release of Ahed Tamimi. The project — conceived and executed by London Palestine Action and Protest Stencil — hit London’s streets nine days after Israeli soldiers took Ahed, 16, from her Nabi Saleh home in the middle of the night, and is the latest in a series of global protests against the arrest.

“Following Ahed’s arrest, we wanted to publicly show solidarity again — with Ahed, with the Tamimi family, with Nabi Saleh,” Leila White of London Palestine Action told +972 Magazine. “Many of those involved in London Palestine Action have been to Nabi Saleh, and have joined protests there, have marched behind Ahed and her family.”

Ahed was arrested on December 19th, a few days after video footage of her and other family members pushing and slapping soldiers outside their home in Nabi Saleh went viral. The day after Ahed’s arrest her mother, Nariman, was arrested after she went to the police station to try and accompany her daughter during her interrogation. Both women have yet to be charged with a crime, but have had their detention repeatedly extended, meaning they will spend New Year’s Even in jail.

Ahed Tamimi in the Ofer prison military court. December 20, 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)
Ahed Tamimi in the Ofer prison military court. December 20, 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Ahed’s cousin, Nur Tamimi, 21, was arrested early in the morning of December 20th. A court called for her release on bail on Thursday, although the release will be delayed by 48 hours. Another cousin, Manal Tamimi, was arrested outside Ofer prison on Thursday while protesting the detention of her relatives.

The Israeli media, as well as most Israeli politicians, have framed the incident in Nabi Saleh as an unprovoked attack on IDF soldiers. Local coverage of the events almost unanimously failed to mention that a few days prior to the filmed clash, Israeli soldiers shot Ahed’s cousin Mohammed Tamimi, 15, in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet. He remained in an induced coma for over a week, after the bullet lodged in his skull. Moreover, the village has, over the years, paid a heavy price for its protests against the occupation and against the expropriation of its natural water source by settlers from nearby Halamish.

Poster in solidarity with Ahed Tamimi, London, December 28, 2017. (@protestencil)
Poster in solidarity with Ahed Tamimi, London, December 28, 2017. (@protestencil)

In late 2011, an Israeli soldier killed Mustafa Tamimi, 28, after shooting him in the face with a tear gas canister at close range. Just under a year later, Rushdi Tamimi, 31, was shot in the back with live ammunition and died in hospital a few days later. In November 2014, Nariman Tamimi was shot in the leg with live ammunition at close range, leaving her on crutches for a year. Five months later, Manal Tamimi was also shot in the leg with a live bullet. Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father, has spent several extended periods in administrative detention for his role in leading the demonstrations in Nabi Saleh.

The focus on the arrests of the Tamimi women has also drawn attention to the broader plight of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails—an issue London Palestine Action and Protest Stencil sought to highlight in their posters. As well as wanting to signal the “strength and resistance” of the Tamimis, White said, the purpose of the project was also to call for “the release of Ahed and all Palestinian political prisoners.”

As of November 2017, Israel was holding over 6,000 Palestinians in its prisons, including over 300 children, and 59 women.