'Inciting Violence And Terrorism' Israel Arrests Prominent Palestinian Activist Ahed Tamimi

Arrest in the West Bank came even as heavy night bombings of Gaza pushed the toll in the ongoing campaign past 10,000; HRW calls for a halt to arms supplies 

'Inciting Violence And Terrorism' Israel Arrests Prominent Palestinian Activist Ahed Tamimi

Israeli forces on Monday launched a raid in the occupied West Bank. They arrested Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi for alleged social media posts which 'incited violence and terrorism'. Her family confirmed she was arrested but denied she would have made a post.

On Sunday night, Israeli soldiers raided the house of Tamimi in the village of Nabih Saleh, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Tamimi's mother, Nariman Tamimi, told The Friday Times that Israeli soldiers did not disclose the reasons for the 22-year-old's arrest. 

In a video shared on social media, Tamimi is seen being escorted by armed Israeli forces. A photo of Tamimi handcuffed next to an Israeli soldier was tweeted by Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir on Monday morning. Other accounts said she had been arrested for an Instagram post calling for violence against Israelis in the West Bank.

However, Nariman doubted the Israeli charges. Speaking with The Friday Times, she said the post attributed to Tamimi was quite unlike her. The account with the alleged post has since been blocked.

Tamimi is considered an icon of the Palestinian liberation movement. When she was 11 years old, she was pictured brandishing her fist at Israeli soldiers. At 14, she attempted to fight off Israeli soldiers who detained a boy; at 16, she was arrested and imprisoned in December 2017 for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier during a demonstration. She was released eight months later, in July 2018. Now 22, Tamimi reads law at the Birzeit University in the West Bank. 

Her arrest is believed to be a part of a campaign of raids and mass arbitrary detentions by the Israeli forces, per the Palestinian civil society organisations.

Speaking to The Friday Times, Addameer, a prisoner support and legal aid non-profit based out of Ramallah, stated that the Israeli military's refusal to disclose the charges and whereabouts of Tamimi is part of a pattern witnessed in the current wave of arrests.

Tamimi's family added that just two weeks ago, Ahed's father, Bassem, a grassroots activist, had been arrested. His exact whereabouts remain unknown to his family. However, they believe he could be imprisoned in the Ofer prison near Ramallah. Most prisoners from the West Bank are assessed to be in Ofer prison or the Anatot military camp near the occupied East Jerusalem. Detainees from Gaza are held at the "Sdeh Teiman'' military camp near Beer Al-Sabe (Beer Sheva), according to Addameer.   

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority's Commission for Detainees' Affairs and Prisoners' Society issued a statement that 70 residents of the West Bank have been arrested by Israel in the past 24 hours, including three women, Ahed Tamimi, Manal Doudin and Muntaha Taweel, the wife of administratively detained Hamas official Jamal Taweel. 
Since October 7, some 2,150 Palestinians have been arrested by the Israeli forces. The detentions in the occupied West Bank were concentrated in Jerusalem and Ramallah. Still, arrests have also been reported from Hebron, Qalqilya, Tulkarm, Jenin, and Nablus. 

Per the findings of Addameer, of the total 2,150 detainees, 60 are women, at least 28 are minors, 30 are university students, and 19 are journalists. 
Palestinian civil society organisations documenting arrests of Palestinians in the occupied territories and Israel said that they are being targeted for their social media posts while students have been expelled from academic institutions.

Quoting the Israeli Police Service (IPS), Addameer states that as of October 24, the IPS arrested at least 110 suspects simply for social media posts. Addameer reports the overall number of administrative detainees from Palestine in Israeli prisons to be 2,070. 

The Commission of Detainees Affairs and Addameer also report that since October 7, ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners has escalated, including cutting off gas and electricity supplies while preventing medical aid. 

Residents of the West Bank have been subjected to an escalation in Israeli settler violence and aggression by the forces since October 7. Per the Ministry of Health in Ramallah, 155 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, and more than 2,200 were injured. 

In the narrow Gaza Strip to the West, over 10,000 people have been killed, including over 4,000 children, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. 

On Sunday night, with telecommunications networks cut, Israel pounded the strip with a heavy barrage that witnesses said turned the night sky red.

The brunt of the attack was focused on Deir al-Balah as Israeli ground forces said they had effectively split Gaza into two. The health ministry said overnight raids killed nearly 300 people after Israeli bombs struck housing units where several families were clustered.

Stop arming conflict

Human Rights Watch on Monday urged all those countries involved in arming groups on either side of the conflict to stop in a bid to de-escalate the fighting, adding that countries providing weapons risk complicity in grave abuses.

"Israel and Palestinian armed groups have committed serious abuses amounting to war crimes during the current hostilities," a statement said, adding that Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups "deliberately killed hundreds of civilians in Israel on October 7, 2023, and took more than 200 hostage."

Israel then cut electricity, fuel, food and water to Gaza’s two million population, severely curtailing life-saving humanitarian aid in acts of collective punishment.

“Civilians are being punished and killed at a scale unprecedented in recent history in Israel and Palestine,” said Bruno Stagno, chief advocacy officer at Human Rights Watch. 

The statement comes a day after Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu called for dropping an atomic bomb on Gaza was an option to annihilate Hamas. The statement garnered vast condemnations, including from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who later suspended him.

He added that the US, Iran and other governments which were ensuring a steady supply of arms into the warzone were complicit.

Human Rights Watch told Israel's large consortium of arms suppliers, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany, to suspend military aid and arms for Tel Aviv until it stops "widespread, serious abuses amounting to war crimes against Palestinian civilians with impunity".

It pointed to war crimes committed by Israel, including collective punishment for 2.4 million Palestinians in Gaza, the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas, reducing entire blocks and large parts of neighbourhoods to rubble and raising grave concerns of indiscriminate attacks, and indiscriminately used white phosphorus, an incendiary material that burns human flesh and can cause lifelong suffering, in populated areas in Gaza and Lebanon - the latter threatens to cause the conflict to spill over in the region.

Moreover, it pointed out how the Israeli military 'ordered' 1.1 million civilians to vacate north of Gaza even though they had no safe place to evacuate to anywhere in Gaza. This order risks mass forced displacement, a war crime. Israel has also sealed its border crossings to anyone who would seek to flee. 

"Iran and other governments should cease providing arms to Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, so long as they systematically commit attacks amounting to war crimes against Israeli civilians."

Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have deliberately killed civilians, taken civilians hostage and continue to hold them, and launched thousands of rockets at Israeli communities, all of which are war crimes.

HRW, however, clarified that the current wave of violence is rooted in "years of systematic violations, including unlawful air strikes on Gaza by Israeli forces, the firing of rockets indiscriminately towards civilian communities in Israel by Palestinian armed groups, and Israel’s crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians, committed with impunity."

“How many more civilian lives must be lost, how much more must civilians suffer as a result of war crimes before countries supplying weapons to Israel and Palestinian armed groups pull the plug and avoid complicity in these atrocities?” Stagno said.

The writer is a multimedia journalist and researches human rights abuses. She hosts a show on social justice stories on Naya Daur TV.