Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian girl, was released from an Israeli prison on July 29, after sitting in jail and prison for almost 8 months. In March, she had been sentenced to an 8-month sentence after pleading guilty to charges of assault and incitement. Ahed was welcomed in the West Bank like a "hero". "A crowd of supporters jostled for selfies with the teen," the Washington Post reported.
Ahed became the center of international attention on December 15 when she assaulted an Israeli soldier. The soldier did not respond. Her mother posted the video on Facebook. In the video, Ahed is seen slapping and punching the soldier.
Immediately after her attack on the soldier on December 15, Ahed's mother, who was filming Ahed, reportedly asked her daughter what kind of message she wanted to convey to viewers. Ahed replied, in part:
"Our strength is in our stones.... Whether it is stabbings or suicide bombings or throwing stones, everyone must do his part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine."
Later, Ahed and her mother were both arrested for the attack. Despite her public praising of violence, Ahed is now being lauded by many media outlets as a new "Palestinian protest icon."
Among her biggest supporters was Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who congratulated her by telephone hours after her release from prison. Erdoğan "lauded her bravery and determination to fight", and "assured the [Tamimi] family that Turkey's support for Palestinian's just fight would continue," reported the Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah.
That was not the first interaction between Erdogan and Tamimi. In 2012, Erdogan, then Turkey's prime minister, and his wife, met and had breakfast with Ahed and her mother Nariman Tamimi, in the city of Sanliurfa in Turkey. Congratulating Ahed for her "courage", Erdogan reportedly gave her family and her some presents.
"Among the gifts PM Erdogan gave me are a cell phone, the holy Koran, a headscarf for my mother and a tie for my father," said Ahed. "That is a moment I will never forget throughout my entire life. I would like to thank him for always standing by Palestine."
In the same year, Ahed was given the "Hanzala Courage Award" by Başakşehir Municipality in Istanbul.
"Nariman Tamimi, her mother, praised female Palestinian terrorists who collectively murdered 55 Israelis, including 21 children, and wounded more than 300 people. When the so-called 'stabbing intifada' began in late 2015, Nariman shared graphic instructions for prospective Palestinian terrorists on where to aim their knives in order to achieve the most lethal outcome.
"Then there is Ahed's father Bassem Tamimi, who regularly promotes some of the most vile antisemitic conspiracy theories. "
"Is it any wonder then that Ahed herself has loyally followed her family's example, even calling on Palestinians to murder Israelis through 'martyrdom-seeking operations' (i.e., suicide bombings), stabbing attacks, and stone-throwing?"
The Tamimi family includes terrorists who murdered Israelis, including children. One is Ahlam Tamimi, who masterminded and helped carry out the 2001 Sbarro massacre in Jerusalem. The bomb at the Sbarro restaurant killed 15 civilians, including seven children and a pregnant woman. 130 people were injured. Ahlam, a cousin of Ahed's, was given a life sentence. But, in 2011, she was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel. Ahlam has declared that she is proud of her role in the massacre.
Malki Roth, aged 15, was among those murdered in the Sbarro massacre.
"We know who plotted the Sbarro barbarism," wrote Arnold Roth, Malki's father, recently. "It was not Ahed Tamimi. But when her clan, the Tamimis of Nabi Saleh, get together to celebrate it, as we know they do, she is an enthusiastic participant."
"In a village where almost everyone is related by blood and (yes, and) marriage, Ahed is a cousin of one of the attack's perpetrators, Ahlam Tamimi, in multiple ways. Ahlam now lives free in Jordan. She boasts that she chose the site for the explosion, seeking to kill as many Jewish children as possible, and that she planted the human bomb. Via social media, public speeches and (for five years) her own TV program, she urges others to follow her lead.
"When Ahlam married Nizar Tamimi – also a murderer from the village – a few months after both walked free in the Gilad Shalit prisoner-exchange deal, Ahed was there to dance and gaze adoringly at the bride.
"But neither her gaze nor her ideas are the problem – it's what others do with them.
"Ahed's parents make a living from propagandizing against Israel. They fashioned and groomed Ahed, leveraging her blondness, pushing her into staged conflicts with Israeli soldiers from when she was 10, deliberately putting her at real risk on a weekly basis for years – long before she had the ability to discern what was being done to her."
"On the day of the slapping/ kicking incident that led to her facing criminal charges, Ahed's mother pointed one of her cameras at the girl. She told her to speak to the world. And she did. The girl's message was angry, urging anti-Israel violence and more conflict.
"Though published and promoted by advocates of the Israeli cause, what Ahed said in that clip was largely ignored, as if she had said nothing. Its harsh reality was and still is denied."
"They also deny what Ahed symbolizes – identification with the vicious murderers in her own clan, with explosive rage, with a horrifying zealotry that brings people to push their society's innocent children onto the front lines."
Ahlam Tamimi happily recounts how she blew up a supermarket in Jerusalem, in an interview with Kuwaiti television. (Image source: MEMRI video screenshot)
Why, though, are Arabs doing this -- murdering Israeli Jews and sacrificing their own children? Because Palestinians do not have a state of their own? Quite the reverse: it is the precisely the Palestinian Arabs who have repeatedly rejected a two-state solution. Israel has taken multiple steps to make peace with Arabs in the region, but as Palestinian Arabs have been more interested in destroying the Jewish state than building a nation of their own, peaceful coexistence has not been possible.
If Palestinian Arabs are stateless today, it is by their own choice. Their leaders have repeatedly made a conscious decision to expend their energies on wiping Israel from the face of the earth rather than on establishing a state of their own next to Israel. According to a report by Palestinian Media Watch:
"The Palestinian Authority makes no attempt to educate its people towards peace and coexistence with Israel. On the contrary, from every possible platform it repeatedly rejects Israel's right to exist, presents the conflict as a religious battle for Islam, depicts the establishment of Israel as an act of imperialism, and perpetuates a picture of the Middle East, both verbally and visually, in which Israel does not exist at all. Israel's destruction is said to be both inevitable and a Palestinian obligation."
In 2013, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas once again declared his "vision" for a future Palestinian state; it sounds like ethnic cleansing: "In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli - civilian or soldier - on our lands," Abbas said, according to Reuters.
In his article "The 17-year-old terrorist," Michael Dickson documents how Palestinians are incited to Israel- and Jew-hatred in almost every sphere in their lives – at hospitals, schools, as well as cultural, artistic and sports events:
"There are a large number of terrorism-lionizing schools in Gaza and under the Palestinian Authority's control. Dalal Mughrabi was behind the infamous 1978 bus bombing in which 37 Israelis, 10 of them children, were murdered. There is a Dalal Mughrabi school in Gaza, a Dalal Mughrabi High School in Hebron and a Dalal Mughrabi kindergarten in Hebron. What should we assume that students at these supposedly-educational institutions learn about their school's namesake?"
"Why Isn't There a Palestinian State?" is the title of a video by David Brog, Director of Strategic Affairs for Christians United for Israel. In it, he details the history of Palestinian Arabs rejecting the offers to establish a state of their own. According to Brog, Israel, Britain and the UN have offered Palestinian Arabs the opportunity to build their own state on five separate occasions -- in 1936, 1947, 1967, 2000, and 2008.
In 2005, Israel also "unilaterally left Gaza, giving the Palestinians complete control there," says Brog.
"Instead of developing this territory for the good of its citizens, the Palestinians turned Gaza into a terrorist base, from which they have fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
"Each time Israel has agreed to a Palestinian state, the Palestinians have rejected the offer, often violently. So, if you're interested in peace in the Middle East, maybe the answer is not to pressure Israel to make yet another offer of a state to the Palestinians. Maybe the answer is to pressure the Palestinians to finally accept the existence of a Jewish State."
Muslims make up a majority of the population in 49 countries around the world today. There are 21 Arab states across the world (plus the Palestinian Authority and Hamas-ruled Gaza). And there are six recognized Turkic states. But the existence of one Israeli state in ancient Jewish homeland disturbs Erdogan and other extremist Muslims and Jew-haters.
Turkey, however, has never accepted the right to self-rule of any non-Turkish people living in Asia Minor and historic Armenia, which is today eastern Turkey.
Assyrians (fewer than 15,000), Armenians (fewer than 60,000) and Greeks (fewer than 2,000) -- the indigenous peoples of the region -- are now tiny minorities in Turkey. They were either murdered, deported or forced to flee for their lives throughout decades due to discrimination and various pressures. According to the Christian watchdog group Open Doors, "In Turkey, a mixture of Islam and fierce nationalism leads to Christian persecution... The high degree of religious nationalism in Turkish society places incredible pressure on Christians."
During the 1990s, for example, while the war between the Turkish military and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) was escalating, thousands of Assyrians and Yazidis had to leave their ancestral land in southeast Turkey because there was no security or stability in the region anymore.
Yazidis, an indigenous non-Muslim people in the Middle East, say that they have been exposed to 74 genocidal attacks, and that most of these massacres took place under the Ottoman rule. The Yazidi population in southeast Turkey is only around 320, the head of the Yazidi Cultural Foundation, Azad Barış, told Gatestone.
Turkish state authorities have systematically engaged in rewriting history to deny realities and do not permit a free debate on these issues. Kurdish activists who request equal rights either get murdered or languish in jail. Almost one in three members of Turkey's leading Kurdish political party, the HDP, have been detained since 2015, the news website Mesopotamia Agency reported.
In the meantime, Turkey is openly supporting and praising Ahed Tamimi, a brainwashed Palestinian teenaged girl who has incited and engaged in violence, and whose family members have murdered Israeli children. The Turkish government -- with its horrifying human rights record -- is doing what has come to be expected of it: supporting anti-Semites and jihadists that target non-Muslims in the region. Sadly, the only feature that is really shocking is that many self-proclaimed supporters of human rights, such as in the European Union, as well as journalists, support the same Jew-hating murderers and the genocidal ideology behind them.
Uzay Bulut, a journalist from Turkey, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. She is currently based in Washington D.C.