Ahed Tamimi, the notorious Palestinian teen provocateur, was last week indicted by an Israeli court for throwing rocks and attacking Israeli soldiers during a violent protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.
Many have since lauded Ms Tamimi, with some even absurdly referring to her as a modern-day Joan of Arc. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said she was merely “standing up for her rights”, while Al Jazeera asked “Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?”
Well, for starters, Malala, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was shot in the head in a singular act of courage for defying the Taliban in Pakistan to demand that girls be allowed to receive education.
Ms Tamimi is no such saint.
In fact, Ms Tamimi and her entire family have a history as renowned provocateurs, including some with actual blood on their hands.
One of Ms Tamimi’s cousins, for example, received sixteen life sentences over her role in directing the deadly 2001 Sbarro Pizzeria massacre in Jerusalem.
Violence and provocation seemingly runs in the Tamimi blood, as even Ahed Tamimi’s mother has been indicted for violence.
Urged on by her parents, Ahed Tamimi miraculously seems to appear whenever the cameras start rolling, trying to manipulate the media and provoke Israeli soldiers to create some viral video.
This girl should be given an Oscar for “Best Actress Starring in a Fake Protest”, not lauded as a hero or symbol of resistance.
It is important to note that the Israeli soldiers were only in Nabi Saleh to stop a violent Palestinian riot following President Trump’s December 6 announcement recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In this case, the soldiers acted with the utmost restraint and professionalism. They could have easily succumbed to Ms Tamimi’s trap and arrested her on the spot.
That the Palestinians and their enablers in the international community seek to lionise Ms Tamimi only helps perpetuate this conflict by placing children in harm’s way. Israeli authorities had no option but to make it clear that assault against IDF forces will not be tolerated.
Meantime, Ms Tamimi’s father, who has played the role of “director” in his family’s ongoing PR campaign, said: “I’m proud of my daughter. She is a freedom fighter who, in the coming years, will lead the resistance to Israeli rule.”
Whatever one’s views on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, we should all agree that children belong in school, not paraded on the battlefield.
Such cynical and blatant exploitation by the Tamimi parents constitutes gross abuse.
Following her arrest, Ms Tamimi proudly declared: “maybe I would like to be a martyr.”
Perhaps if there were more Malalas and fewer Ahed Tamimis, peace might have a chance.
Arsen Ostrovsky is an Israeli-based international human rights lawyer and Middle East foreign policy analyst.