“Is Ahed Tamimi really Palestinian?”

tamimi arrest

Sixteen year old Ahed Tamimi became a poster girl for the new Palestinian resistance after she was videoed defending her brother and family by defiantly slapping an Israeli soldier on her family property in the West Bank in December.  Senior Israeli politicians argued to CBC that she is too “western looking” to really be Palestinian.  Read more.

A Palestinian teenager, Ahed Tamimi, will face an Israeli military court today (Feb. 13) charged with slapping an Israeli soldier minutes after another soldier had shot her cousin. She turned 17 while in prison, and has now been held in detention for almost two months. A report by Israeli daily Haaretz says that reporters will be barred from the trial. Conviction rates for Palestinians in Israeli military courts exceed 99%.

 “Meet 17 year old Ahed Tamimi the new face of Palestinian resistance”, wrote Derek Stoffel, CBC’s Jerusalem correspondent, about the arrest and detention of the latest Palestinian child to be taken into custody by Israel.

tamimi hair

Tamimi’s blonde hair and blue eyes make her instantly appealing to western audiences, to the discomfort of senior members of  the Israeli government

“The blond-haired, blue-eyed Palestinian girl spent her 17th birthday inside an Israeli military prison last week, where she, along with her mother, awaits trial on Feb. 13“, wrote Stoffel.

In this age of social media and viral videos, Ahed’s defiance has made her into something of a star in the Arab world and beyond.”

Stoffel’s video report for CBC Television is available on YouTube (the segment begins at the 25 minute mark).

Tamimi has become an international star. Her picture is popping up everywhere, and a cute cartoon series briefly describes her struggle, along with that of her family, for their rights under Israeli occupation.

Israeli authorities are clearly concerned about the growing international media coverage of the Tamimi case, of which CBC is only a small part. Stoffel’s CBC piece was fiercely attacked by Honest Reporting Canada, a part of the Israel lobby in Canada. It sent a letter to the CBC umbudsman, taking great exception  to the fact that Stoffel actually used the words “occupation” and “resistance in his piece.

Back in Israel, authorities have begun a counter attack aimed at undermining the credibility and authenticity of young Tamimi and other children who were resisting occupation troops. They portray it as all just Palestinian theatre aimed at gaining support from a western audience.


Some Israelis openly questioned whether young Ahed was really Palestinian at all. An article in the Times of Israel wondered if she was “an actor, or a former Jew”.

Stoffel reported that a secret Israeli parliamentary committee had launched an investigation into the Tamimis in 2015 to determine whether the demonstrations were genuine or the family was being paid.

Michael Oren, the Israeli deputy minister (and former Ambassador to the USA) who led the probe, claimed to CBC that the children “were being chosen because of the way they looked … they dressed Westerner (sic). They didn’t dress like West Bank Palestinian children.”

What about identity cards and registration numbers?

pal id

Every Palestinian in the Occupied Territories is registered with Israeli authorities at birth

Ambassador Oren and his secret parliamentary committee apparently chose to ignore the fact that EVERY Palestinian child born in the Occupied Palestinian territories must be registered with the Palestinian Authority which must share the information with Israeli authorities.

Palestinians say that a Palestinian in the West Bank could not last a week without this document. Without this registration (and a registration number) it is impossible to go through any of the dozens of Israeli checkpoints inside the West Bank in order to go to school, work or even to the hospital.  The card also includes the names of parents and grandparents, as well as place of birth.

Seventeen year old Ahed Tamimi has been registered with Israeli authorities for all of her seventeen years.

What about her blonde hair and blue eyes?

It’s true that most Palestinians have dark hair and an olive complexion. But the Palestinian population also reflects the genetic fingerprints of centuries of invasions by Turks, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Mongols and Crusaders, among others. I assume soldiers from the British Army may have also left some genetic traces during their 31 year occupation of Mandate Palestine from 1917 to 1948. The overall result is that it is not uncommon to find Palestinians today with fair skin, flaming red hair or dramatic blue eyes.


These young Palestinians are among many I met whose face and eyes reflect Palestine’s storied past as the gateway between the East and the West.

OK – What about that western clothing??


Could this young girl’s suspiciously light hair and “gasp” western style shirt and running shoes be a sign that she is not really Palestinian? Perhaps someone should ask her mother!!

Ambassador Michael Oren is apparently concerned about the fact that Ahed Tamimi dresses “western”. Wouldn’t that show that she might not be Palestinian at all, but some kind of foreign “plant”?

However, Palestinians scoff at this. If that really is his concern, they say, he might want to check out the stores in Ramallah, Jenin, Bethlehem and even Hebron, where western style clothing from shirts to shoes (much of it made in China) has flooded the  market.


Its hard to escape the conclusion that Deputy Minister (and former Israeli Ambassador to the USA) Michael Oren knows exactly who Ahed Tamimi is – a Palestinian child who has grown up under occupation. Many, including CBC’s Stoffel, say she represents a new face of the Palestinian resistance – unarmed, but unafraid. As a former Ambassador to the USA, Oren  understands how dangerous it would be for Israel if American audiences began to pay attention to Tamimi … or to the hundreds of other Palestinian children in Israeli jails for resisting its brutal occupation.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. We invite brief comments (under 100 words) from readers. No links to other websites/articles/YouTube, please. Both Zionist and non-Zionist opinion is welcome as long as it is expressed in a respectful way. Comments that include personal attacks on other commentators, foul language or are racist/antisemitic/Islamophobic will be deleted without warning. 

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  1. The irony of this is that the people doing this deny being racist.

    The same people who question whether Ahed is a Palestinian , often recite Golda Meir’s mantra, “There were no such thing as Palestinians.” They apparently consider themselves fans of Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines”. They don’t seem to realize that Emerson was writing in support of honesty and openness, concepts that are foreign to those who will jail a child for a demonstrative show of resistance and anger.

    1. It would be very interesting to see if any zionist supporter could list three cabinet members who aren’t overtly racist. Just three.

  2. Our local (Victoria, BC) chapter of CAIA did some leafleting on Saturday downtown in front of The Bay. As we were about to depart we were aggressively approached by a woman (Zionist, I imagine) who informed us that Ahed Tamimi was actually 18 years old, that her family has killed at least 17 Israelis, and other bits of (mis)information. We listened politely and then asked if what she was telling us then justified holding Ahed and other children in jail and the military trial (beginning today, it seems) was okay by her. At that point she walked away. I also didn’t get an answer to my question about the sources of her supposed information. She is probably addicted to Ziocaine.

  3. It is absolutely common that there are Palestinians with blonde hair and blue eyes. Many Palestinians look like many oriental Israelis. Also many Palestinians dress in western clothing and behave like common western or Israelis. Those are undeniable facts.I lived there for 20 years and seen many. What Israel tries to do is as usual lies, propaganda and any sinister ploy to cover up the realities.

  4. This is an excellent outline of attempts by Zionists to demonize Ahed Tamimi, poster child of peaceful protests against Israeli military action in the West Bank. But such overzealous action is only serving to draw additional attention to realities of the Israel-Palestine conflict; supporters of equality and justice will be prompted to sign petitions urging release of children from Israeli military prisons. And as a spin off, the peaceful BDS approach to counter illegal activities of the Israeli occupiers/colonizers likely will gain further endorsement.

  5. She is unafraid because she knows that Israeli soldiers would not do anything to harm her. And how does she know this? Because she has been attacking Israeli soldiers for years with impunity.

    Everything you think you know otherwise about Israel is a pack of lies. The Israeli army is the most moral in the world. Israel cares for the children of the enemy, risking its own soldiers to save their lives, bringing them to Israel for state-of-the-art medical care, including operations by world class surgeons. Israeli Arabs have the highest life expectancy over Arabs from all other countries and the majority prefer to live in Israel than anywhere else in the world.

    Everyone has an opinion about Israel, but how many of you speak Hebrew or Arabic or have spent time in the country? Do you even know that many Arabs in Israel are proud Zionists and voluntarily serve in the army and are pro-settlements? That on the whole Jews and Muslims are in daily contact and get along just fine in Israel, including Yehuda and the Shomron? That gay Palestinians seek and find refuge in Israel? Basically wherever there is Israeli rule there is more freedom. Wherever there is Arab/Palestinian rule freedom is highly limited, especially for women and minorities. This is reality.

    If you truly cared about people and their lives you would support Israel and fight all the lies perpetuated against it.

    1. Eli Sheva,

      You wrote, “She is unafraid because she knows that Israeli soldiers would not do anything to harm her.”

      Many members of her family have been arrested and others have been shot for doing less than she has done. She knew that she has been lucky but that her luck could run out at any time. In spite of being aware of the danger she was in, she persisted, because she considers the conditions of the occupation to be unacceptable. I don’t think she was unafraid; she is brave.

      You also wrote, “The Israeli army is the most moral in the world.”

      This is a mantra recited by Israeli propagandists but there is plenty of evidence of immoral behaviour by Israeli soldiers. The members of שוברים שתיקה (Breaking the silence) are former soldiers who tell the truth of their experience in the IDF. The many articles by Amira Haas in Haaretz also include stories of the immoral behaviour of IDF soldiers. I have watched the behaviour of those soldiers at crossing points and seen the arbitrary way that Palestinian civilians are treated. Israeli solider Sgt. Elor Azaria was filmed murdering a wounded, helpless man in cold blood but was convicted only of Manslaughter. In spite of the light sentence, he has become a hero to many soldiers and other Israelis who are trying to have him pardoned. If this is the most moral army in the world, the world is in a lot of trouble.

      You also wrote, “…many Arabs in Israel are proud Zionists and voluntarily serve in the army and are pro-settlements?”.
      I have met Arabs citizens of Israel who are very glad that they are not treated the way that Arabs, in Gaza or the West Bank (or Eastern Jerusalem) are treated but not one was a “proud Zionist” or spoke in favour of the colonies built in the West Bank. When I asked an Israeli government official about the Arabs in the army, she hastened to “assure” me that they were carefully watched and never given jobs where they could do serious harm.

      You wrote, “on the whole Jews and Muslims are in daily contact and get along just fine in Israel”.

      They are in daily contact and are very wary of each other but my Muslim friends have told me that they do not dare to speak out. There are a few exceptionally talented (and often wealthy) Arabs who are able to do well in Israel but they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

      Finally you wrote, “Wherever there is Arab/Palestinian rule freedom is highly limited” and this is true.

      The freedom is limited by Israeli soldiers who imprison the residents in PA areas by guarding the crossing points. A resident of Ramallah is not free to go from there to Jordan, or anywhere else, without approval by the Israeli border guards. When students at Universities in Palestine (which I have visited) try to protest, the IDF intervenes and often destroys property while arresting protestors. Even in the territories supposedly under PA control, anyone who dares to speak out is subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment by IDF soldiers.

      You would not want to live as an Arab in any part of historic Palestine would you?

      1. Da Vid,
        Elisheva is a feminine Hebrew name
        not a man named Eli Sheva, when you assume you make an ASS of U and ME

      2. Dear Shyzi (Mr. or Ms?) If you think that any Canadian who doesn’t know whether a Hebrew name is masculine or feminine is an ASS, I think you will find there are quite a few of us – pretty close to 35 million, I reckon.

        I also often have the same trouble with the gender of Arabic names. (And recently with an English name (Leigh) which I was not sure was masculine or feminine.)

        How many Canadians, even how many Canadian Jews, speak Hebrew? Not very many I wager. So I think your ad hominem attack on a commentator makes you look a little silly, not to say rather ungracious.

      1. Hey Ano Nee Moose, While I appreciate that you didn’t use any foul language, you have to admit that your comment does not really advance the discussion much. It would be helpful to know where you disagree with Elisheva and why. If you have some specific critiques of what Elisheva posted (as some others did), then please go ahead. But it doesn’t help much to know that you disagree strongly.

      2. @Peter

        I appreciate you allowed my post through. I would have understood, and not been the least bit offended had you declined to do so.

        I usually end up posting anonymously and I don’t know what tools you have available to you but I have engaged a number of pro Israel posters over the past year. Frequently with long, detailed counter points or arguments against theirs.

        All of that said I respecfully disagree in that I don’t feel that standard propaganda talking points, with absolutely no citations for completely counterfactual claims do not create even a plausible suggestion that the poster is themselves interested in any dialogue or conversation.

      3. Hey Ano Nee Moose, I agree that some people who post comments are not open to learning or listening to an alternative point of view. Sad but true.

        However, I feel it is often useful to answer their statements/facts/assessments because they raise issues that other people wonder about. So I always think it is useful to answer substantively, not so much to convince the person to whom you are replying, but to show others how their argument does not stand up to scrutiny.

  6. Who is Ahid Tamimi?
    She is a Seventeen years young Palestinian resisisting Israeli occupation of her land. A latest generation proud Palestinian female hero. A human being; one of the Brown-Black-Red-White-Yellow descendants of Adam and Eve. She is fighting transgression of Zionists and Western ignorent-thieves that sooner or later will be brought to justice.

  7. Just watch this short video. Than we see what you Israeli apologists have to say. I suggest try to stay human.
    Please forward to others, so they can see the truth and what became of Israel. What decades of brain washing can have seemingly normal people do. As Gideon Levy, the veteran Israeli journalist wrote a few month ago: Israelis are the most brain washed people in the world.
    Forward to your MP’s and MPP’s.


    Institute for Middle East Understanding ( IMEU )

    Institute for Middle East Understanding ( IMEU )
    Ahed Tamimi finally appeared in Israeli military court today, only to have her trial pushed back again. After an…

  8. Hi Peter, today I discovered that Ahed Tamimi’s portrate was painted by Jim FitzPatrick, the Irish artist who is renowned for creating the iconic 1968 print of Che Guevara. He has drawn the image of Ms Tamimi, entitled There is a Real Wonder Woman, depicting her as the heroine of DC Comics most recently portrayed in films by Gal Gadot, a former Israeli soldier.

    Is it possible to add the portrate to my February 18 comment?



    On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 10:57 AM Canada Talks Israel/Palestine wrote:

    > Peter Larson posted: ” Sixteen year old Ahed Tamimi became a poster girl > for the new Palestinian resistance after she was videoed defending her > brother and family by defiantly slapping an Israeli soldier on her family > property in the West Bank in December. Senior Israeli pol” >

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