The Palestine Advocacy Project has placed two billboards along Connecticut’s Interstate 95 in the towns of Bridgeport and Stratford to raise awareness about the imprisonment of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi.
One of the billboards put up by the group draws a comparison between the 27-year imprisonment of Nelson Mandela by South Africa’s apartheid regime and the current detainment of Tamimi.
“Like Nelson Mandela for South Africa during apartheid, Ahed Tamimi has become a symbol of Palestine’s 50 years of resistance to Israeli’s brutal occupation and apartheid system,” Mona Abdo, who works with the Palestinian Advocacy Project, said. “The world called for the release of Nelson Mandela then, and now we must call for the release of Ahed Tamimi and the 350 other child prisoners held in Israel’s military prisons.”
On Dec. 19, the Palestinian teenager was arrested without charge in her West Bank village of Nabi Saleh during a late-night raid after a video surfaced of her slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier outside her house.
The 17-year-old has been in custody since then and faces up to 10 years in an Israeli prison for charges of assault and incitement. Under current Israeli law, the youth can be held for up to six months without trial.
Tamimi’s case forces a reconciliation among the American populace, which tends to be more sympathetic toward Israel than Palestine, yet also regards the United States as a champion of democracy and human rights.
The potential 10-year imprisonment of a child for slapping a soldier seems to challenge the values supposedly espoused by the American populace, as this sentence does not align with democratic and egalitarian ideals; an adult Jewish settler with a criminal record who similarly slapped a soldier was punished with probation and did not face the potential of a lengthy prison term.
The billboards erected will, hopefully, help force the American public to consider which values it most strongly supports.