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Ahed Tamimi: What’s in a Name

Every person has a name given by his/her parents, and the very name that Ahed Tamimi’s parents gave her expresses the commitment to destroy Israel.

What is the meaning of this strange name, “Ahed”?

Ahed means “obligation, commitment.” It is part of the fundamental oath of terror organizations, and primarily Fatah. Anyone who joins the organization swears and pledges himself to the liberation of the whole of Palestine from the Israeli sword. This is called: al-Qassam and al-Ahed: the oath and the obligation. It is recited at a secret ceremony for each participant. After the signing of the Oslo accords, the leader of the PLO Yasser Arafat went to the grave of his deputy in Tunis, Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf), and said that despite all of the agreements, he would remain obliged to al-Qassam and al-Ahed.

Ahed Tamimi’s father, Bassem, kissing her hair

Ahed Tamimi’s father, Bassem, kissing her hair when she arrived home on July 30, 2018. (Reuters/Raneen Sawafta)

The release of Ahed Tamimi on July 30, 2018, created a wave of speculation over a renewed intifada. The spokesman for the Palestinian Authority hurried to crown her as an “icon” for the Palestinians’ “popular struggle.”

But Ahed Tamimi did not actually say a word about “popular struggle.” The opposite was the case – she praised the terrorists sitting in Israeli jails – those who chose the “armed struggle” – and used the term “muqawama.”

These are not the only problems facing Ahed Tamimi in her glory days: her image is in contradiction to the image of the traditional woman that the relatively conservative society in the West Bank expects. This young woman with wild blonde hair challenges the image of the modest woman covered in a hijab. In one West Bank village, I saw this graffiti on a wall: “Your beauty is in your hijab. (Jamalek behijabek)”.  Ahed’s images painted on walls could be seen as a provocation against the traditional values that Palestinian society follows.

Tamimi’s kiss of Yasser Arafat’s tomb will also not endear her to the more traditional, Salafi Muslims who oppose “grave worshipping” and destroyed Palestinian leader Abu Jihad’s grave in the Yarmouk camp in Syria.

Tamimi kissing Arafat’s grave in Ramallah after her release.

Tamimi kissing Arafat’s grave in Ramallah after her release.

If the Fatah movement adopts the image of Tamimi as the poster girl for a campaign against Hamas in the West Bank to counter the importance of Hamas’ struggles in Gaza, – and that is what appears to be happening – Hamas will have to oppose her, if not openly, then secretly. This threat can emerge as an efficient tool for restraint.

This compares to a case in Gaza. Hamas embraced the death of the paramedic Razan a-Najjar for its propaganda needs. But its activists didn’t hesitate to go to a tent of mourners and destroy it because of Fatah’s presence there and because Razan was wearing a red hijab, which challenged the traditional hijab of the modest female role model of Hamas and belongs to various non-governmental organizations with which Hamas is in conflict.

Razan al-Najjar

(Razan al-Najjar’s Facebook page)

Furthermore, Mahmoud Abbas’s deputy and senior Fatah official, Mahmoud al-Aloul, who considers himself as the PA chairman’s successor, has already adopted Tamimi. It is not clear how the other candidates, who are no less aggressive, will accept this.

Ahed Tamimi and her mother pray at the tomb of Yasser Arafat

Ahed Tamimi and her mother pray at the tomb of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, July 29, 2018. Fatah/Palestinian Authority official, Mahmoud al-Aloul, is behind them.
(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

About Pinhas Inbari

Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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