Palestinian teenager faces prison for resisting occupation

Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian activist from the village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, will be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for slapping and shoving an Israeli soldier, if found guilty by a military tribunal.

She was arrested at 4am on 19 December, hours after a video was released to the Israeli public showing Ahed and her sister ejecting two soldiers from the courtyard of their family home.

Calls for revenge against her immediately followed, Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman promising that “everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve”.

For the right wing media, Ahed was the aggressor and her actions were a “provocation”. But earlier in the day, Israeli soldiers had shot her 14-year-old cousin Muhammed in the head with a rubber bullet.

The soldiers at Ahed’s house did not respond with immediate force against a Palestinian woman refusing to submit to Israeli authority. For that “error”, they were accused of shaming the nation.

Ahed’s arrest was the military’s response to this criticism, and a video of it soon appeared on its Hebrew Twitter account (but, notably, not the English-language account).

Ahed’s situation is commonplace. The Israeli military detains on average two Palestinian teens a night, and Ahed is one of more than 450 Palestinians held in indefinite “administrative detention”.

Her mother Nariman and sister Nour have also since been arrested and charged. They will soon face one of the Israeli military courts, known for their nearly 100 percent conviction rate and flagrant disregard for due process.

As with other Palestinian prisoners, her crime was daring to resist the occupation. Her punishment is part of the ongoing collective punishment of the Palestinian people for refusing to abandon their goal of liberation.

Tamimi family members have been targeted because they are known around the world. The political motive is barely concealed: Ahed and her mother face charges of “incitement” for broadcasting the realities of occupation and encouraging protest.

Israel’s allies have followed its lead in censoring the Tamimis. For example, the Australian government last year refused to grant a travel visa to Ahed’s father, Bassem Tamimi, when he was invited to speak in Australia by several Palestine solidarity groups and Socialist Alternative. Ahed was similarly denied entrance to the United States early last year.

They are right to fear Ahed Tamimi. Her resistance is an inspiration to all who are fighting for a better world. For Ahed and for all the oppressed, Maya Angelou’s words are relevant:

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Read more
Bans versus strikes at Sydney Uni
Alma Torlakovic

There has been a vigorous argument over the direction of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) industrial campaign at Sydney University this year. Most recently, those who have been reluctant to argue and organise seriously for frequent enough and long enough strikes are now leading the charge for a “smarter” strategy of administration bans. 

Plasterboard workers strike
Adam Bottomley

In late August, around 50 union members at Knauf plasterboard held a meeting in their Melbourne factory to discuss recent EBA negotiations, which had begun a few months earlier. A new HR manager insisted on attending the meeting and wasted people’s time explaining the wonderful job that company management had done taking care of the workers, in particular their recent and significant safety concerns. As he spoke, one after another the workers turned their backs on him. Soon, they began challenging the manager about a worker who had just been sacked.

The stolen revolution: Iran in 1979
The stolen revolution: Iran in 1979
Priya De

Minoo Jalali was among those who resisted Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power in Iran. In the early months of 1979, she joined a mass women’s protest against the compulsory wearing of the hijab in public. “That revolution was inevitable”, Jalali recounted 40 years later in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “Nobody could have really stopped the force of it. We hoped that we could steer it [but] we were wrong. And the clergy hijacked it ... and deceived many people.”

‘We are all Mahsa’: riots shake Iran
Riots shake Iran
Bella Beiraghi

Protests and riots have spread across Iran after a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, was murdered by the morality police. Amini was visiting the capital, Tehran, on 13 September when she was arrested for allegedly breaking mandatory veiling laws. Police beat her into a coma and she died three days later. Amini was buried in her hometown of Saqqez.

Reform or revolution?
Tom Bramble

The international working-class movement has long been divided between two strategies to win socialism: the reformist and the revolutionary.

The strategic value of students
Sandra Bloodworth

Revolutionary Marxists argue that socialism is possible only if the working class leads a revolution. So why organise among students?