Press Statement: For Immediate Release | U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)-Detroit
Media contact: Julia Kassem, USPCN-Detroit, 248.719.4250, firstname.lastname@example.org
USPCN Champions Global Call to #FreetheTamimis
On Sunday, February 18, USPCN-Detroit partnered with Black4Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace to support Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi and her family on the Global Day of Action to Free the Tamimis. Standing at the intersection of the William Dickerson Detention Facility and Oakland International Academy (a school), the Hamtramck gathering symbolized the inseparability of incarceration and militarization with childhood in Occupied Palestine and across poor communities of color in the United States. With this action, dozens joined the international call through a march down Conant with chants to free Ahed Tamimi, 17, and all Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails.
“Israel’s targeted attacks on Palestinian villages and violations of children’s human rights are a testament to its fragility,” said Julia Kassem, organizer with USPCN-Detroit and Black4Palestine. “The U.S., despite paying lip service to democracy and human rights, is unprecedented in its support for this regime. We must stop supporting Israel’s abuse of children.”
On Tuesday, December 19, 2017, the family home of then-16 year old Ahed was raided by Israeli military forces. She was promptly arrested and taken to prison in the dead of night.
As of November 2017, over 313 Palestinian children were detained in Israeli prisons. Children in occupied Palestine routinely undergo administrative detention (arrest without any charge for as many as three months, which can be renewed indefinitely), torture, and abuse in custody. Many are detained without trial and without reasonable cause.
Protesters affirmed that all prisoners in occupied Palestine are political prisoners, and called for the immediate release of Ahed Tamimi, her mother Nariman Tamimi, her cousin Muhammad Bilal Tamimi, and Muhammad’s brother and Ahed’s cousin Osama Tamimi, all of whom remain in custody. The Tamimis, arrested and detained without trial, risk facing torture, including sleep deprivation, abuse, and harsh interrogation-all known and routine practices in Israeli prisons.
As Israel feels its grip on the mounting Palestinian resistance slipping, it is waging collective punishment on the Tamimi family and their occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Protesters expressed solidarity with the Tamimi family and all Palestinian political prisoners, and called loudly for an end to Israel’s practices of child imprisonment and torture. In addition, speakers at the protest made the connection between Palestinian political prisoners and political prisoners (especially those from the Black Liberation Movement) here in the U.S., as well as calling for support for all victims of police brutality and violence.
The protest ended with USPCN calling for an end to U.S. military and financial support of Israel, and for all people of conscience to mobilize in the following ways:
Support H.R. 4391, Senator Betty McCollum’s (D-WI) Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act
Call and email representatives and senators to stop military and financial support for Israel and its occupying forces
Support calls on social media to #FreeAhedTamimi and #FreetheTamimis, and send the message that this is #NoWayToTreatAChild
U.S. Representatives’ numbers: https://www.house.gov/representatives#state-michigan
Senator Stabenow: 202-222-4821
Senator Peters: 202-224-6221