A Palestinian teen, Ahed Tamimi, was sent hundreds of birthday wishes from young, United States Jews before her trial in Israeli military court. The teen, just 17, received support as she faces 12 counts of assaulting security forces.
There were nearly a dozen activists delivering letters to the girl’s father Bassem. She received 700 letters in total with birthday wishes and notes of solidarity. The girl’s story sparked outrage as protests erupted at Israeli consulates in the Eastern United States.
Hailed a hero by many, she is seen hitting an Israel Defense Forces soldier in a video from December.
The incident occurred when a stone-throwing incident escalated and resulted in Tamimi’s cousin being shot by Israeli forces. She is facing charges of assault for slapping and kicking a soldier. She is also charged for statements she made on video that show support for rock throwing, martyrdom and stabbings.
Jewish demonstrations, consisting of mainly younger Jewish kids, took place in Boston, New York and Washington. The letters she received show support for Tamimi and speak of outrage over West Bank Control.
Tamimi’s request to be released while awaiting trial was denied by Military Judge Maj. Haim Baliti. The judge noted that freedom of expression doesn’t permit violence. The charges she faces are throwing objects at a person, obstructing a soldier, incitement, threatening a soldier and assault of a soldier.
Her mother has also been detained due to her role in filming the incident. She is accused of incitement on social media.
This isn’t the first time Tamimi made headlines. Two years ago, she was seen biting a soldier that was trying to arrest her brother. She was also awarded by Turkey in 2012, when she would have been just 11 years old, after a video surfaced of her confronting Israeli soldiers.
Tamimi’s father was handed a book containing 700 notes from Jewish kids in the United States. The notes contain uplifting messages, such as “you do not belong in jail, you belong with family & community, I am inspired to hear your words & see your story.”
Her trial has since begun with the trial being heard behind closed doors. Her trial began on Tuesday and is expected to be months-long. Journalists that gathered outside of the base were ejected under a judge’s order. Tamimi’s lawyer’s request to allow the media at the proceedings was rejected.
She is facing 12 charges now with some charges dating back to 2016. Activists fear that she may spend years in prison. The case has been adjourned until March.
Culture Minister Miri Regev states “she is not a little girl, she is a terrorist.”
Human-rights investigators for the United Nations have called on Israel to free Tamimi from jail during her trial. Israel has been warned that keeping Tamimi in jail during her trial is a violation of her rights under international law.
Investigators are also demanding that her trial be held in public view rather than behind closed doors.
Palestine figures suggest that 500 – 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted in military courts each year.