GUEST BLOG: Lois Griffiths – Palestinian Heroine

By   /   December 28, 2017  /   48 Comments

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What would you do if armed soldiers of an occupying force shot your 14-year old cousin in the face at close range and then tried to force their way into your property?

What would you do if armed soldiers of an occupying force shot your 14-year old cousin in the face at close range and then tried to force their way into your property?

What would you do if you were a mother and saw your teen-aged daughter and her cousin trying to stop the soldiers? 

Not  easy questions to answer for anyone in New Zealand as we’ve never lived under such a frightening  situation. We find it hard to imagine such a situation could even occur in this day and age, in a normal country, at least not in a normal Western country. But Israel isn’t a normal Western country.

On 15 December, an IDF soldier shot 14-year-old Muhammad Fadel Tamimi in the face. Soldiers then entered the Tamimi property. 16-year old Ahed Tamimi , her cousin Noor and then her mother Nariman tried to push the soldiers away. Ahed lightly slapped one of the soldiers. The slap was caught on video and has gone round the world.

The incident took place in Nabi Saleh, a West Bank village. Like the people of Bil’in, of the movie 5 Broken Cameras, the Nabi Saleh villagers are hated by the Israelis for refusing to lie down quietly and die. 

Right-wing anti-Palestinian Israelis fumed at the insult, the humiliation of their beloved Army. Revenge was demanded. The next night Israeli soldiers broke into the Tamimi home and arrested Ahed. Later Noor and Naiman were arrested as well.

Ahed has since then been transferred between several prisons, an Israeli tactic to wear detainees down. As of this writing she still is in detention without being charged.

This particular incident is not so isolated , Palestinian teenagers are often hauled away in night raids and abused while in custody. Several hundred Palestinian children are in detention now.

Ahed’s case though has attracted world-wide attention. Demonstrations have been held in several European cities and in New York too , calling for the release of Ahed and other child detainees. People who follow what goes on in Israel and the illegally Occupied Territories will remember other incidents when Ahed has confronted Israel soldiers, including the time when she and other women tried to stop her young brother from being arrested. 

The reactions of powerful, influential Israeli right-wing groups, in sinister language calling for revenge should send a shiver down our spines.The Minister of Education Nafthali Bennett has said, “The women should spend the rest of their lives in prison”.

Ben Caspit, a journalist with Israel’s Maariv newspaper, has said, “In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras.”

Why do we hear nothing about Ahed Tamimi from our so-called media? We should all be protesting at the Israeli Embassy demanding the release of Ahed, of all child prisoners and all political prisoners. 

To the Israelis, a teenaged Palestinian girl, angry about the shooting of her cousin , lightly pushing and slapping, an Israel soldier, is a heinous unforgivable crime.

An IDF soldier shooting a 14 year old in the face is trivial. Mohammed Tamimi had climbed a ladder leaning against  the wall surrounding a vacant house. Israeli soldiers were posted in the yard. When the boy poked his face over the wall, he was shot, at close range in the face,  just below his left nostril. His parents rushed him to a nearby village that had an intensive care ambulance and then to a new private hospital founded by some Palestinian businessmen. Seven surgeons worked from 9:30pm to 4:30am  to save his life. Mohammed ‘s mother was told that had the bullet hit just a half-millimetre to the side, she would have lost her son .

My information is from,, and  Haaretz nesspaper. A fascinating book about the people  of Nabi Saleh , is The Way to the Spring by Ben Ehrenreich.

How much longer is the West going to turn a blind eye to the oppresion of the Palestinians?

There is some good news. 

A Bill before the US Congress, submitted by Minnesota Congresswoman Betty  McCollum, is demanding that the US stop funding Israel’s human rights abuses against children.

Let’s hope the Bill gets passed. And let’s hope it raises public awareness, and anger, in the US and here too. So much is at stake,  including our sense of humanity.


Lois Griffiths is a human rights activist and Palestinian advocate. 


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  1. Isabel J says:

    Please try to bring this blog to the attention of Lorde – the singer.

    (I’m a very low-tech unwell 78 yr old & don’t know how to get in touch with Lorde who is under pressure (I understand) to reverse her decision to NOT SING IN ISRAEL – THE PATHOCRATIC STATE.

  2. Isabel J says:

    Please try to bring the above blog entry to the attention of Lorde – the singer, who I undertand is under pressure from Israel to reverse her decision to NOT SING AT TEL AVIV next year.
    (I’m a very low tech, unwell 78 yr old & have no idea how to contact Lorde – haven’t even heard her sing.)

  3. Historian Pete says:

    It’s simple really. Israelis are schooled and indoctrinated to believe that on the one hand they belong to a superior race and have been chosen by God to inhabit Palestine.On the other they are indoctrinated to regard the Palestinians as sub-human to be removed by ethnic cleansing as an impediment to God’s plan. So any level of brutality is not off the table. Much like what happened in Nazi Germany.And deranged Christians throughout the Western world have supported, aided, and abetted it in their Biblical inspired Delusions.We have come a long way in our evolution, havn’t we?!!

  4. Ben Caspit, a journalist with Israel’s Maariv newspaper, has said, “In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras.”

    Let’s make no mistake here: Ben Caspit is advocating raping girls.

    The comment is reported here:

    This is the country that Lorde has decided not to tour: a country where it appears to be acceptable for a prominent journo to advocate rape as a weapon.

    Even our most virulent right-wing media personalities (Hosking, Henry, et al) would recoil in horror at such a veiled threat.

    It’s not that Caspit made the suggestion. It’s the fact that Israeli society has become so inured to violence, fear, and hatred that his repellent comment is not challenged.

  5. Otto Mann says:

    “Ben Caspit, a journalist with Israel’s Maariv newspaper, has said, “In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras.”

    If this is symptomatic of the fear that Israelis have toward Palestinians (even young Palestinians with only bare hands to defend themselves), then they have driven themselves into a dark corner. Fear can make people do irrational things and Israel is becoming more irrational with each passing day and year.

    They have lost whatever conflict they believe themselves to be in.

    Thank you Lois. I will be sharing this on social media. It validates Lorde’s decision to stay away from that country.

  6. Groucho Marxist says:

    Why does the West support a country of people who practice such widespread genital mutilation of its male population?

    When done to adolescents I’m sure it leaves psychological trauma.

  7. Andy says:

    The Jew hatred on this blog is never ending

    • simonm says:

      Just like the excuses for Israeli racism and apartheid are never ending on Kiwibog and Whale Blubber you mean?

    • Donna Miles says:

      Andy, I know the author well. We both have close Jewish friends inside and outside of Israel.
      Some of my Jewish friends disagree with my opinions, others are dedicated advocates of the Palestinian rights.
      You know what’s never ending? It is the anti-semitic accusations designed to silence Israel’s critics.

      • Andy says:

        If you were concerned about human rights you would write about Saudi, Dubai, Iran, Iraq and the many Arab nations that have terrible human rights records. But this blog continues to focus on one nation that is half the size of Canterbury NZ

        Furthermore, you only ever present the case from one side

        • If you were concerned about human rights you would write about Saudi, Dubai, Iran, Iraq and the many Arab nations that have terrible human rights records. But this blog continues to focus on one nation that is half the size of Canterbury NZ

          Ah, the old “look-at-someone-else” attempt to deflect attention. Sorry, Andy, that’s an old one. Your attempt to deflect attention is used when anyone focuses on a particular country; some will always come up with the old “but-what-about-[insert name here]” tactic.

          Lorde was going to tour Israel – not “Saudi, Dubai, Iran, Iraq and the many Arab nations”. That’s the issue here.

        • Mike the Lefty says:

          Have you been hiding under a stone Andy?
          This blog frequently points out the human rights abuses perpetrated by the countries you mention.
          There is one on the blog right now.
          Open your eyes man!

    • Wanting peace and justice is hardly “Jew hating”, Andy. With it, Israel will never have true security. It will be on a constant war-footing for years, if not decades, to come.

      Wanting an end to that violence and fear-of-violence isn’t “Jew hating”. It’s wanting peace and security for Israel.

    • Otto Mann says:

      I case you missed it, Andy, it’s zionist expansionism we’re objecting to. Not Jews. Your framing criticism of Israel as “jew hatred” is the only narrative you can exploit.

      Curiously, you’ve proven our point.

      The subjugation of Palestinians is a very real crisis. By referring to “Jew hatred” (which is unacceptable) you’re avoiding the Palestinian issue, which is a legitimate cause for grave concern.

      • Andy says:

        You only ever pick on the Jewish State, never any other, so it is a reasonable supposition that your motives are based on Jew hatred

    • Samwise says:

      You’re wrong, Andy. This isn’T about “Jew hating”. It’s about ensuring Israel’s survival by addressing 80 years of injustice endured by Palestinians. Creating a false narrative of “Jew hating” simply prolongs the agony of two people.

      You can’t have lasting peace without justice.

    • Andrea says:

      Not all Israelis are Jews. Fact.

      It is hard right Israeli politicians, some journalists, the Israeli army that are up for scorn. They may or may not be Jewish, moderate or Orthodox. We don’t know. We aren’t told.

      However, what is clear is that the most active anti-semites in the region are Israelis: many arabic people are semites and many Israelis are loud in their hatred of Palestinians. QED.

      Being Jewish is not an impunity card by any means. Guilt-tripping people who challenge bullying behaviour by crying ‘anti-semitic! Jew haters’ is, on a polite day, unreasonable and untrue.

      Hush, now.

  8. Pat O'Dea says:

    From the, ‘You couldn’t make this shit up’ file:

    The foyer of the new Donald Trump apartheid train station won’t be complete, without a larger than life-size image of its new Zionist namesake champion, stomping on a Palestinian face forever.

    Well maybe not, forever.

    • Andy says:

      Why do you think that the train will be segregated?

      Is this something you made up or based on any actual facts?

      • Pat O'Dea says:

        ANDY says:
        DECEMBER 29, 2017 AT 1:10 PM

        Why do you think that the train will be segregated?

        Is this something you made up or based on any actual facts?

        Facts that you, apparently, aren’t aware of;

        Israel’s System of Segregated Roads in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

        Cars with Palestinian license plates are not allowed on Israeli roads, regardless of the identification held by the driver. Even on Palestinian roads, cars with Palestinian plates have restricted access, face endless delays at checkpoints and are subject to regular road blocks.

        Video: Israeli soldier assaults child playing on Jews-only road

        Aug 3, 2016 – Israel has imposed strict segregation in Hebron’s Old City.

        Inside East Jerusalem’s Separate Bus System for Palestinians

        Mar 23, 2017 – But cross Route 1 that runs along the green line—which until 1967 formally separated the disputed city—and your best bet for bus directions is to just ask around. Though some Israeli buses pass through East Jerusalem, including lines to contentious Jewish settlements in Palestinian communities.

        • Andy says:

          I know about segregated roads in the Territories

          I don’t really see how this extrapolates to a segregated train from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem

          • Oh? So you know about segregration, Andy? And you’re fine with that, are you.

            • Andy says:

              Fine with it? I presume that Israel puts these measures in place for security reasons, because they don’t want terrorists blowing up buses full of Israeli schoolchildren. It’s not perfect, but nothing is in this increasingly violent world.

              Sweden is becoming increasingly fractured. There are now areas of the country that courier drivers refuse to deliver to, because of the threat of violence from certain ethnic groups.

              This, presumably, is a form of apartheid. Those racist courier drivers and police that are too frightened to go to an area because they will get rocks and even hand grenades thrown at them.

              Why don’t we boycott Sweden?

              • Sam Sam says:

                Because you’re delusional

              • Pat O'Dea says:

                Sweden is becoming increasingly fractured. There are now areas of the country that courier drivers refuse to deliver to

                Do you have a link for this?

                Where on earth did you get this story?

                I have tried to use google to verify your claim, Andy, that there are parts of Sweden that courier drivers refuse to deliver to, no hits, nothing. Zip, zero, nada. (Though there were some hits to links to unrelated posts complaining of the crappy nature of the Swedish postal service generally).

                So I widened my search, using terms like “No go areas, Sweden”.

                And this is what I found:

                Fact Check Crime in Sweden

                On 18 February 2017, U.S. president Donald Trump drew international attention for comments during a rally in Florida in which he argued that accepting refugees from war-torn regions like Syria would make the United States less safe. To make his point, President Trump claimed that the night before, asylum seekers had done something terrible in Sweden (a country that had taken in roughly 193,000 asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016):

                Here’s the bottom line: We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening. We’ve got to keep our country safe. (Applause.) You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden? Who would believe this? Sweden? They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.

                Bewildered Swedes took to social media to express confusion about what Trump may have meant, sparking the ironic Twitter hashtag #LastNightInSweden:

                #LastNightInSweden more Muslim violence! Things are so bad, #ABBA is requesting refugee status in Switzerland!

                — Trump Paradise (@nopenochange) March 7, 2017


                And there was this:

                Does Sweden Have ‘No-Go Zones’ Where the Police Can’t Enter?
                Swedish police have identified “problem areas,” but say there is no such thing as a “no-go zone.”

                There are “no-go zones” in Sweden where the police can’t enter.



                One of the most persistent myths about crime in Sweden is that some areas are so dangerous due to outlaw asylum seekers that police can’t enter them….


                So there you go Andy, I admit I am guessing here, but, because the story of “No go areas” police are too afraid to enter, has proven to be completely utterly fake, and ridiculed by the Swedes themselves, then maybe you thought, maybe, just maybe, courier drivers might be too afraid to enter these areas.

                If like here, immigrants make up a lot of numbers of courier drivers, you might have been better in choosing a category like, people dressed as clowns riding unicycles are too afraid to enter these areas.

                • Andy often makes bizarre claims that are either exaggerated or outright false.

                  I guess he’s hoping for the “Repeat-a-lie-often-enough-to-gain-legitimacy” effect…

                  I don’t think he realises it has an opposite consequence.

          • Pat O'Dea says:

            ANDY says:
            DECEMBER 30, 2017 AT 9:29 AM

            I know about segregated roads in the Territories

            I don’t really see how this extrapolates to a segregated train from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem

            I think it is a reasonable extrapolation that a new train link from Tel Aviv to the heart of the occupied territories would be segregated.

            If existing buses, roads and footpaths are segregated by the Israelis, I would assume that a new rail link would be too.

            Do you have some evidence, or link to a report that might suggest otherwise Andy?

            Or do you just make this stuff up as you go along?

      • Brian says:

        Andy is using the overused ‘ cry antisemitism to shut down the discussion’ tactic.

        So does Andy agree with Ben Caspit? His initial comment after clearly having read comments expressing disgust at Ben Caspit advocating rape was ‘jew hatred’. Very concerning!

  9. Pat O'Dea says:

    The slap heard around the world.

    The ridiculous outraged comments from Right wing Israelis that a slight Palestinian girl had the courage and the wit to insult a brutal and heavily armed soldier, with a well timed, and deserved, slap to the face.

    Their outrage demonstrates one thing. That Zionists don’t consider Palestinians to be human beings, they are offended that Ahed Tamimi demonstrated her humanity and courage, by expressing in one small gesture, captured forever, her fearlessness and indignation at the way Palestinians are treated by the Israelis.

    In another time and in another place, if footage of a young Jewish girl had been caught slapping the face of a heavily armed German soldier, only the most unthinking and unfeeling fools would dare express outrage at the girl, and sympathy for the hurt feelings of the German soldier.

    • Patrick says:

      I’m not buying into this thread and am not condoning Jewish behaviour but I can’t imagine a Jewish girl slapping a heavily armed German soldier surviving more than a few seconds.
      There would have been no “outrage ” she would have died of an immediate and severe case of lead poisoning.
      We are at least seeing some rule of law here.
      What would have happened if the same thing had happened today in Cuba, a regime admired by this blog?
      I understand that since the demise of the hero Fidel, arrests and brutal manhandling by the secret police have increased.
      Or North Korea, Vietnam, Russia, any of the Stans, China, Myanmar, blah blah.

      All I’m saying is temper the rhetoric as so many other regimes would have have had several tons of bricks available for dropping on this girl without a single cheek being turned.
      Try chucking stones at Raul Castro’s goons and see what happens

      • We are at least seeing some rule of law here.

        The “rule of law” of an occupying army is nothing to be supportive of.

        As for your moral equivalency made by referring to other dictatorships, Patrick – let’s get one thing clear. You’re not advocating human rights, you’re advocating moral paralysis by not doing anything. Any country can point to another country – “they do it to” – as justification, and you’re buying into it.

        • Patrick says:

          Thank you Frank.
          Actually the rule of law of an occupying army or not should be supported should it not?
          And thank you for explaining my moral paralysis – wondered why I was moving so slowly these past few days.
          Frank, if you read my note again you will see that I am in no way making those points as “justification.” Merely pointing out that a rule of law – whether you agree with the degree or not – has to be better than no rule at all.
          May the New year bring you happier times.

          • Historian Pete says:

            Patrick:There was a “rule of Law” in Nazi Germany. As the Jews were rounded up to the cattle trains en route to the gas chambers, they could at least have thought, ” At least we are being exterminated under the rule of law.”

            • Patrick says:

              good point but, I believe, slightly off the point I was making.
              Don’t know what will happen to curlylocks but for sure she won’t be “exterminated under rule of law.”
              Happy New Year all.

              • good point but, I believe, slightly off the point I was making.

                No, it wasn’t “off the point”, Patrick. Pete called you on it. And he raised a valid question. Can you answer it or not, aside from a sly dig at a young woman’s appearance.

                Are you one of those who support authoritarianism, and the “rule of law”, at any cost?

                • Patrick says:

                  Frank, it’s New Year so I let Pete get away with it, but you just had to call me out didn’t you.
                  A sly dig! lighten up Frank, her hair is great. That’s what makes her stand out, but I do love it when you talk dirty.
                  Back to the point.
                  I am sure that the history buff and you Frank are well aware that Pete was taking liberties with the facts. The whole thing was supposed to be super secret and as I’m sure you know the ‘Final Solution” was not enshrined in any law.
                  The very name “Final Solution” was designed to keep everything vague.
                  Nobody was exterminated “under rule of law” as there was no law.
                  It was all done by a series of (illegal)
                  orders by some very nasty people.
                  Happy New Year.

                  • Historian Pete says:

                    Not so Patrick.Hitler and his political party were elected into power legally and formed a legal government..Ipso Facto it was the rule of law ! Stop trying to rewrite History to cover your deficiencies

                    • Patrick says:

                      I’m not rewriting history.
                      The poor individuals sent to the death camps were officially being “re located.”
                      The Nazi’s were the governing party but that does not mean that everything they did came under the “rule of law.”
                      The medical experiments were the same – secret.
                      Pete, either leave it or come up with some evidence to prove that laws were passed to make extermination camps etc were legal.
                      The horse is dead so stop flogging it

                    • Patrick, it should not be beneath you to accept Pete’s historical points. He’s on the nail so I’m not sure why you’re continuing to “flog the deceased Equus ferus”. When someone has, on occassion, pointed out an error I’ve made, my response is “point taken”. Then move on.

  10. Pat O'Dea says:

    habeas corpus

    heɪbɪəs ˈkɔːpəs/



    A writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.

    Google search; 684,000 results (0.45 seconds)

    Habeas corpus the right to a fair trial. A simple basic human right denied to Palestinians in apartheid Israel. Even Members of Parliament can be denied this basic human right. That is, if they are a Palestinian.

    Israeli court extends Palestinian MP’s detention by another six months

    Khalida Jarrar has been in prison since July, but has not been charged and ‘nothing concrete’ has been produced against her.

    An Israeli court has extended the prominent Palestinian politician and rights campaigner Khalida Jarrar’s administrative detention for another six months, her lawyer has confirmed.

    When Jarrar was first taken into custody in July, Israeli authorities said she was arrested for her involvement with the banned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

    Israel considers the Marxist party to be a terrorist group and many of the group’s leaders are currently in prison.

    Jarrar, however, has not been formally charged and has been held through administrative detention, an Israeli policy which allows suspects to be held without trial or charge and renewable every six months.

    Mahmoud Hassan, Jarrar’s lawyer, told MEE that Israeli authorities have claimed she is a danger to the West Bank, but have not produced any evidence or charges.

    “There is nothing concrete against her,” Hassan said. “This is why they are using this tool of the administrative detention to keep her away from the political square.”

    “The Americans have opened the door for the Israelis to do what they want from settlements and Jerusalem and targeting the [Palestinian] leadership. They are not interested in anyone speaking against the policies.”

    In a statement released late on Wednesday, the PFLP said, “We consider this to be a new occupation crime: targeting the leadership inside Palestine and getting them away from the national popular movement.”

    “This will not break her will, nor her attention to her role resisting the occupation and standing on behalf of her people.”

    Jarrar, 54, a legislator in the largely defunct Palestinian parliament, is known for her fiery speeches against the Israeli occupation. She has been jailed multiple times in recent years.

    There are six other MPs also in prison, including Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat.

    According to a PLO spokesperson, Jarrar played a leading role in cementing the Palestinian Authority’s 2015 bid to join the International Criminal Court.

    • Patrick says:

      Frank, I’m very happy to admit when I’m wrong, but in this case I don’t believe I am.
      You and Pete believe that because the Nazi party was legally elected everything they did was Ipso facto legal.

      That argument is patently incorrect.

      If correct, then it must apply here too, so the legally elected current government of New Zealand doesn’t have to pass laws at all as anything it does becomes ipso facto legal.
      According to your argument extermination camps could be set up in New Zealand to wipe out right wingers and other undesirables and they would ipso facto be completely legal.

      We all know that is ridiculous.

      Your argument ” I was only following the rule of law “was never used at Nuremberg as a defense The main defenses there were ” I was only following orders ” or ” I knew nothing about the death camps.”

      So Frank and Pete, even though I try to agree with everyone on New Year’s day I still can’t agree you on this point.

      Agree to disagree perhaps.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Every authoritarian regime uses Stasi tactics to surveill, suppress, and protect a click group of power brokers, politicians and oligarchs.

        And we’re did the Russians learn it? They learnt it from Nazi Germanise SS. And the reason for that is because they were so successfull at it against the CIA. The Russian KGB made every one look like fools. While the KGB was feeding the CIA information hyping up Russian military might in the lead up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. And America believing the hype. In actuality Russia was collapsing.

        Every one getting into the deepstate game hits on roughly the same tactics as the Stasi and Isreal is no different.

      • Historian Pete says:

        Patrick: With your name you surely have to have Irish origins.Around 1850 the English caused with their mercentile policies the death of a million Irish people with the potato famine.The important thing was that it was done under due legal processes, instead of some mob rule.When you next gaze at a potato, take this as some comfort!!

        • Patrick says:

          Hi Pete,
          totally aware of the Potato famine which was probably the reason my forebear, Annie Murphy emigrated to this fair land.
          Also aware of the policies of the hated English – have forebears from there too!
          I’m not trying to buy into an argument but the point I was making that the death camps were NOT set up by rule of law and were not state sanctioned – nor was it under mob rule.
          It was Adolf’s idea which he delegated to evil men happy to make it happen.
          They were secret with few written orders as they knew how murdering millions of defenseless people would be viewed by the rest of the world.

          Lets agree to disagree.

          Incidentally, I will be gazing at a potato shortly as love a good freshly dug South Island spud.
          And here’s a piece of trivia. Where did the word spud come from? Some say it was the implement used in Ireland for digging them but I much prefer the one where individuals in England who thought potatoes should not be eaten formed a society called The Society for the Prevention of Unsuitable Diet or SPUD.

          • Historian Pete says:

            Yes, I think we have debated the subject enough. My Irish ancestors left Ireland 2 years after the famine ended.Survivors. Have a happy New Year!

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