Israel arrests artists behind Ahed Tamimi mural on separation wall | +972 Magazine Israel arrests artists behind Ahed Tamimi mural on separation wall

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Israel arrests artists behind Ahed Tamimi mural on separation wall

Israeli police rejoice after arresting two Italians and a Palestinian who painted a giant mural of Ahed Tamimi on the separation wall in Bethlehem.

A man paints a mural of Palestinian Ahed Tamimi on a part of the West Bank separation wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, July 25, 2018. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

A man paints a mural of Palestinian Ahed Tamimi on a part of the West Bank separation wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, July 25, 2018. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Two Italian citizens and one Palestinian were arrested by Israeli Border Police officers on Saturday after graffitiing a portrait of Ahed Tamimi, who was released from prison the following day, on part of the West Bank separation barrier in Bethlehem.

Tamimi served eight months behind bars for slapping an Israeli soldier.

Following the arrest, the Israel Police Spokesperson announced that the “Border Police views every attempt to harm or vandalize the wall with great severity, whether by drawing on it or causing physical damage. We will act to the extent necessary to arrest the offenders and bring them to justice.”

The statement included a photo of two of the artists arrested:

A photo released by the Israel Police Spokesperson of the graffiti artists arrested for painting a mural of Ahed Tamimi on the separation wall. (Israel Police Spokesperson)

A photo released by the Israel Police Spokesperson of the graffiti artists arrested for painting a mural of Ahed Tamimi on the separation wall. (Israel Police Spokesperson)

The section of the separation wall chosen by the artists, located on the edge of Bethlehem near Rachel’s Tomb, is one of the most popular with graffiti artists and tourists alike. This is the same section that Banksy chose for his first few drawings; years later he would open the Walled Off Hotel in the same area.

But when it comes to painting the face of a young Palestinian woman who offended the sensibilities of the occupation when she slapped an armed soldier in her family home shortly after her cousin was shot in the head by the IDF. As if it wasn’t enough to imprison her for eight months, now Border Police officers are being sent to chase down artists whose only crime is daring to paint her portrait on a cement wall.

Suffice it to say that the decision to arrest the three was politically motivated. After all, just a few meters from Ahed’s portrait is a giant mural of President Donald Trump, which no one was arrested for.

The police’s jubilation at capturing the dangerous graffiti artists is reminiscent of the days of the First Intifada, during which soldiers were sent to paint over graffiti of Palestinian flags, climbed up electricity polls to confiscate flags, and in many cases to force Palestinians themselves to get rid of their national flags.

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    1. Ben

      Make sure to arrest the artistic “offenders and bring them to justice.” “The police’s jubilation at capturing the dangerous graffiti artists is reminiscent of the days of the First Intifada….”

      Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Then, when peaceful expression and protest is ruthlessly squelched, and violence erupts or is deliberately engineered by Israel, Israelis will sigh and say “tsk tsk, those violent Palestinians, whatever can we do?, we are so helpless.” At the same time, as Noam Sheizaf has convincingly argued, violence is all Israelis ever really listen to and if there is no violence they shrug and contentedly go on about their business as if there is no occupation:

      By Noam Sheizaf |Published March 11, 2016
      Why do we only listen to violence?
      https://972mag.com/why-do-we-only-listen-to-violence/117773/

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    2. Ben

      At the same time, this Ahed Tamimi is different, something else, and Israel knows it. As Michael Omer-Man and Dahlia Sheindlin tweeted,

      “Without taking anything away from Ahed, it is the Israeli army that turned her into a global symbol. And it is the IDF that is making sure the world keeps seeing her that way. … It’s as the Israeli army cannot help but to keep proving, over and over again, just how powerful a symbol it thinks Ahed Tamimi is.” (Omer-Man)

      “When you have to arrest children & graffiti artists it’s a sure sign u know yr policy is bankrupt, facing collapse (1 day).” (Scheindlin)

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    3. How to focus more attention on her !

      Reply to Comment