The NY4Palestine coalition organized a demonstration on Friday, 22 December in Manhattan’s Union Square to demand freedom for detained Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi and fellow Palestinian child prisoners, including detained boy Abdul-Khalik Burnat. The protest highlighted the attack on the Tamimi family, including the detentions of Ahed’s mother, Nariman Tamimi, and cousin, Nour Tamimi. The Tamimi women are leaders in the indigenous anti-colonial Palestinian resistance in the village of Nabi Saleh, where they organize to defend the agricultural village’s land and water from frequent attacks by Zionist occupation soldiers and settlers.
Ahed’s arrest by Israeli occupation forces for protesting against the shooting of her 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi and pushing occupation soldiers from her family’s land has sparked widespread Palestinian and international outrage. Dozens of organizations signed on to a collective call to action that demanded freedom for Ahed and the over 300 Palestinian child prisoners in Israeli jails. Every year, nearly 700 Palestinian kids are brought before Israeli military court and dozens have been jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention orders in the past several years.
The protest was joined by organizers from many groups, including NYC Students for Justice in Palestine, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, American Muslims for Palestine, the International Action Center, the Palestinian Youth Movement, US Palestinian Community Network, the ANSWER Coalition, Labor for Palestine, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, BAYAN USA, Stony Brook Students for Justice in Palestine, Workers World Party, Decolonize This Place, Adalah NY and Jewish Voice for Peace. Participants also included members of the Tamimi family living in New York:
A number of speakers from many organizations addressed the speakout, which was emceed by Nerdeen Kiswani of NYC SJP. Speakers included artist Moana of Mahina Movement, who just returned from Palestine, where she worked artistically with the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp. Participants chanted for freedom for the prisoners and justice for Palestine. “There is only one solution – Intifada! Revolution!” “Resistance is justified when people are occupied!” “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”
Joe Catron, the US Coordinator of Samidoun, spoke on behalf of the organization. “Ahed Tamimi is one of over 6,000 Palestinian political priosners interned by the racist, illegitimate Zionist so-called State of Israel, from Khader Adnan, who is back on hunger strike once again, to Nael Barghouthi, the longest held Palestinian prisoner,” saluting their resistance and resilience and the example of Ahed in self-defense in defense of her family, land and people.
A few far-right Zionist counterprotesters from the Jewish Defense League appeared at the protest to hold signs cheering for U.S President Donald Trump and reading “Jail Ahed.” The JDL is infamous for its racism as well as its violence; a JDL member was recently indicted in Washington, DC for a hate attack on a Palestinian man protesting AIPAC and the JDL was implicated in the assassination of Arab American community leader Alex Odeh. They attempted to provoke and taunt protesters by calling for the imprisonment of Palestinian children and shouting “God bless Trump.”
Full videos of the rally and speakers are below, by NYC Students for Justice in Palestine: