Arab Israeli poet given 5-month sentence for poems deemed incitement

Galilee resident Dareen Tatour, who says her ‘Resist My People, Resist’ is not a call to violence, ascribes her arrest to the fact that she is a Palestinian

Palestinian poet Tatour (Screen capture: YouTube)
Palestinian poet Tatour (Screen capture: YouTube)

An Israeli court on Thursday sentenced an Arab Israeli poet to five months in prison following her conviction for incitement to violence over poems and social media posts she wrote during a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court also gave Dareen Tatour an additional six-month suspended term. Due to to time already served, she is expected to spend two further months behind bars.

After the sentencing Tatour, 36, said she was not surprised and did not expect justice, Haaretz reported. She added that the court process was “political to begin with” and that she was being imprisoned “because I’m a Palestinian.”

A resident of the Galilee village of Reineh, near Nazareth, Tatour was arrested in October 2015 and released after three months in detention to house arrest.

She was convicted in May of this year, with the court declaring she was guilty of supporting a terror group due to her poem “Resist My People, Resist.” She has said her poem was not a call to violence.

Tatour’s case drew international attention when she was placed in extended house arrest for her online poems. More than 150 literary figures, including authors Alice Walker and Naomi Klein, called for her release, and critics said her arrest was a violation of freedom of expression.

In delivering its May verdict, the court said Tatour’s poem incited violence and said free expression had its limits.

The indictment against her cited the poem, which she posted on Facebook, and three other posts, one of which quoted an Islamic Jihad call on Palestinians to rise up to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. In another, which referred to an attempted stabbing attack in the Afula bus station, Tartour declared, “I am the next martyr.”

A video accompanying a reading of the poem “Resist My People, Resist,” uploaded to YouTube by Tatour in October 2015 at the height of a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis, shows masked Palestinians attacking Israeli soldiers with rocks and slingshots.

The poem included such lines as, “I will not succumb to the ‘peaceful solution,’ Never lower my flags, Until I evict them from my land,” and “Resist the settler’s robbery, And follow the caravan of martyrs.”

Israel says that a two-year-long outburst of attacks that began in 2015 was fueled by Palestinian incitement spread on social media.

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