An Israeli court Thursday convicted Israeli Arab poet Dareen Tatour, who was arrested in October 2015 over three Facebook posts, of two counts of incitement to terrorism and support for terror organizations.
The 36-year-old Tatour lived near Nazareth, and was charged by Nazareth District Court of publishing on “various publications that call for violent acts or terrorism” on social media, including Facebook and YouTube, and “for praising and identifying with acts of violence or terrorism.”
Tatour’s attorney, human rights lawyer Gaby Lasky, defended Tatour’s right to publish material critical of Israeli policies.
“The trial was designed entirely to intimidate and silence Palestinians in Israel, to make them censor themselves for fear of being put on trial and criminalization of poetry,” Lasky said, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. “When the state tries people for poetry, that derogates from the cultural richness of all society.”
One of the poems was entitled ‘Resist, My People, Resist Them,’ broadcast pictures of protesters throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, and contained the lines “Resist, my people, resist them. / Resist the settler’s robbery / And follow the caravan of martyrs.”
Two other posts from Tatour caught the attention of the authorities.
“Allah Akbar and Baruch Hashem, Islamic Jihad declared intifada throughout the whole West Bank and expansion to all Palestine. We should begin inside the Green Line,” read one post.
The second showed the wedding of a Nazareth resident named Asra’a Abed, who was shot and wounded after drawing a knife at the Afula central bus station, with text which read, “I’m the next martyr.”
During the period that these posts were published, there had been a wave of lone-wolf attacks in Israel, heightening the sensitivity of authorities towards this material.
Tatour has been under house arrest since January 2016, labeled a “threat to public safety,” first at an apartment in Tel Aviv and later in her family home in the town of Reineh, close by to Nazareth.
According to the indictment, the poem’s “content, its exposure and the circumstances of its publication created a real possibility that acts of violence or terrorism will be committed”.
Initially denying that the posts stemmed from her, Tatour has since insisted that the poem had been misinterpreted.
“They didn’t understand my poem,” Tatour told Reuters. “There is no call for violence. There is a struggle, they cast it as violent.”
“My trial ripped off the masks,” Tatour stated, according to Haaretz. “The whole world will hear my story. The whole world will hear what Israel’s democracy is. A democracy for Jews only. Only Arabs go to jail The court said I am convicted of terrorism. If that’s my terrorism, I give the world a terrorism of love.”